Project UANAT of Utkal Alumina for sustainable farming and raising income levels at Rayagada, Odisha
Bhubaneswar: Utkal Alumina International Ltd (UAIL) an Aditya Birla Group company has enriched lives, raising income levels through zero-based budgeting in cultivable land. Project UANAT, the acronym for Utkal’s Action for Agricultural Transformation, has been implemented in Rengansahil village of Kashipur block of Rayagada. It pushes for the use of Organic Pesticide and Manure to ensure sustainable farming and stem the environmental damage caused by chemical pesticides.
Mr Mazhar Beig, the Unit Head of UAIL says, “Project UANAT is a flagship livelihood initiativeby Utkal Alumina, in collaboration with Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundations (BRLF) and Centre for Youth and Social Development (CYSD). The Project is a part of our manifold CSR initiatives. Our aim is to enrich the lives of farmers through farm-based livelihood interventions. Our goal is to double the income of 15000 small and marginal households of Thuamul Rampur block of Kalahandi and Kashipur, Odisha. Our timeline is 4 years.
Under this project, women farmers have been trained to make Natural Pesticides taking Vermicompost (Organic Manure), Jibamrut (Natural Pesticide) and Nimastra (Natural Pesticide) as their base material. Cow dung, cow urine, neem leaves, jaggery etc. which are integral to making natural crop protection agents, are available in abundance.
Till date, 185 women farmers from 5 villages have been trained and influenced to champion the usage of natural pesticides, recoursing to demonstration plots.These women farmers move their knowledge around and train other farmers.
Up until now, already 1560 Households do organic farming in about 1192.5 acres of and land spanning 73 villages in Odisha. Furthermore 282 units of Vermicompost beds have been set up. The project is soon to cover all the other villages as well.
‘For Utkal Alumina, the project is the pathway to environment conservation, better health and income levels of the farming communities’ recounts Mr Baig.
There are added advantages as the cost of cultivation is lower by 30 per cent. Alongside, the shelf life of the farm output is enhanced by a day. Consequently, the produce can be carried over, as all the farmers aver.
UANAT has also caught the attention of block level and district level officials. Applauding UAIL’s efforts,Mr Kishore Karkaria, BPM (Block Programme Managaer), OLM (Odisha Livelihood Mission), Kashipur block Rayagada, remarks, “Rural Women of Kashipur are now well organised having gained the wherewithal under the Natural Pesticide Management Practices through Project UANAT. I believe this effort of the Utkal CSR team will result in a substantive change, also in attitude towards conserving the environment. Their agenda is much aligned with Odisha Livelihood Mission”.
Mr. Biswajit Patnaik, Asst. Horticulture Officer, Kashipur, has also been a champion of Project UANAT. In his view, it lays the foundation for sustainable agriculture.
Utkal Alumina CSR engagements are conducted under the aegis of the Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development, chaired by Mrs Rajashreeji Birla. Utkal Alumina reaches out to 2,10,100populace, in 232 villages.
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