25 DECEMBER 1990





A Word of Introduction by SIDA & CENDERET

Foreword by Shri PK Mohanty, !AS, Secretary, Forestry, Animal Husbandry & Fisheries, Government of Orissa

Chapter One:

Report of the Workshop held on 15-16 October 1990

1. The Prelude

2. The Workshop

3. The Aftermath

Chapter Two:

Documents Emerging from the Workshop

1. Inaugural Speech by Shri PK Mohanty, IAS

2. Main Findings of the CENDERET Report & Working Paper

3. A Note on Micro-level Planning & Watershed Management by Shri Ashoka Dalavai

4, Reports of the Four Groups Group No. 1 Group No. 2 Group No. 3 Group No. 4

5. Conclusions & Resolutions of the Workshop Annexure : List of Participants at the Workshop Appendices 1. Official Documents

1. National Forest Policy, 1988

2. D.O. from the Secretary, Environment & Forests, Government of India, No : 6-21/89-FP dated 1st June 1990

3. Extracts from the Approach to the Eight Five Year Plan 1990-95

4. Govt. of Orissa, Forest, Fisheries & A.H. Dept. Resolutions of 1-8-88 & 11-12-90


16 22 25 27

29 37

il. *“‘How to do it’’ Documents

5. Drought Proofing through Chakriya Vikas Pranali


Sloping Agricultural Land Technology, SALT 1, 2, 3


If. HRD for Aiternatives to Shifting Cultivation, Extracts from the Working Paper



Keeping People at the Centre of the Stage, Panchashila of People’s Development Coordination between Agencies,

Possible Pattern

Action Programme During the First Year of Operation.


The present document is the outcome of a process of research and dialogue. It started with a field study by CENDERET amongst a sample of 400 forest dwellers of Orissa, who today survive by engaging in shifting cultivation. The findings were discussed with NGOs and officials, who are concerned with-this problem and intensive interaction took place between the two, at a workshop organised at Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar, on 15-16th October, 1990.

It is not areport of the usual type, but rather a set of notes and guidelines, emerging from this interaction. They are meant for officials and non-officials, when they interface with each other, or together they interact with the forest dwellers. The latter are increasingly becoming aware of the unviability of shifting cultivation and are willing to adopt alternatives, provided there is somebody to hold their hand during the transition.

Shifting Cultivation, or Podu as itis locally called, isan ancient problem, and efforts to contain It date from even before Independence. Success obtained by the Forest Department, the Soil Conservation Depart- ment, the Tribal Welfare Department, the Integral Tribal Development Agencies, and anthropologists associated with these agencies has been uneven. Till now a formula, fully acceptable to the people, has not yet been found. The search continues.

On the other hand, the need to assist the forest dwellers, is immense. Only a small percentage of them are at present covered by official programmes to find alternatives.

Official agencies, amongst which the Forest Department occupies pride of place, therefore, increasingly welcome the cooperation of the NGOs, and feel that the latter can especially help in HRD, the Human Resources Development face of the problem.

Official agencies and NGOs can henceforth look as partners, to a common challenge they are called upon to solve with the shifting cultiva- tors. The two can work together, but this needs on both sides, a readiness to adjust, patience and keenness to help the other party succeed in its task, This process of learning will require some time, as the organisational cultures of the partners differ from each other considerably.

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After a short report on what transpired at the Workshop held on 15-16th October, the volume lists the documents and conclusions and resolutions that emerged from the interaction. It also contains an agenda for a follow-up programme, A number of documents have been reproduced in appendix, which may help both the partners, as_ reference documents.

What about the third partner, the tribal people of Orissa, who engage in shifting cultivation ? They were not represented as a group in the work- shop, but spoke indirectly through the research findings which had taken account of their views. A handful of representatives of the tribal communities, however, active in some NGOs in the State, were present and did speak up.

The matter contained in these guidelines has the approval of the highest officials of the Forest Department. The document, therefore, expresses an understanding that has been arrived at between official and non-official agencies.

The guidelines will prove their effectiveness to the extent they facilitate effective action, at the field level. [tis the ardent. hope of the sponsors that this will take place, and that we will learn more, as we move along with growing understanding.

Anders Nystrom M.V.d. Bogaert, sj Project Coordinator S. P. Das SIDA supported social forestry project Latha Ravindran Orissa, Bhubaneswar Paul Fernandes, sj

CENDERET, Bhubaneswar 25 December 1990


Shifting cultivation is an age-old practice and is a way of life of the tribals, But, of late, this has become more pronounced as the cycle gets shorter and shorter and its economics more negative due to biotic pressure. Attempts in the past to wean away the shifting cultivators from the practice have not been totally successful. Obviously, alternate strategies are in order.

The shifting cultivators should be brought to the centre of the stage in the matter of planning and implementation of schemes for their rehabilitation. In this gigantic task the NGOs can play an effective role as an interface bétween the Government and the tribals.

The workshop has thrown some new light on the problems and the possible solutions. They need be followed up by respective quarters. | hope this will be a precursor to further research and thinking in this sphere and will serve as a guide for future and not an end in itself.

sd/- (P.K. Mohanty)

15.12.1990 Commissioner-cum-Secretary to Govt. Forests, Fisheries &

Animal Husbandry Department Bhubaneswar

* This foreword is not to be taken as an official endorsement of the recommendations of the workshop.

Chapter 1




On ist September 1988, the SIDA (Swedish International Develop- ment Agency), Coordinator, Bhubaneswar asked CENDERET to. study whether there was any viable future for shifting cultivation in Orissa. On 15st November 1988, the Director, Social Forestry Project, Orissa, gave the green signal to go ahead with the field study.

A team of researchers were fielded and interviewed a sample of 400 households who engage in Podu Chasa, in ten different locations in Orissa, covering Ganjam (2 cases), Kalahandi (2 cases), Keonjhar, Koraput (2 cases), Phulbani (2 cases) and Sundergarh districts. .

On 10th December 1989 a provisional report was submitted to SIDA. The gist of the findings was that podu is less and less viable and that the future for the shifting. cultivators looks grim.

SIDA, being interested in pragmatic action, then asked CENDERET to concentrate on what could be done, what viable alternatives seemed to be available, to replace shifting cultivation. It agreed to an extension of the research period, so that the researchers could come up with answers to this question. |

On ist April, 1990, CENDERET submitted its final report to SIDA. The research findings were shared with the Forest Department at Bhubaneswar and in New Delhi. In order to share the findings more widely, SIDA requested that a summary be prepared for circulation amongst officials and NGOs in Orissa. CENDERET completed the assignment in the form of a working paper, which was ready by 31st August. It evoked a good deal of interest, and had to be re-printed.

Dates, 15-16 October, were fixed for the Workshop, for officials connected with podu, especially the Forest Department, the Tribal Welfare Department, the Tribal and Harijan- Research cum: Training Institute, Anthropologists, who have studied the problem, and NGOs. The response

was keen. The organisers had planned for 40 participants, but more than 70 turned up. Their names are found in this document. The Workshop was held at Xavier Institute of Management.


After a word of welcome by representatives of the two sponsoring agencies, Fr R D‘Souza sj, Director of Xavier Institute of Management, and Mr Anders Nystrom, the then Coordinator of SIDA, the workshop was inaugurated by Shri P.K. Mohanty, IAS, Secretary, Forestry, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Government of Orissa. A summary of the points made by him are found in Chapter Two. The Secretary was looking forward to new and fresh suggestions on how to tackle the problem of Podu Chasa and welcomed the cooperation of the NGOs. At present only 3% of podu cultivators are covered by official programmes. The field is therefore wide open for other agencies.

Session One was devoted to a presentation of the findings of the CENDERET report and the recommendations of the Working Paper. This was done by Fr Paul Fernandes sj, Dr Latha Ravindran, Prof SP Das and Dr MVd Bogaert sj of CENDERET.

When measured against the concern for people and concern for environment axes, Podu Chasa yields poor economic returns to people, and it contributes to the degradation of the environment. The cycle of recurring cultivation has become so short (3 to 5 years at best), as not to permit any respite to the bio-system to restore itself. The income that forest dwellers derive from minor forest produce does not make up for the deterioration in returns from Podu.

Sessions Two and Three were devoted to group discussions on objectives and modalities of NGOs as catalytic agents towards alternatives, The participants were divided into four groups. Reports were presented at Session Four, next morning.

Session Five and Six dealt with the problem of how to proceed in implementing alternatives. Session Five was presided over by Shri G. S. Padhy, Conservator of Forests. Experiences of the forest depart- ment and the NGOs showed that where people are left out from the

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designing and decision making process of a particular intervention, the project, however well conceived, almost always fails. People must be at the centre of the stage and make the decisions.

Appropriate interventions to restore the environment to sustainability do require on the other hand technical knowledge about forests, trees, soil, water, contouring, which are usually not available with NGOs, except the better established ones. This information has to be obtained from official or technical agencies, or perhaps a special agency may have to be created to function as a resource centre for those taking up alternatives to shifting cultivation.

A disturbing finding is that extraneous factors, usually traders, induce the tribals to continue with shifting cultivation, because the former draw profit from the podu crops produced by the tribals, which they sell at a _ tidy profit. It has also been found again and again that where shifting cultivators have been given Jevel land with land pattas at the foot of the hills as part of earlier efforts to rehabilitate them, this land has passed into the hands of trader-moneylenders to whom the tribals are indebted to the point of bondage.

In Session Six, Shri Ashoka Dalavai, Project Administrator, ITDA, Rayagada, explained how the concepts of mini-project planning and water shed management are suited to develop a system to contain shifting cultivation. The integral approach adopted in watershed management takes care of four systems at the same time: (i) the natural resource system, (ii) commercial development and interaction with the market, (iii) the physical system, consisting of roads and other infrastructures, and the (iv) Human Resources Development of the Shifting Cultivators. NGOs are suited to play a prominent role in the latter function, HRD. A more detailed note is found in Chapter Two.

The Seventh and concluding Session elaborated a blueprint for follow-up action. Various desiderata were mentioned by both official representatives and NGO members. It was left to the organisers of the workshop to draft the conclusions and resolutions in a coherent manner, and see that they get the concurrence of the official agencies, as soon as possible.

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The high attendance of NGOs and officials, till the end of the work- Shop, inspite of the fact that the Assembly was in session, showed the keenness with which the members saw their task. This was a first encounter of officials and non-officials within an academic setting. It is to be followed up by building up working relationships in the field. The ball has been set rolling.


1. It remains for the official agencies and the NGOs to decide what concretely each is going to do, as an expression of the commitment which emerged at the workshop to work together. This can eventually be expressed in a written document, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the podu cultivators as suggested by the Secretary, Environment and

Forests, Government of India (D.O. No. 6-21/89 F.P. dated 1 June 1990— See appendix 2).

2. The report of the workshop, drawn up by the sponsoring agencies, and approved by the official agencies, should be in the hands of the participants as soon as possible,

3. To facilitate work at field level, a Shifting Cultivation Manage-

ment Cell, in short a Podu Cell, should become functional at State level as soon as possible.

This body of persons, informal in nature, would consist of representa- tives of the Forest, Tribal Welfare and Revenue Departments, some NGOs, an anthropologist, members of CENDERET, of the OUAT and of a donor agency.

4. The hope was expressed that when issuing further official notifications about social forestry, and measures to contain shifting cultivation, the Government of Orissa would keep an account of the views and needs expressed in this report.

The’ text of the conclusions and resolutions of the workshop are found in Chapter Two.


In the present chapter, matters discussed during the workshop are given, but they have been summarised in the form of short notes. The chapter ends with the conclusions and resolutions of the workshop.

1. Inaugural Speech by Shri PK Mohanty, IAS, Secretary, Forests, Animal Husbandry and_ Fisheries Departments, Government of Orissa.

»« Podu Chasa has become a ‘burning’ issue for Orissa, literally and figuratively speaking. It is an old practice, and efforts to contain it, date back from practically since Independence.

« The State has a recorded surface of 57,000 sq kms of forests, though in the field this is much less, This is the third largest cover in the country, and accounts for 9% of the total forested area of India.

» According to satelite information, this area has depleted very rapidly. Between 1983 and 1987 alone nearly 6,000 sq kms, more than 10% of the forest cover, has been lost. With a rate of 50,000 ha of replantation each year only, we do not match this deterioration. The survival rate of these plantations varies greatly. (In Keonjhar it reaches only 50%).

« The scheduled tribes practising Podu are not really responsible for this destruction of forests, but they are made the scape goats. It is the greed of the urban dwellers, which impels the contractors to engage in illegal felling. The growing population also creates high biotic pressure.

* The-Forest Policy of 1988 and other documents emerging from the Government in the recent past, show an altered approach, the revenue approach has been replaced by a concern for human resources development of the forest dwellers, The 1988 Policy explicitly mentions the shifting cultivators in section 4.7 and does so in an understanding manner.

* Podu is a way of life for forest dwellers, a-method of combining agriculture with forestry, developed over the centuries. It was viable then, it no longer is today. A rough estimate States that 50% of forest cover in Orissa is subjected to shifting cultivation. Figures produced by the


Agricultural Department speak of about 1.85 lakh hectares, cultivated by 1.41 lakh podu families. The !TDA and ten Micro-projects, which attempt an integral approach to rehabilitation, have met with limited success. They

cover only 5% of podu cultivators. So, we need assistance of other agencies.

« The Forest Department has come up with two models for rehabilitation based on certain assumptions.

Model I

Itassumes that the podu cultivators can be weaned away from shifting cultivation immediately if given viable alternatives, in the form of Intensive plantation in their own habitat. Five hectares would be allotted per family, for rotation of energy crops and fast growing species on a seven year basis. Sisal would also be planted which provides a considerable amount of employment. Contour terracing would be done. This would provide 300 mandays per family per year, enough for not having to depend on podu. Food would be provided from the World Food Programme. The usufruct or products grown on the land would be with the podu family.

Model Il

Assumes that shifting cultivators cannot immediately give up their podu, and may be permitted to carry on with it in a limited manner for a period of another four years. Jn this case they are weaned away gradually. They would be provided with seven plots of land (of 1 ha each plot) for plantation of pollardable and quick growing species they could use for slash and burn. This would provide 300 mandays of work per year. The question is whether enough degraded forest land would be available to take care of 2 lakhs of families. In this case also, there would be no difficulty in assuring the usufructory rights to the shifting cultivators.

* The podu cultivators should be consulted very soon, because micro plans are proposed to be implemented within the next two to three months.

« Shri Mohanty was in favour of trying out these models, or other ones in two or three districts, with the help of NGOs, who can deliver the goods. If the experiment proves successful, the effort can be replicated in other districts.

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« Regarding Forest Committees, he remarked that six thousand village committees had been set up to protect the Reserved Forests in the State. The principle is being extended to the protected forests also. Some committees exist on paper while some are active. The committees have the duty to protect forest and the right to usufruct of firewood and small timber for genuine .domestic needs. If NGOs can help in activising all these forest committees, they would render a signal service. If found helpful, modifica- tions can be introduced in the manner in which they are constituted. An incentive scheme for Gram Panchayats for protection of forests is on the anvil.

* Fresh suggestions and cooperation of the NGOs are welcome by the State Government.

2. Main Findings of the CENDERET Report and Suggestions of the Working Paper by Paul Fernandes, Latha Ravindran, S P Das and MVd Bogaert.

If we use aquadrant approach to situating problems of the shifting cultivators, by using concern for environment as the X axis and concern for people as the Y axis, we can only aim at placing a suitable development in the upper right hand quadrant: high concern for environ- ment and high concern for people.


“y desirable situation

concern for environment D

present Situation.

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Unfortunately, the field study of 400 families of shifting cultivators suggests that these forest dwellers have been reduced to the —— quadrant : low concern for environment, which they are destroying and low concern for people as well. All of them except a handful of families, are clearly below the poverty line, and they suffer from a guilt feeling, imposed on them from outside and interiorised, as if they are the destroyers of the forests.

Any meaningful programme has to lift them out from this —— situation to a + + situation.

The first and foremost difficulty in podu containment, is that it very difficult, tf not impossible to find out how much area exactly is under podu in terms of acres or local measurements.

« To compute the inputs and outputs from shifting cultivation has caused headaches to field researchers ever since the problem has been studied. CENDERET has adopted the method, scientifically justified and endorsed. by other scholars, of computing the two main ingredients, seed and labour, into monetary values by taking into account market prices of seeds and value of labour at prevailing market wage rates. Since mixed cropping is practised on routine basis, the labour input common to all crops was apportioned between crops considering the ratio of the value of specific crop to the total value of all crops put together. The total return from each crop, even though they may be retained for self-consumption is valued at the prevailing market price to estimate total monétary returns.

When this method is applied, it is found that hardly 15% of all crops grown yield any positive returns to the shifting cultivators.

In many cases it is observed that the worth of crop yield is less than one fourth of the worth of labour and effort tnvolved in producing it.

Shifting. cultivators would earn more if they had been able to find daily labour. Yet they continue with shifting cultivation, because for them it is a question of subsistence and they see no other solution, they are cornered. Other benefits do accrue to the shifting cultivators, such as minor forest produce, collection of fuel from crop residue, etc. Even if this is taken into account, their situation is desperate. They are aware of it, and

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are willing to adopt alternatives, provided there is somebody, to show how, and to hold their hand.

« How several voluntary organisations in the podu chasa region, are helping the shifting cultivators in their human resources development, and empowerment has been described in the panchashila of people’s develop- ment, mentioned in the working paper. (It is found in the appendix). It must not be forgotten that while on the one hand, the shifting cultivators are still said to destroy the forests, several groups have limited or stopped the practice altogether. A sign of hope in the forest situation, within the districts known for podu chasa, is that the forest protection movement -has been growing into a popular movement. Unfortunately it has not been properly documented till now, and therefore is not known within the State or in other parts of India, while the West Bengal and Gujarat cases are known all over the country. Whom to blame, except ourselves ?

We can learn much from the pioneering experiences of the NGOs in Orissa, who have gone ahead in this direction, and some of which were represented at the workshop.

* As regards patterns of intervention available to NGOs, they consist of two possible approaches: (they are not to be confused with the two models, developed by the Forest Department, mentioned earlier).

Pattern |: NGOs as Interface

As mentioned in D.O. letter no :6-21/89-F.P. of 1st June 1990, of the Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, Section 3, voluntary agencies are associated at the interface between State Forest Departments, and possible other Departments, and the local village communities for revival, restoration and development of degraded forests.

Under this arrangement, and in full understanding with the Forest Department or any other official agency, which functions as Lead Agency, the NGOs only look after the Human Resources Development aspects of the programme. This means taking the people through the panchashila of people’s. development, looking also after the monitoring of how people react to the inputs of the lead agency, and functioning as trainer agency, for

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whatever inputs the shifting cultivators need to adopt viable alternatives. What is meant by the panchashila is explained in Appendix No 7.

Pattern {1 : The NGO as Lead Agency taking care of all aspects of rehabilitation of shifting cultivators

This approach can be adopted by larger and better established NGOs, which besides the HRD aspects of Model I, take care of all economic, legal, technological aspects of rehabilitation as well, and function therefore as fullfledged Lead Agencies.

It is desirable that some NGOs assume this role on a pilot basis. It would permit them to adopt and experiment with methods, that are alternatives to the methods adopted by the official agencies.

The preferred approach would be the Watershed Management system. The NGOs could also experiment with such methods as the one developed by the Chakriya Vikas Pranali, in Palamau district of Bihar (see appendix 4), or SALT, as developed in the Philippines (see appendix 5) and also spread the participatory action research and development (PARD) method of involving the shifting cultivators deeply into the planning of alternatives.

3. A Note of Micro Level Planning .& Watershed. Management, as explained by Shri Ashoka Dalavai.

Speaking on the basis of effective cooperation between the ITDA, Rayagada and Agragamee, at Kashipur in Koraput district, he explained micro-level planning as follows :

It aims at the integrated development of both people and area, by restoring deteriorated environment to sustainability. It covers four aspects : Natural Resource Development, Commercial Development, Physical Development and Human Resources Development.

i. Naturajl Resources Development.

It aims at the development of podu land into agricultural land, by checking run off of water, soil erosion, and restoring biomass cover. This is done by watershed management, which looks at land management and

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water management, in an integrated manner, and also the introduction of agro-forestry, adopted to a particular watershed, taken as a unit.

Contour bunding assumes an important role in this approach, bunds follow the contours and are adapted to the type of soil and slope of the land. The contour bunds are made of rocks, or are planted with soil fixing grasses, such as Sabai grass, or bushes and also subabul. Depending on the slope, each contour strip, bordered by a contour bund is planted with a mixture of forest crops, followed by horticulture, annua! crops, as one comes down the slope. Mixed cropping is adopted, and crops are rotated from contour to contour, year after year. In the lower slopes, fishery in paddy fields, sericulture, and animal husbandry are combined with fodder crop plantations. The speed of run off of water is controlled. The biomass on degraded hill slopes is restored, with the result that fields at the foot of the hills, also can again produce once more. To take care of excess run off, diversion drains are laid out, to collect rain water in ponds lower down the

slopes. iii Commercial Development

Care is taken that the farmers obtain a good price for their products in the market, and are not exploited by traders and middlemen. Group entrepreneurship plays a vital role here. Where possible, processing units are installed, for instance, to can fruit, so as to add value, and avoid flooding the market with excess products causing a crash in prices. The commercial development is specially adopted for the crops grown ina particular area.

iii. Physical Development

By this is meant the development of infrastructures, such as roads, drinking water, schools, dispensaries, banks, cooperatives, also proper legal tenure arrangements of land.

iv. Human Resources Development

It covers awareness promotion, education, training, instilling confidence, faith and organisational development amongst the people inhabiting the micro-plan area.

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It is particularly in this last area, that NGOs have an important role to play. HRD at grassroots level is carried out by village animators, under the supervision of an escorting NGO. They run night schools, and see that the village committees are active.

One form of micro-level planning, and watershed management, as developed in the Philippines is called SALT, Sloping Agricultural Land Technology. Details about SALT are found in appendix 6.

The Chakriya Vikas Pranali, is a simplified Indian variant, developed in the drought prone areas of Palamau district in Bihar. It can be adapted to the wetter hill areas of Orissa as well. Details are found in appendix 5.

PARD, or Participatory Appraisal for Rural Development is a method to involve the shifting cultivators into the planning of alternatives and tapping the knowledge they have of their environment.

4. Reports of the Four Work Groups

Four issues were presented for discussion, one for each group :


Issue for Discussion

If you are willing to take up any measure to contain podu, have you ever tried to find out from the podu cultivators about their readiness to do away with ‘podu chasa’ ? Do you think they would readily give up such an age old tradition which is part and parcel of their culture ?

Participants CHAIRMAN : Mr Nityananda Patnaik

Bonani Samall, Xavier Institute of Management (XIM), Bhubaneswar. Rajesh Mishra, XIM, Bhubaneswar.

A Jagadananda Sahu, KMDS, Parlakhamundi, Ganjam.

Ajit Bhartwar, Dy Director (M&E), Social Forestry Project, Orissa.

Choudhury G Mishra, Conservator of Forests, Working Plan Circle, Cuttack.

Santosh K Panda, Lokshakti, Balasore.

Dilip Ch Samantaray, OSS!, Baramba, Cuttack. Chabila K Naik, TRUP, G Udaygiri, Phulbani. Parasbhai, PRDATA, G Udaygirl, Phulbani.

O. Kundan Kumar, Rapporteur, SIDA, Bhubaneswar.

Se aie ae ieee

So eto

Report of the Group

The group feels that shifting cultivation is by no means inevitable. it could be stopped over the greatest part of those areas where it exists today, provided the current alternatives and approaches, and above all a strong will power and determination are adopted to bring this about. In fact in almost all regions where shifting cultivation is in vogue, a few of the more intelligent and industrious among the tribal people do cultivate a few plots of land in valley bottoms under irrigated conditions and permanent crop regime. The problem, therefore, now in many places like Bonai, Bamra and Pallahara and some areas in Phulbani, Gunpur and Parlakhamundi is not

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to persuade the tribals to give up shifting cultivation and take up settled agriculture, or any other income generating means of livelihood, but to cope with the rising expectations and achievement motivation for a _ better Standard of living. If this desire is not readily fulfilled, antagonism and frustration are inevitable.

In many areas, particularly the tribal areas in Southern Orissa, there is a considerable cattle population. Large number of famished animals swarming over the lower slopes which have grazed them bare. Both cattle and buffaloes graze at higher altitudes also and even on hill tops. In this case stopping of shifting cultivation does not solve the problem. Unless grazing on hill slopes is restricted, the hill slopes would continue to be degraded by the continuous onslaught of cattle.

For many tribal communities, like the Gonds and the Bhuyans, the axe-cultivation has become nothing more than a habit. It has no root in their legend and mythology. Its customs are no longer clear and mandatory. For example, the straw rolled lighted torch or fire from their dwelling house is used to light their podu clearings, instead of the sacred fire from the Mandaghar as is in the case of the Juang neighbours. The use of plough is not a taboo among them as is true in the case of Juangs and the Baigas. They are aware of the fact that shifting cultivation means poor living and that they would get nothing but advantage by abandoning it.

Older people resist change and most doggedly stick to pre-agricul- tural level of technology. Therefore, the younger age groups who are generally more amenable to new ideas and changes should be tapped for transfer of technology and introduction of innovations in methods of production.

A noticeable feature of the hill tracts, both in North and South Orissa, is the fine groves of Jackfruit and mango trees, and orchards of banana, pineapple and citrus plants, These plantations provide the tribals with a valuable cash crop as well as with a nourishing food. Introduction of improved practice in horticulture is one major way in which the economic condition of the people can improve.

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Another noticeable feature of certain tribal areas, particularly Ganjam Agency is terraced rice fields. The Saoras show great ingenuity, in contour bunding, water management and terracing. Paddy plants are transplanted in terraced fields under irrigated conditions with application of cowdung manure, and recently introduced fertiliser and pesticides. The Saoras should be provided with improved agricultural inputs and kept busy full time so that attention is slowly diverted from Bagada Chasa to wet cultivation.

In areas like Keonjhar, Bonai, Bamra and Pallahara where the tribal people see material advantage of settled cultivation and diminished crop yield from the swiddens there has been a spectacular change in their outlook and a desire for settled cultivation has been created. In fact, the Juangs of Keonjhar in many villages have given up second year toila cultivation and have taken to paddy and wheat cultivation in valleys under irrigated conditions. It is a fact that in many areas, the non-tribal traders instigate the tribals to take up cultivation of turmeric and ginger in swiddens for the benefit of the traders themselves, and not of the growers.

The problem in these areas is not so much of shifting cultivation as that of exploitation by local traders and money lenders. What is required for the economic development of the people is to bring about awareness among them about constitutional safeguards and protective legislation and strict enforcement of anti-exploitative measures.

The problem of shifting cultivation is a matter of change in attitude. The tribal people in general have low need levels. So long as they have sufficient food for the day, they care little for tomorrow and they appear to lack the desire of self-improvement. This attitude should be changed if their economic condition is to be improved in the process of weaning them away from shifting cultivation.

The tribal areas, particularly those located in hilltracts are most underdeveloped because of fack of infrastructural facilities. The middlemen and merchants take advantege of this situation and exploit the tribals by various: ways. It is necessary to develop roads in these areas and provide fair price shops wherever they are not available and rejuvenate the LAMPS wherever they are not functioning properly and have become defunct.

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Without educational improvement, no other improvement is possible. Schools should be established in villages where they are lacking, and made functional by meeting the deficiencies in teaching staff, in building and boarding facilities, Adult education programme and functional literacy is equally and in many respects more important than normal schooling and in

this context educational component should form an integral part of all types of developmental programmes.

Different tribal communities present different life styles due to difference in their social systems and cultural patterns, in their ecological setting and means of livelihood, degree of cultural contact and achievement motivation. Although area development approach is commendable, it should be followed with emphasis on the specific tribal community inhabiting the area, It means that based on the life style of the tribal groups, programmes of development should separately be planned for each ethnic group.

The Area Development Approach with emphasis on Tribal Develop- ment will have the following components :

1. Human Resource Development : Individual/family oriented benefit schemes, such as awareness building, educational improvement,

development of skill for need based occupations and vocations, achieve- ment motivation, and development of material assets.

2. Development of the area and _ inhabitants: Development of infrastructures (roads, schools, health centres, LAMPS, Banking system, markets, VLW/VAW headquarters, agricultural depots, progeny orchards, electricity, water supply, irrigation facilities, etc.).

The shifting cultivators depend heavily on forests not only for land for cultivation, but also for earning subsidiary income through collection of minor forest produce or as wage earners in forestry activities. It is essential that their bias towards forestry and forest activities should be allowed to continue so that these resources could be conserved for mutual benefit.

It is incumbent that the public distribution system, including LAMPS and marketing network should be streamlined so that the tribals get their daily necessities at a reasonable price and a fair price for their forest produce,

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As the situation stands today, it is possible to do away with shifting cultivation. But the prosperity and happiness of the shifting cultivators that is envisaged to come about cannot be achieved unless all sources of exploitation are plugged. The lands possessed by the tribals in the valleys have passed into the hands of the liquor vendors and money lenders. The improvident habits, ignorance and illiteracy of the tribal people, often lead them to part with most of their agricultural and forest produce in repayment of debts at an exorbitant rate of interest. The cunning and rapacious sycophants and money lenders as well as traders are largely responsible for their misery and ruin. In this respect they are badly in need of vigorous protection vis-a-vis Government, until] they have advanced sufficiently to look after themselves—a matter of not less than two generations..

The sustainability of the success of our endeavour depends upon two factors: (1) involvement and participation of the target group and (2) spread of education and a broad perspective and awareness about various programmes of tribal development. Moreover, food and medical aid are. the prime necessities after that education. Without it, progress cannot be made. On it depends the future success of the tribal development schemes.

The type of work which must be undertaken to accomplish the social and economic betterment of the tribal people and to wean them from the destructive cult of shifting cultivation is not one that can be conducted by a secretariat or from an office It can only be dealt with by practical workers in the field to whom responsibility together with adequate powers and discretion have been delegated. The personal touch is essential; red tapeism could ruin all chances of success. But the right type of worker is not easy to procure. He must be the essence of tact and discre- tion, at the same time be firm and persevering, and he must be selfless. The work will take him into the remote and unfrequented parts where he will often have to roughit out. He must, therefore, be imbued with the zeal of a missionary. He must watch to see that the tribals are not exploited by his subordinates, and, as far as possible, only men of proved integrity should be employed. Where thereis a tribal language, he should make it his business to learn it, for there is no better way to the heart of a tribal than through the knowledge of his language, even if it be only a smattering.

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Where do we find out this kind of persons ? They are found amidst us : voluntary workers of the so called tribe of NGOs.

Absence of reliable anthropological, economic and statistic data on shifting cultivation, which varies from region to region and from tribe to tribe, is a major drawback in identifying the gravity and dimensions of the problem and designing solutions to tackle it.

Absence of area-wise data on duration of bush-fallowing, cropping pattern and crop yield, extent of denudation, degradation and erosion, extent of damage caused to water regime, intensity of run off, nature of rock and vegetational cover is a serious drawback in deliniating the areas into different gradations on the basis of the extent of damage caused by the practice of shifting cultivation and in devising area specific means, which will help the soil to re-establish itself and vegetational type progress towards the climatic complex.

Collection, analysis and tabulation of data gathered through schedules and questionnaires will be the work of either XIM or SIDA. There may be a special cell created to take up field work in different parts of the State and evolve techniques to show impact of works relating to shifting cultivation on the target group. It should be the work of the cell to devise monitoring and evaluation techniques, forms and questionnaires for data collection.


Issue for Discussion The second issue is concerned with chalking out a working relation- ship among NGOs, Forest and other related Government departments, Government scientists, environmentalists and village communities, in the form of a written memorandum of understanding. Participants CHAIRMAN: Fr Augustin Karinkutiyil, Catholic Charities, Khurda Road, Jatni. Anthia Madiath, Gram Vikas, Berhampur. AV Swamy, VISWAS, Khariar Road. J Parida, Jana Vikas KC Sahu, Ashwin Project, Keonjhar Dr SN Patra, OUAT, Bhubaneswar GC Padhy, Conservator of Forests, Forest Dept. BG Das, JAGARANA, Koraput. S Nayak, Gumusar Mahila Samiti

ay i


Anders Nystrom, SIDA, Bhubaneswar 10. SP Das, CENDERET, Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar 11. Neera Mendiratta, SIDA, Bhubaneswar.

Report of the Group

It was necessary to have some conceptual clarity on the problem, alternatives and strategies to combat the problem of podu cultivation, before proceeding to discussion on Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

It was possible to discuss only an approach to MOU and broad guidelines to the same, details of which have to be worked out after the alternatives and strategy to deal with podu are clearly spelt out and the concerned agencies and group sit together.

Shifting cultivation has now become _ both economically and ecologically unviable. However, the shifting cultivators are forced to

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continue with it, as part of their survival strategy in a situation of no alternatives. They need to have choices—viable alternatives to this degenerating system of podu cultivation. And _ in the shifting cultivator’s search for alternatives or even in recognition of need to search for alternatives, he needs to be assisted.

Alternatives to podu cultivation have to be found in micro perspective. Primarily these alternatives should be forestry and agriculture based without requiring drastic changes in the tribals’ life pattern and their uprootment from their area. Suitable Jand policies and rights to