Keonjhar: In its enduring initiative to foster sustainable livelihoods and preserve biodiversity, Tata Steel Foundation (TSF) is actively promoting Tasar-based livelihoods in the Bamnipal region. The objective of this initiative is to establish self-sustaining, biodiversity-rich ecosystems by creating Tasar cultivation zones, thus providing invaluable livelihood opportunities.
Since its initiation in the fiscal year 2015, this initiative has made significant strides, positively impacting approximately 1000 farmers across 5 Gram Panchayats in Harichandanpur and 7 Gram Panchayats in Danagadi and Sukinda. The program has offered alternative income sources, significantly enhancing the overall quality of life for the participating farmers. The primary goal of the initiative is to establish Tasar cultivation zones from Harichandanpur to Mangalpur, fortifying the entire value chain and creating a self-sustaining, biodiverse ecosystem.
Gurucharan Birua, a resident of Jhumkapatia village in Rasol Panchyat, Harichandanpur Block, attests, “Understanding the right cultivation process is crucial. I lacked formal training before, and the traditional methods passed down from our forefathers were inadequate, leading to insufficient income. However, after receiving proper training from the Tata Steel Foundation, I adopted scientific rearing methods, ultimately boosting my income.”
Previously, farmers earned around 15,000-20,000 per season. Thanks to the support from Tata Steel Foundation, the average income for a farmer has now doubled, ranging from 35,000-40,000 per season.
TSF, driven by a strong commitment to community development, has played a pivotal role in the initiative’s success. The Foundation actively supports farmers through training and capacity building, host plant patch maintenance, seed multiplication techniques, Tasar silk yarn extraction, farm input assistance, institution building, and essential infrastructure development.
Gobardhan Pradhan, Secretary of Tasar Rearer’s Cooperative Society, Sukinda, emphasized, “In strategic collaboration with the Sericulture Department and district administration, Tata Steel Foundation is fostering the revival of the Tasar Sericulture sector in Jajpur. Through the cultivation of new host plants, implementation of scientific rearing practices, and empowerment of farmers, this alliance promises not just silk but also a tapestry of prosperity for the communities in Jajpur.”
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To ensure the seamless implementation of this transformative project, a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been officially signed. This MoU brings together the Handloom, Textile & Handcraft Department of Odisha, the District Administration of Jajpur, and Tata Steel Foundation, united in their efforts towards sustainable development.