Nashik: Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. has joined hands with Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR) and its sister concern – The Sanjeevani Institute for Empowerment & Development (SIED) and the local community to implement a Watershed Development Project that aims at re-generation of natural resources through Participatory Watershed Development in three villages of Sinnar block of Nasik District. The villages are – Kharpale, Chandrapur, and Jamgaon. Executed over two years, the project is aimed at benefiting and enhancing livelihoods of over 297 families.
As mark of week-long World Water Day celebration, ground breaking ceremony was organized at Chandrapur village in Sinnar block to commence the work on this project in hands of Mr. Bhanudas Palave (Additional Collector Nashik, Mr. Kalyan Ranjan (Associate Vice President PAC, Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd.), Mr. Manojkumar Khairnar, Tehesildar Mr. Crispino Lobo (Managing Trustee (WOTR), Kedar Sapre (Factory Manager-Hindustan Coca Cola, Prasad Shivalkar (Zonal Head, HCCBPL), Mrs. Manisha Avhad (Sarpanch – Jaamgaon). Large number of villagers, elected representatives of Panchayat, officials from District Administration, Watershed Organization Trust and The Sanjeevani Institute for Empowerment & Development (SIED) were present at the ceremony.
Speaking on the collaboration, Mr. Kalyan Ranjan, Associate Vice President – PAC, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd., said, “This is the second largest Integrated Watershed Project that we are supporting. We, at Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, are constantly looking for building partnership with various stakeholders in the area of water stewardship and sustainable agricultural livelihood. Water is a social and economic catalyst and we are delighted to initiate work on this project meant to significantly improve the agriculture and livelihood of a large number of families spread across 3 villages of the Sinnar block. We are confident that the expertise of our implementation partners, WOTR and SIED, will help us bring about a change in the social and economic state of the villages resulting into better quality of life. The overall goal of the project is to enhance the agricultural productivity through watershed treatment, irrigation development and weather specific advisories.”
Mr. Crispino Lobo, Managing Trustee, WOTR said, “Through this partnership with Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, WOTR and SIED (Sanjeevani) aim to ignite the spark of hope and confidence in these drought-affected villages by catalyzing their creativity and potential for self-help. We will do this by organizing them to implement soil and water conservation works across the catchments they live in so that every drop of rain water that falls is harvested. We will introduce them to new ways of using this water efficiently so that they get ‘more crop per drop’; improve the quality of their farm lands; help them adopt agricultural practices that improve yields in a nature friendly manner and provide them crop advisories to reduce weather-induced risks. Empowering women is an important component of the project. The expected outcome of this project will be increased water availability for drinking and agriculture, increased farm incomes, improved food and nutrition security and a better quality of life than at present.”
The selected villages are backward and predominantly tribal. This area receives annual rainfall of 600 mm, which is highly erratic and uneven. These villages are hilly and hence there is a high surface run-of leading to severe soil erosion, which further leads to scarcity of water for personal consumption and agriculture. Farming is the major occupation and also the main source of income and livelihood for the majority of the community. The problem is compounded due to lack of knowledge of agriculture techniques and water resource management among the villagers.
The project undertaken by Hindustan Coca-Cola and its partners attempts to address the issues of lack of knowledge about agricultural production technology, water scarcity for agriculture, high soil erosion, land degradation and familial instability (migration) through sustainable improvement in Agricultural production technology and by optimum utilization of natural resources.
The activities underlined are targeted at achieving (1) comprehensive soil and water conservation measures in 546 hectares of land leading to sustainable land & water management, and significantly contributing to secure and strengthen agriculture; (2) strengthened irrigation potential by improving existing water resources and developing new irrigation potential, and (3) fully operational people’s institutions (SHGs and VDCs) to sustainably promote, support and manage land, water and agriculture development in the project area.
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