Utkal Alumina International Ltd, a subsidiary of Aditya Birla-owned Hindalco Industries, has undertaken a series of initiatives to promote agriculture in Kashipur block of Rayagada district.
Following the rapid growth of non-farm sectors, profitability has suffered a major setback in agriculture, prompting Utkal Alumina to form 15 farmers’ clubs as per guidelines of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in the block.
“Utkal Alumina is focusing on agriculture development in Kashipur block of Rayagada. It has promoted 15 clubs under ’Nabard’s Farmers Club’ programme and has been taking initiatives on vegetable farming and hybrid maize promotion through them,” AGM, Nabard of Rayagada District, Dawood Khan said.
Though most people in this tribal-dominated block depend on agriculture, non-availability of timely input, poor irrigation, storage, processing and marketing facilities pose serious problems to small and marginal farmers, a UAIL press release said.
The 15 clubs involved 315 members from 15 peripheral villages. These groups have certain advantages over others in procurement of inputs, thus helping to realise better margins. They enable collective marketing, provide for facilities and services under different government schemes, and enrich knowledge through exchange of ideas and information.
Vijay Sapra, President and Unit Head of Utkal Alumina said, “We are training farmers on how to yield more, educating them about crop protection. We are also providing necessary support to make them self-sufficient. We give opportunities to market their crops by organising vegetable fairs.”