Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India) (AKRSP(I))

State - Gujarat

Districts - Dangs, Surat, Navsari, Tapi

Dang, a district in Gujarat has been declared one of the most backward regions of India. 60% of its geographical area is under forest cover and 98% of its population belong to Scheduled Tribes and PVTGs (Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups), the highest proportion of tribal population in a district in the country. The tribal communities are largely dependent on rain fed agriculture for their sustenance. Due to small landholdings (less than two acres), lack of irrigation facilities and market linkages because of the region's remoteness, food security is very low. As a result, there is a high level of seasonal migration leading to continued indebtedness, increased pressure on women, lack of education for children and no care for the elderly who are left behind.

Axis Bank Foundation and Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India) work in the region to enhance livelihood and food security of the tribal communities through conservation of natural resources and providing them with options and techniques for increased income from agriculture.

This is done through creating awareness in the communities about water and land management along with developing water and land resources, formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs), soil and water conservation and development through check dams, nala plugs etc., plantation and fodder management, creating farm ponds and using lift irrigation methods to lift water to higher grounds and using gravity to distribute to farmland. Trainings are also given on various types of farming methods like SRI (System of Root Intensification) and organic farming along with setting up vegetable and creeper gardens for landless people for domestic consumption.