Assist India – Building Ideal Communities



Horticulture In The Tribal Forest Area Of Veldurthi

In 2021 ASSIST was entrusted with the implementation of a horticulture project in seven villages in Veldurthi Mandal (Guntur District). The 6-year ‘Maathota’ (Telugu for ‘our garden’) programme is part of the Government Programme on Tribal Development and is exclusively meant for Scheduled Tribe communities.

The main crops in Veldurthi area used to be chilies and cotton, which require a lot of water and investments, and are labour-intensive crops to cultivate. Full grown horticulture crops like mango, guava, mosambi (sweet orange) and sweet lemon on the other hand, require less water, fewer and less expensive investments, and their cultivation is much less labour-intensive.

To diversify the cropping pattern, the young fruit trees have been planted in the existing cotton and chili fields at a suitable distance apart. Because the first yield can only be expected in a few years and a full yield in some cases even in seven years, intercropping is being practiced, to provide the farmers with an income until the fruit trees are fully grown. Gradually the cultivation of cotton and chilies will be reduced once the fruit trees start yielding sufficiently to provide the farmers with a satisfactory income.

Meghavath Muni Naik, his wife Hanimibai and their son Nagu Naik are owners of a horticulture wadi. Their young mango and guava trees have been planted in between the chilies, harvested by the time the photos were taken. The guava trees have already produced small fruits, but these will be removed as they are not suitable for eating yet. No less than 99% of their trees has survived the first year. The 1% loss will be compensated by ASSIST with a new tree. Besides the horticulture wadi, the family cultivates cotton and chilies in two adjacent fields.