The landscape varies from hilly, forested tribal areas to plain, semi-arid rural areas, with villages of small farmers. Erosion is commonly seen. Due to climate change, shortage in rainfall is causing reduced ground cover vegetation, aggravating erosion. Extensive use of chemical fertilizers in agriculture is causing an adverse effect on soil life and other soil characteristics. Degradation of non-agricultural lands is essentially caused by climate factors and a lack of community ownership. 

Some public and private agencies, like GVK Society, are striving towards the rejuvenation of soils, especially in the past 10 years, by promoting natural farming, afforestation, watershed management and awareness building, with limited impact so far. 

GVK Society is engaging with small and marginal farmer families, with special focus on women and tribal people. By 2025, GVK Society aims to reach out to a minimum of 25,000 households directly in farming and job creation covering an estimated 1000,000 hectares of land, including 30,000 hectares of arable land. Regenerative agriculture, circular economy, building value chain communities, innovation for rural transformation, value addition through farmer collectives and up-marketing are part of GVK Society’s present approach. GVK Society aspires to convert all the existing and to-be-enrolled villages into 4R restoration sites. Commonland supports GVK Society in this endeavor.

Though farmers’ land rights are passed on to the next generation, proper legal requirements are not met in many cases, causing conflicts over land tenure. The land right system for tribal people is relatively well organised: the indigenous land rights are defined by law and generally acknowledged. 

Vision

GVK Society and its local partners aim to generate tangible value that extends beyond economic and social returns, benefitting the community at a profound level, by embodying the 4 Returns in their strategies and working with the communities, leading to a transformed world wherein rural communities live in harmony with each other and nature.

Challenges

  • Poor infrastructure, such as good roads, availability of electricity, proper drainage channels and safe drinking water.
  • Degraded natural resources, such as soils and forests, due to growing population and expansion of agricultural areas for commercial crops.
  • Engagement of youth to become the next generation stewards of nature and a healthy environment
  • High rate of illiteracy.

Opportunities

  • Diversification of regenerative livelihood and business opportunities.
  • Financial literacy and skill development (technical and entrepreneurial) in local communities.
  • Expansion of holistic landscape restoration in GVK Society’s entire working area of 2 districts in the Eastern Ghats with over 25,000 households of tribal and other small farmers.
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