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Livelihood status in Chittoor tank region


Chittoor is one of the most drought prone districts in Andhra Pradesh, where droughts and crop failure is a common scene almost every year due to erratic rainfall, depleted ground water and degraded water harvesting structures. Despite all these development issues the marginal and small farmers are trying to lead a descent life with their own adaptive measures like changes in cropping pattern, shifting to alternate livelihoods like dairying etc.,

The geographical area of Chittoor is 15200 Sq.km, having 66 mandals and 1425 panchayats. The population of the district is 37.45 lakhs. The average rainfall in the district is 930 mm. There are about 8520 tanks irrigating 104373 ha in the district. Major livelihoods of the people are Agriculture, dairying, wage employment and sheep rearing. The Major agriculture crops in the district are Ground Nut (240408), Paddy (43757), Sugarcane (33205 and Ragi (10647). Major horticulture crops are Vegetables and Mango. The Vayalagam Tankfed Agriculture Development Programme is working in five mandals of Chittoor district.

Tank program in Chittoor region has so far supported formation of farm ponds, dry land agriculture, promotion of farmers Micro finance groups, dairying, agricultural input procurement and marketing. Apart from this Chittoor region has supported promotion of alternate livelihoods like tamarind processing, brick making, sheep rearing, fish rearing etc.,

Reach of DHAN Foundation as on March 2012 in Chittoor

Location Year of promotion No of GPs covered No of villages covered No of vayalagams promoted No of families covered No of MFGs promoted No of families covered
Punganur 1998 22 144 100 4,406 189 1,602
Palamaner 2003 14 37 35 1,184 60 664
Gudipala 2005 28 61 36 955 63 730
R’Samudram 2010 06 23 04 92 34 450
Total 70 265 175 6,995 346 3,446

Categorization of Vayalagam Members

To know the exact living status of all Vayalagam Members categorization of members and their families were done based on extent and type of land holding, occupation, stage of the family, income level and number of income sources per family. Other parameters like caste, land owned by each community, milch animals etc. are analyzed. Before categorization was done clear understanding of the process and need was communicated to field staffs and data collection was done using specified formats. The data thus generated is extremely useful to know the status and also the impact of our programs.

Livelihood Status of Vayalagam Members in Chittoor District

When the Primary Occupational status of our 3446 vayalagam members is analyzed, 1643 members were found to have agriculture as their primary occupation, which accounts for 47 % of the total. Another 30 % were found be in wage employment. This does not mean that all are landless agricultural laborers. About 10 % of those who are in wage employment have agricultural land but they do not cultivate it for lack of water, financial resources, change in attitude etc., which defiantly is a cause of concern. 12 % of the members have dairy as their primary occupation. Other occupations in which members are engaged includes sheep rearing, masons, tailors, carpenters, electricians, petty business, drivers, factory workers, private and govt. employees Land holding among Vayalagam Members.

Location Agri Dairy Wage Others Total
Punganur 986 182 329 105 1,602
Palamaner 167 128 206 163 664
Gudipala 283 6 367 74 730
R’Samudram 207 85 85 73 450
Total 1,643 401 987 415 3,446

Land holding among Vayalagam Members

The land held by Vayalagam members in Chittoor region amounts to 7148.47 acres of which 4257.95 acres are rainfed, 1362.57 are tankfed and 1527.95 acres are groundwater fed, indicating that tankfed area is less. People in Punganur Mandal in with whom we work have 3714 acres of land of which nearly two- third is rainfed. These 3714 acres of land is owned by 2803 members and the rest 643 are landless agricultural laborers.

Irrigation source wise Landholding of members in Chittoor Region

Location Rainfed Tankfed Ground water fed Total
Punganur 2,232 645.00 837.00 3,714.00
Palamaner 580 245.00 380.00 1,205.00
Gudipala 519.95 308.57 175.95 1,004.47
R’Samudram 926 164.00 135.00 1,225.00
Total 4,257.95 1,362.57 1,527.95 7,148.47

Based on extent of land holding: if you categorize all the members as per the extent of land owned the outcome is as follows

Location BF SF MF LL Total
Punganur 228 935 225 214 1602
Palamaner 53 198 195 218 664
Gudipala 15 90 441 184 730
R’Samudram 43 196 184 27 450
Total 339 1419 1045 643 3446
  • Around 72% of members belong to small and marginal farmers category which is our focus group
  • Landless contributes around 20% (they are part of only MFGs)
  • Big farmers comprises of only 10%

Based on annual income and no of income sources: by categorizing all the members based on income and number of income sources we could able to see some interesting observations

Annual Income (in rupees)

Location < 50000 50000- 100000 100000-150000 > 150000 Total
Punganur 823 530 203 46 1602
Palamaner 238 371 43 12 664
Gudipala 244 419 57 10 730
R’Samudram 209 221 18 02 450
Total 1514 1541 321 70 3446
  • 45% of members earn about 50000-100000 per anum and only 2% members earn more 1.5 lakhs per anum
  • 57% of our members have more than one income source
  • 23.5% members have only one income source and most of them fall under S1 category
  • More focus should be given to members with only one income source

Interventions of Vayalagams Tankfed Agriculture Development Programme (VTADP) to enhance livelihoods

Poverty MFG linkage Farm Ponds Tree plantation Land devt
levels (lakhs) (nos) (ac) (ac)
S1 562.95 137 110.42 421.35
S2 421.90 241 249.30 259.87
S3 85.73 128 96.30 194.56
S4 55.58 67 195.45 121.32
Total 1126.16 573 651.47 997.10

More than 1126 lakhs credit was mobilized (87% for only S1 and S2 families) for various agriculture and livelihoods development of members. 573 farm ponds were constructed to provide supplementary irrigation for agriculture and horticulture (66% for S1 and S2 families). About 651.47 acres of dryland was brought under horticulture to enhance productivity and inturn income (55% for S1 and S2 families). Also, around 1000 acres of land was developed through various Land development activities like field bunding, tank silt application to dry lands, land leveling, laying pipe lines etc., (68% of land belongs to S1 and S2 families). To stabilize tankfed agriculture in 5750 acres 91 tanks were renovated (partly or fully). Life insurance coverage is also facilitated to 4500 members to provide social security.

According to Income level and land holding the families were divided into S1, S2, S3 and S4 category
Survival (S1):

  • Landless and unskilled labour
  • Dry land holding – less than 2 acre
  • Annual income range < 50000 per year

Subsistence (S2):

  • Land holding – more than 1 acre with irrigation source or 2.5 – 5 acre dryland
  • Land less but skilled labour
  • One or two milch animals or more than 15 sheep
  • Annual income range 50000 – 100000 per year

Self-employed (S3):

  • Land holding – more than 2.5 acre with irrigation source
  • More than two milch animals
  • Annual income range 100000 – 150000 per year

Self-entrepreneur (S4):

  • Annual income more than 150000 per year

Other interventions done

  • Exclusive projects to support Natural Resources development (UPNRM)
  • Every year through supply of agri inputs (seeds and fertilizers) around 200 farmers are getting benefited (through reduction in 15% input cost)
  • Established 2 community nurseries and supplying quality vegetable seedlings for around 200 farmers (which increase yield by 10-15%)
  • Every year around 100 farmers is getting benefited through fish rearing in ponds and getting an additional income ranges from 3000-15000
  • Every year around 500 school students receiving scholarships

Strategies Planned for advancement of Livelihoods

  1. Evolving livelihood models for agriculture, dairying and farm ponds with Dryland horticulture for further graduation
  2. Working with paddy cultivators (1000 farmers) for enhancing productivity by atleast 15% through the following interventions
    • Farm field school (soil testing, green manuring, organic farming, certified seeds etc.,)
    • Technology transfer (SRI, Drum seeder etc.,)
    • Facilitating collective input procurement and output marketing
    • Introducing seed production
    • Promotion of second crop in tank command
  3. Promotion of ‘dairying’ in large scale (to support 1500 farmers) through
    • Evolving exclusive loan products and mobilizing credit through MFGs (ex: UPNRM scheme of NABARD)
    • Through promotion of ‘mini dairy’ concept for ensuring 50-100 liters of milk production per day
    • Introducing regular veterinary care and promotion of green fodder plots
    • Collective procurement of quality livestock feed (if possible establish our own feed mixing unit)
  4. More focus on promotion of Farm Ponds and (or with) Dryland Horticulture to support around 1000 farmers
    • Planned to promote 475 farm ponds under IWMP watershed project, 100 farm ponds with NABARD support and 200 farm ponds with the support of HUL
    • Promotion of Dryland horticulture in around 3000 acres under IWMP watersheds
  5. Promotion of Fruits and Vegetables collective marketing (through Producer Company) to impact around 1000 fruits and vegetable growers
    1. Establishing LIFE centers in all locations to impart skill building trainings to members and also their children which would enhance their income (which would impact 12% of our members)
    2. More focus on ground water interventions at sub basin level – cascade development, awareness on ground water usage and regulation


For achieving livelihoods graduation or enhancement the following approaches will be adopted by location

  • Creation of baseline for all the targeted families
  • To evolve livelihoods models exclusive ‘livelihoods seminars’ will be conducted at location level
  • Intensive capacity building for field staff, best leaders and target farmers to ensure their active participation
  • Ensuring timely availability of financial resources (grants or loans)
  • Each staff member will monitor the status of livelihoods graduation in DIG village and regularly document the progress
  • Village wise best leaders will be assigned with regular monitoring of the progress and act as local resource person on livelihoods (point farmers)
  • Promotion of PPG or (and) PMGs
  • Strong MIS or software to track member development

Estimate for the project

S. No Livelihood Unit cost Total amount required(lakhs) Grant or Loan or Farmers
1 Productivity enhancement in paddy (1000 members) 2500 / acre 25 Farmers
2 Dairy development (1500 members) 40000 / animal 600 Loan
Support services Lsm 25 Loan / members
3 Farm Ponds with horticulture (1000 members) 50000 / acre 500 Grants and Loan
4 Life centers 500000 / center 20 Grants or Loan
5 Capacity building 5000 / event 04 Grants
6 Others Lsm 16 Grants
Total 1,170

Role of programme, region and location

The DHAN Vayalagam would support the regions and locations in shaping the livelihood models and also for mobilizing resources. The regions which act as microcosm of DHAN would ensure active capacity building at all levels, resource mobilization with the support of programme, ensuring committed staff at locations and regular monitoring and evaluation. The people federations and tankfed farmers associations, being the focal point of implementation would ensure timely grounding of activities, member level monitoring to observe the graduation and liasoning with region and local mainstream institution, regular updation of MIS and documentation with the support of region.

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