Horticultural Interventions in Improving Livelihood of Tribal Farm Women in BiharAbstract views: 54 / PDF Downloads: 71
Keywords:Horticulture, livelihood, farm women, fruit, vegetables, skill development
A case study was undertaken between 2015–2017 in Tharu tribal-dominated Bakwa Chandraul and Parsauni villages in the West Champaran district of Bihar, India. After initially understanding the socio-economic status and major role of tribal farm women in the home and farm decision-making process, horticulture-based interventions were introduced in homestead gardens managed by the women. Interventions included the introduction of high-yielding hybrids and varieties of vegetables (Bottle gourd, pumpkin, okra, cowpea, cauliflower, cabbage, pea and radish) and fruit (mango, litchi, guava and lime), and training and skill development in vermicomposting, mushroom cultivation, and fruit and vegetable processing. During the study period, the farm women were not only able to produce more for their own family consumption but could also sell the produce in the local market. Horti-based interventions improved productivity and increased farm income by more than 20% among the tribal women selected in this study; thereby providing farm women greater leverage to make purchases for the family. Our study shows how existing farming systems can be refined and fine-tuned through horti-based micro-interventions to increase farm and family income among tribal women, and bring about positive changes in the socio-economic and nutritional condition of tribal farm families.