In the areas where the Foundation works, the low and erratic rainfall means the risk of drought is ever present. This situation makes the district the second driest in India.
In a place nearly 60% of the population depend on agriculture, drought has a devastating impact on the poorest social classes.
In 1969 Foundation started an ecological development plan to cover different key areas and ensure the future of the families in the region.
Land conservation to contain soil erosion
We have constructed retaining walls and terraces that have slowed the erosion caused by torrential monsoon rains. With this, better yields are achieved and fertile topsoil and moisture are conserved. To combat climate imbalance in the area, a plan has been set in motion to reforest Anantapur (Andhra Pradesh) which includes the planting of fruit trees and medicinal plants.
Creation of irrigation structures
Through the introduction of drip irrigation and spraying we manage to save, multiply and share water resources in the area.
Reforestation and crop diversification
For decades, the main crop in Anantapur has been peanuts, a delicate fruit which is severely affected when the rains fail or are delayed. To alleviate this problem, the Foundation promotes the planting of other species that need less water and are more resistant to drought. Mango, sapodilla, jujube, Indian redcurrant, jaman, custard apple and pomegranate are some examples. In this way the diet is enriched and the family income is increased.
Use of alternative energy
The dung of cows and buffaloes is the fuel for ecological biogas plants that supply the gas stoves for many families. Women no longer inhale the smoke of wood fires and enjoy no-cost energy. The project also prevents logging and deforestation is curtailed.
The introduction of solar panels is another of the advances that has been carried out in the Ecology sector. Until 2009 they have dedicated to the horticulture more than 23, 000 hectares of land.
Drought reserve fund
The Drought Reserve Fund encourages job creation during the critical months of drought. In addition to preventing migration, the Fund serves to improve the condition of the soil by means of a small salary which the Foundation pays to labourers to clean up the wastelands.
Farmers from a large number of villages come every year to attend training courses offered by agricultural specialists. In these sessions, they gain knowledge about topics such as crop rotation, the organization of plots for irrigation or the planting and pruning of fruit trees.
Livestock, Fish, Pig, and Poultry farming
To avoid total dependence on crops, the Foundation has promoted livestock farming. Thus, dairy cows that have been given out become a source of safe and regular income for families. In the same vein, the organization has also begun to promote fish farming, pig farming and poultry farming.
- Set up new systems of drip irrigation and sprinklers.
- Promote organic farming.
- Train the farmers of Andhra Pradesh.
|Water conservation structures||
|Horticulture (ha of land)||
|Sprinklers irrigation systems (beneficiaries)||
|Drip irrigation systems (beneficiaries)||6,361|
|Biogas units installed||
|Composting units distributed||
|Resources devoted to the Ecology Sector (2008)||