Bhubaneswar: In order to enhance the income of farmers farming near watersheds and adjacent areas in Odisha, the state government has decided to develop a watershed program titled Rejuvenating Watershed for Agricultural Resilience through Innovative Development (REWARD).
A total of around 5.26 lakh hectares of land spreading over 705 micro-watersheds would be developed under the proposed REWARD projects.
The government has decided to treat around 1.15 lakh hectare of land under 152 micro-watershed units in five pilot districts namely Koraput, Nayagarh, Dhenkanal, Deogarh and Sambalpur in the first phase.
Besides, around 4.11 lakh hectare of land in seven districts covering about 533 micro-watershed units would be covered both for pilot intervention and intensive agriculture. The seven districts are Koraput, Nayagarh, Dhenkanal, Deogarh, Sambalpur, Nabarangpur and Sundargarh.
Prevention of soil run-off, regeneration of natural vegetation, rain water harvesting and recharging of the groundwater table would be the outcome of the project. The project is expected to enable multi-cropping and adoption of diverse agro-based activities by farmers.
A high level meeting was held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra. Considering the proposal, Mahapatra directed the authorities to focus on enhancing productivity and opening up new sustainable livelihood opportunities for increasing the net income of the farmers.
He also directed to treat the watershed and adjacent areas in saturation mode through adoption of new technology and data-driven approaches. He has also directed to complete designing of the project by end of July, 2021.
Odisha, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are the three States initiating the ambitious programme. The programme would be implemented over a period of six years. The approximate cost of the project was estimated around 211.57 million dollar out of which state and central government would provide around 162.57 million dollar through convergence of different schemes; and, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) of the World Bank would provide 49 million dollar as loan.