Permafund supports food chain demonstration for tribal communities in India

A 2017 Permafund microgrant of AU$2000 is supporting THREAD Siddharth village to establish a demonstration food chain system for the benefit of 54 tribal womens' organisations in Orisha, India.

The aim of the food chain project is to show tribal communities how to improve their food security and self-reliance. The eco food court and café run by the tribal women’s organisation, Nari Sugyani Samaj at Siddharth village has been set up as a model.

As fresh local chicken and fish are in strong demand, the demonstration involved the Installation of a poultry enclosure and tunnel system around the fishpond adjoining the café.

The project also included organising state-level tribal women’s organisations to visit the demonstration site to learn about the food chain system for replication in other communities.

Though originally designed to be a small-scale system, enthused by the idea the team assembling the cages and wire tunnels made it a large installation, which THREAD needed to support with extra funding. The construction of the poultry and fish system was completed on 12 May 2018.

Donated local chickens from Siddharth village were added to the food court’s existing chickens plus THREAD purchased an additional 300 young birds, known as King of the Jungle, from a breeder.

The poultry house, which is located at the end of the pond, has tunnels running all around the pond so the birds can rove through the system each morning. This has been an eye-catching attraction for the visitors to the food court while helping the women learn about poultry management.

The droppings of the chickens will be washed to the pond during the rainy season to provide nutrients for the fish. The fish are then added to the menu of the womens' café for the benefit of the customers. The enriched pond water is also used to fertilise the adjoining fields.

As the birds are still growing, the income this system will generate has not yet been calculated. The outcome will feature in a future report from THREAD.

Meanwhile, the THREAD team organised a workshop for state-level tribal women’s organisations to introduce the idea to them and provide information on how it can improve protein production and generate income in their communities.

A total of 45 representatives from 30 tribal women’s organisations from all over Orisha participated the workshop to learn about the food chain concept in order to implement the systems in their own district’s blocks.

THREAD has also exposed top government officials to this idea and the Women and Child Development department has shown interest to support self help groups who would like to install similar units.

The project expenditure was exceeded unexpectedly due to the increased number of chickens and cost of materials due to GST. THREAD Siddharthvillage was able to complete the project by subsidising it.

THREAD Siddharthvillage (the Team for Human Resource Education and Action for Development) now is now lobbying government to support Indian indigenous tribal regions to initiate such income generating projects through self help groups.

They extend thanks to all donors to Permafund for the initial funding to implement the project.

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