The project will target small and marginal farmers in the 150 most backward mandals of Telangana covering 5,000 villages.
WASHINGTON, December 19, 2014 – The World Bank today approved a $75 million credit for the newly-created state of Telangana to enable the state enhance agricultural incomes of small and marginal farmers and ensure increased access to services related to health, nutrition, sanitation and social entitlements.
The Telangana Rural Inclusive Growth Project will focus on increasing economic opportunities for small and marginal farmers, especially from Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) households in the 150 most backward mandals (cluster of villages across gram panchayats) by helping them gain access to extension services, good quality inputs like improved seeds, market services, and institutional credit.
To boost human development, investments will be made in improving access to services in the areas of health, nutrition, and water and sanitation and increasing coverage and effectiveness of India’s social safety net programs.
Complementing the Government of Telangana’s efforts to strengthen panchayati raj institutions (PRIs), the project will significantly enhance the planning capacity of panchayats in the 150 mandals. It will invest in an Open Data architecture to help the government analyze the state’s development outcomes. It will also look at last mile service delivery issues, establish technology-enabled “One Stop Shops” within PRI offices, and strengthen their role as an interface between citizens and suppliers of crucial social services. In addition, it will establish a facility to improve service deliveries for people with disabilities and women.
“This project for the newly created state of Telangana will help small and marginal famers increase their incomes and their access to better services. It will complement the government’s efforts at strengthening panchayats so that they can play a greater role in planning, implementing and monitoring key government programs. Creating such strong institutions will go a long way in improving the lives of small and marginal farmers and fulfilling their aspirations for a better life,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director in India.
The Telangana Rural Inclusive Growth Project, approved today, will help link small and marginal farmers to urban markets and make them competitive across the value chain so that they are able to take advantage of the potential benefits from allied sectors like horticulture and livestock. Investments will be made in increasing the nutritional content of products such as milk, vegetables and poultry.
The project will specifically support to increase the incomes of 250,000 small and marginal farmers by at least 50 percent by enhancing productivity and improving their access to markets. This component will work with those small and marginal producers who have built up productive assets, have previously participated in productivity improvement, and have the potential to exploit growth opportunities for high value commodities such as red gram, milk, poultry, small ruminants, fisheries, turmeric, cashew, and coffee.
It will also work towards improving the coverage and service delivery of social protection entitlements for 500,000 poorest households, mainly from SC and ST households.
The other key aspects would be to invigorate and create local markets by connecting rural producers and enterprises with the rural consumers and enhancing the quality of consumption by the poor households by making nutrient rich snacks available through nutri-shops and creating awareness on the benefits of these products.
The greatest potential for growth in the agriculture sector comes from cash-crops, livestock, and fisheries. For instance, between 2004 and 2012, the fisheries sub-sector grew at 8.7 percent, while the agriculture sector as a whole grew only at about 3.9 percent.
“Most of the small and marginal farmers are not able to access opportunities from growth in agriculture and in its allied sectors because they have limited access to extension services, good quality inputs like improved seeds, market services, and institutional credit. This project will help poor farmers’ access economic opportunities through value chain development and better market access,” said Parmesh Shah, Lead Rural Development Specialist and the Task Team Leader for the project. “The focus of the project on human development services (health, nutrition and sanitation), offers a unique opportunity to work across sectors for last mile delivery of services.”
On the human development side, the project will use community led approaches to improve access to water and sanitation services in about 1,000 targeted villages adopting saturation approach to cover all households and rural institutions like schools, anganwadi centers, and health centers and helping them achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.
The credit is from the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm – the Credit is on IDA terms with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period.