Knowledge and training related to management of water and other natural resources will be shared with communities around the dry region of Tadipatri in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. This was announced in an MoU signed between UltraTech Cement and ICRISAT on 13 February 2019 at ICRISAT. ICRISAT Development Center (IDC) will be working with the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team of UltraTech in about 10 villages at Tadipatri, which receives an average annual rainfall of 500 mm. The goal of this project is to increase groundwater availability through rainwater harvesting and other means, as well as develop and support various livelihood options for farmers and the women of the communities around the cement plant.
In 2017, IDC had undertaken a comprehensive water balance study for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), of which one of the sites was the UltraTech Cement site. The idea to construct rainwater harvesting structures to achieve self-sustainability in water was developed from there and culminated in this MoU. The project’s initial aim is to establish a model site of learning through integrated watershed management in a pilot village of about 1500 ha.
Mr MSRK Prasad, Senior Vice President, UltraTech Cement, expressed happiness on being associated with ICRISAT and was hopeful that IDC and UltraTech together could bring some positive change in the difficult lives of the farmers that live around the cement factory.
Signing the MoU, Dr Peter Carberry, Director General, ICRISAT, reiterated the role that IDC has played in several villages and districts in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in bringing about change in the farmers’ lives. “ICRISAT has extensive experience in natural resource management and research-backed development,” he said. “We’re proud to harness a convergence of various technologies/programs/partners and act as ‘knowledge brokers’ in order to make a difference to lives of smallholder farmers”.
Dr Sreenath Dixit, Head, IDC, said, “We would like to help the smallholder farmers in the region, as well as women’s Self Help Groups existing in the region by providing technology backstopping and training in various areas such as rainwater harvesting, setting up of small enterprises, etc.”
ICRISAT has earlier carried out several watershed management projects in collaboration with state governments of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.