Sundargarh : The ‘Mission Jeevika’ programme is presently underway in Sundargarh district with the objective of creating substantial livelihood opportunities for the tribal population and ensuring their surplus family income.
Under the programme of the ‘ST & SC Development, Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare Department’ of the Govt of Odisha, tribal families are specially benefitted by cultivating groundnut and other cash crops.
During FY 2022-23, groundnut is being cultivated across 13 villages under Rajgangpur and Kutra blocks of Sundargarh district. A total of 852 farmers belonging to various tribal communities are growing the cash crop on over 600 acres of farmland. The Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), Sundargarh is providing all necessary assistance to the beneficiaries.
“Thirteen different crops, including groundnut and a variety of vegetables are being cultivated under the ‘Mission Jeevika’ programme of ITDA, Sundargarh. Farmers are provided with various input assistance for the purpose. It is helping them get additional profit by growing groundnut. This, in turn, is resulting in the economic empowerment of the tribal families,” said PA ITDA, Sundargarh Shri Ramkrushna Gond.
The ITDA is providing seed, organic fertilizers and pesticides to the farmers free of cost. Moreover, teams of experts from the agency are conducting field inspection to review the status of the standing crop. They are offering the necessary counseling to the farmers on pest and disease management.
While farmers are getting good returns by selling their produce in nearby markets following harvest, the ITDA has also made provisions to buy groundnut from farmers through Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO).
“I have been growing groundnut since the last three years. This year too, I grew the crop on one and half acres. The harvest is good. Due to good farm returns, my house is better taken care of now,” said Johani Mahanand, a woman farmer from Dhauraadha village under Kukuda GP of Rajgangpur block.
Earlier, farmers in Rajgangpur and Kutra blocks were cultivating traditional crops like paddy or sesame. However, following the assistance extended by the ITDA, farmers in the region have shifted to groundnut cultivation since the last three years. The crop which requires less water gives good yield and returns too.
“Earlier, we used to grow paddy. The profits were less. Since last one year, we are cultivating groundnut, for which ITDA Sundargarh is providing all sorts of assistance, from seeds to fertilizers. We are getting better returns. We are able to save some money in the bank after taking care of household expenses and our children’s education,” said Arabinda Minz, a young farmer from Dhauraadha village under Kukuda GP in Rajgangpur block of Sundargarh district