DBT-ILS is involved in societal outreach activities in the aspirational district of Nabarangapur and Koraput. The activities are supported through funding from National programs and are being carried out in close collaboration with partner institutions including CIFA, CHESS, and RMRC. Briefly, programs under the following heads are being undertaken:
Integrated farming systems
Owing to the gradual shrinking of land holdings in the districts of Nabarangapur and Koraput, ILS has initiated the integration of land-based enterprises such as fishery, poultry, duckery, apiary, and the cultivation of horticultural crops. ILS has provided training, quality fingerlings, and feed to 200 farmers in the Nabarangpur district and 50 farming families in Tigiria to start fish farming. Through regular monitoring, it is ensured that this intervention is sustained in the long run. Furthermore, several households have received support for starting poultry farming in the form of training and supply of vaccinated chicks and feed until the chickens start laying eggs. Fifty families have been given 250 goats and training for establishing goataries.
Cultivation of aromatic plants and production of essential oils
DBT-ILS through this initiative has supported the cultivation of low water-requiring medicinal and aromatic plants in Tigria, Cuttack by providing farmers adequate exposure and training, as well as by supplying them with planting material for lemongrass, palmarosa, and mentha. A village level training centre has been established at Tigiria, where an essential oil extraction distillery has also been installed for ensuring local level processing of the produces. This has resulted in income generation via the production of essential oils.
Health and nutrition literacy
One of the easiest ways of ensuring access to a healthy diet that contains adequate macro- and micronutrients is to produce different kinds of food in the home garden. In rural areas where people have limited income-earning opportunities and poor access to markets ensuring access to a healthy diet is crucial. DBT- ILS has partnered with ICMR-RMRC to develop a health and nutrition communication strategy in Odia, to establish nutrition gardens at homes and residential schools, and survey the health and nutrition status of children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers. Till date 500 families and 48 residential schools in establishing nutrition gardens.
Skill empowerment activities
DBT-ILS has been focusing on empowering the members of women’s self-help groups (WSHG) with income-generation skills. Several training programs have been conducted and raw materials distributed to 65 WSHG members for starting mushroom cultivation. Fifty WSHG members are engaged in leaf plate making using sewing machines and plate pressing machines.