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Prakasam District, AP  
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Stock Taking Report


Prakasam District was formed in the year 1970 with the amalgamation of backward areas of erstwhile Guntur, Nellore and Kurnool Districts with Head Quarters at Ongole. The district with 102 km long coastline passes through eleven coastal mandals. The geographical area of the district is 16, 94,212 ha of which about 26% area is under forests (4,41,594 ha). The district is divided into 56 mandals and 12 blocks (each block with 4 to 6 mandals). There are 1104 revenue villages in the district. Demographic details are given in Table 1.

Table 1. Demographic details



Figures (in lakhs)


Total population















Scheduled caste



Scheduled tribes



Total number of farm families in the district



Number of literates
a. Male
b. Female

15,32,126 (57.38)
9,38,482 (69.36)
5,93,64 (45.08)

Note: Figures in parentheses refer percentages to total population

About 70% of the population is dependent on agriculture.

Table 2. Land use pattern-Prakasam



Area (in Hectares)


Total geographical area of the district






Barren and uncultivable land



Land put to non-agricultural purpose



Permanent pastures and grazing lands



Miscellaneous trees and crop included in the net area sown



Cultivable waste



Other fallow lands



Current fallows



Total cropped area


The major crops of the district are paddy, sorghum, pearl millet, maize, pulses, sugarcane, cotton, groundnut, sesame sunflower etc.
Table 3. Area under different crops in 2005-06


Principal Crops

Area in Hectares








Pearl Millet






Green gram

10, 750


Black gram



Red gram

81, 126


Bengal gram























Agricultural and rural development programmes

Several organisations implement programmes to uplift the rural population.
Table 4. Organisations and main programmes

Sl. No.

Name of the Organisation

Major programmes


Joint Director of Agriculture,
Prakasam district

  1. Implementation of a number of central and state sector schemes related to cotton development, pulses, oilseeds and maize;
  2. on farm demonstrations and farmer meetings, formation of farmer interest groups, Soil health Programmes, distribution of implements and subsidies.
  3. Programmes specifically for farmwomen are co-ordinated by a gender cell and this include trainings and distribution of implements


Department of Horticulture

  1. Integrated Development of Tropical and Arid Zone fruits – Area Expansion.
  2. Use of Plastics in Agriculture – Drip Irrigation
  3. ICDS for spices area expansion - demonstration plots, mini kits, development of cashew.
  4. Promotion of plantation crops including coastal horticulture
  5. Micro-irrigation
  6. Farm mechanisation and post-harvest tools


Department of Animal Husbandry

  1. Oestrus synchronization programme in buffaloes
  2. Intensive Sheep Development Programme
  3. Backyard poultry
  4. Artificial insemination
  5. CM relief package for supply of milch animals


Department of Sericulture

Catalytic Development Programme (CDP) -- mulberry cultivation, silkworm rearing, promotion and setting up cocoon reeling units etc


Department of Fisheries

Fishermen Co-operative Societies, fish seed production, relief cum Savings schemes etc.

To ensure co-ordinated functioning of the different Departments at the district level, with the support of World Bank, a society of key stakeholders named as ATMA (Agricultural Technology Management Agency) was created at Prakasam in January 2000. The support ended in 2006, and currently ATMA is supported with central government funds. (Box 1)

Box 1. ATMA

ATMA is a registered society involved in agricultural activities for sustainable agriculture development in the district. It is a focal point for integrating research and extension activities and decentralising day-today management of the public agricultural technology system. ATMA is increasingly responsible for all technology dissemination activities at the district level. It would have linkage with all the line Departments, research organisation, non-governmental organisations and agencies associated with agricultural development in the district. Research and extension units within the project district such as Zonal Research Stations, Krishi Vigyan Kendras and the key line Departments of agriculture, animal husbandry, horticulture, fisheries, and sericulture would become members of ATMA. There are 12 FIACs (Farm Information and Advisory Centre) and 12 BTTs (Block Technology Team) in Prakasam district.

The FIAC functions at the Block level. It manages key extension programmes within the block. FIAC acts as the extension planning and operational arm of ATMA. It is the common meeting point for the line Departments to prepare detailed extension programmes and coordinate their implementation. Farmer inputs could be more effectively mobilized through FIACs. Block Technology Centre (BTC) comprises of the block level heads of the participating line Departments with Mandal Agricultural Officer as the Officer in-charge. This Block Technology Team (BTT) operating at block level would prepare the seasonal work plan, including the extension activities to be undertaken during the coming season. The BTT meet once a month and it operationalises the strategic research and extension plan in the block with their technical supervision and support. There are 942 FIGs (Farmers Interest Groups) formed by participatory efforts of ATMA with line Departments and NGO representatives. The groups are formed as per interest of the farmers, namely, horticulture, agriculture, fisheries, animal husbandry and sericulture.

For the year 2006-07, the amount available for funding through ATMA is Rs. 25,70,000/- The details are available in Table 5.

Table 5. Activities of ATMA, Praksam (2006-07)

Sl No


Target for the year (2006-07)




Financial (Rs)


Organisation of demonstration




Training to farmers

  1. district level
  2. Village level




96, 750


Exposure visits (sector wise)

  1. Inter state
  2. Intra state




1, 50,000
1, 50,000


Mobilisation of farmers groups

  1. Capacity building and support services
  2. Seed money/revolving fund






Rewards and Incentives




district level kisan melas/exhibitions




Information dissemination




Development of IT packages




Farmer scientist interactions




Field days/Kisan goshties




Assessment refinement of technology through KVK




Development of SREP




district support training institute






25, 70,000

(Source: ATMA, Prakasam)

While ATMA has provided additional funding to the partner Departments/organisations to implement some of the activities that are not part of the regular schemes, lack of adequate work force to implement schemes is a major constraint for sericulture and fisheries Departments. For instance, one fisheries inspector has to look after 5 to 6 blocks and the same is the case with the sericulture Department. Moreover, ATMA is not staffed to implement these programmes.

ATMA recognises the need for more training programmes for women on value addition in horticulture. However, it realises the lack of full participation from women as many of them are not willing to attend trainings. ATMA Praksam in collaboration with Coromandel Fertilizers conducted Cheyyutha programme in which 17 women groups participated in market-led exposure visits. Forty women attended the programme and thirty women were taken to Chennai for quality control exposure visits.

Though ATMA is formed by several of these organisations, specific programmes are implemented by many of the component units independently with or without ATMA funding.

Programmes for rural women

Department of Agriculture

The main activity of Gender Cell under Department of Agriculture is supply of farm implements (seed treating drum, star weeder, cono weeder, improved sickles etc) to farmwomen groups. This reduces the drudgery and improves the work efficiency of farmwomen. The implements are 100% subsidised, and they are distributed free to the women groups under the Farmwomen Empowerment Programme (see Table 6 for more details). Farmwomen groups are selected based on certain criteria (such as farmwomen should be from small and marginal farm families; farmwomen from active Rythu Mitra Groups/ANTWA Groups/Farmwomen from Polambadi Villages; farmwomen interested and active in learning new technologies) formulated by the government. Except sickles, all other implements are supplied at one per group and not to the individuals.

Table 6. Farm implements distributed to women groups

Sl. No.


Unit Cost (in Rs.)

Number of units

Total Cost (in Rs.)


Seed treating drum





Star weeder





Cono weeder





Improved sickles









See Table 7 for the farm implements distributed to farmwomen groups at Praksam district under UNDP during 2006-07 at 90% subsidy. The rest 10% share is borne by the farmwomen groups.

Table 7. Farm implements distributed to women groups (UNDP funds)

Sl. No.


Unit Cost (in Rs.)

Number of units

90% cost incurred by the Department of Agriculture (Rs.)


Multi-purpose pulverisers





Paddy reaper (5 HP)





Groundnut threshers with 10HP





Multi-crop Thresher 8HP single fly wheel, mobile type





Dal Mill (mini dall mill with 3 HP Motor)









The Government of Andhra Pradesh implemented ANTWA (Andhra Pradesh Training of Women in Agriculture) in the state for a decade (1994-2004) with the assistance of the Netherlands. The project began in August 1994 for a period of five years and covered six districts. The project was implemented through Farmers Training Centres.

Following were the objectives of ANTWA:

  1. Train small and marginal farmwomen to use the latest agricultural technology and practices relevant to their farming system
  2. Encourage the trained farmwomen to share their newly acquired knowledge with other non-trained farmwomen in their area
  3. Increase the accessibility of such trained farmwomen to the existing agricultural extension services and improve their ability to utilise such services effectively
  4. Develop and increase the capacity of agricultural training and extension for women within the existing agricultural extension system
  5. Decrease the dependence of landless women farmers on income from agricultural labour

The training approach includes Village Based Trainings (VBT), pre-seasonal trainings, specialised trainings and study tours.

In Prakasam district, ANTWA was implemented in two phases: the first phase during 1994-2001 with the assistance of the Netherlands and the second phase during 2002-2004 with the state support. The training was implemented in 12 mandals at the rate of 3 villages/mandal and 10 women/village. These 10 women were expected to train another another 20 women. Training programmes of ANTWA were implemented by the Farmer’s Training Centre at Ongole.

Some of the activities undertaken by ANTWA include the following:

  1. Supply of pulverisers
  2. Grounding vermicompost units
  3. Imparting trainings on use of pulverisers; training under Polambadi; training under seed village; trainings under SRI cultivation; training under Integrated Nutrient Management; training on post-harvest technologies-value addition
  4. Organising field days, result demonstrations, exposure visits, skill-based demonstrations, etc.

An impact evaluation study on ANTWA reported that the programme “invoked warm reactions from the women in the villages where the project was implemented. The process of interaction, the project undertook, reinforced the farmwomen’s faith about their knowledge and skills in agriculture. Their adoption amply shows the synergic effect, ushered in by the project resulting in many tangible benefits in the form of increased yield, reduced pest attack, increase in quality of output and loss prevention as far as the technical aspects is concerned and increases in their decision making power, self confidence and living standards on social front”.

Box 2. Interaction with ANTWA group members, Prakasam

Farm woman Smt. Shiva Kumari of Chirukurapadu village, Jarugumalli mandal, Prakasam district, started dairy as subsidiary occupation after undergoing specialised training on dairy. During 1995, she received a loan of Rs. 14,000/- from Syndicate Bank on her own. Later she received another instalment of Rs. 26,000/towards purchase of Murrah buffaloes. Her net income is Rs. 2,500/- per month on an average.

In Pappireddipalem Village of Darsi Mandal, ANTWA group with 10 members (all agricultural labourers) is working successfully. They were sanctioned multi-crop crusher under ANTWA scheme. However, they have not operated the machinery yet due to lack of training. The group has a savings of Rs. 50,000/-. Group members expressed their interest to have a similar programme like ANTWA, in future.


Box 3. Sericulture -- a successful case

In Cumpalapadu village of Podili Mandal, Prakasam district, a women farmer Smt. N. Ramanamma w/o Mr.Srirami Reddy is successfully undertaking a cocoon production unit. She has two acres of land with a bore well. Due to continuous drought conditions prevailing in the district, she faced several constraints in farming. She sought an alternate livelihood by getting subsidy and technical inputs from the Department. First, her husband and a few other interested farmers were taken to an exposure visit to traditional sericulture areas such as Chittoor, Palamaneru, Kuppam and Gobichettipalayam of Tamil Nadu with the assistance of ATMA. Since 2004, she is practising mulberry cultivation. She was able to earn Rs. 15000 for two months, cost of production being Rs. 6000 and the net income is Rs. 9000. She has also received an award from the collector of Prakasam district for her good performance in “Sankranthi Sambaralu, 2007”.

Department of Sericulture

Most of the programmes run by the Department of Sericulture are women-oriented. In each village, groups are identified, and at least five women beneficiaries are selected. The selected women are given training in mulberry cultivation and silkworm rearing. The Department of sericulture in Prakasam district has utilised the services of ATMA largely for support, demonstrations and exposure visits to old farms and farms that are running successfully. The Department implements a programme called Catalytic Development Programme (CDP). The Central Silk Board, Mysore, as part of the CDP programme conducts the lab-to-land programme. In this programme, two acres are considered as a viable unit. The initial investment has to be made by the farmers. After assessing the involvement, they are recommended for subsidy by the Department. Total subsidy is Rs. 50,000 (there has been a demand to increase this to Rs. 1 lakh as the original amount is not sufficient) and the break up is given below.

For plantations              Rs. 2,500
Construction of Shed    -           Rs. 25,000
Equipment                    -           Rs. 15,000
Drip                             -           Rs. 24,000

The extra amount should be borne by the beneficiary or through the bank loans.

The major problem in sericulture is marketing. As of now, only few farmers are taking up sericulture as their main avocation. Farmers are currently marketing the cocoons in the markets of Madanapalle, Hindupur, Guntur, Vijayawada etc.

The sericulture officer at the block level suggested that formation of sericulture farmers into a society was ideal for the following reasons: for easy marketing; to address issues such as supply of pesticides etc; and to get any other assistance from the government. The officer suggested that it would be good to have an input centre supplying medicines (pesticides for mulberry diseases and for disinfecting the rearing sheds) at reasonable prices. This is possible through formation of a co-operative society with its own bylaws. Establishing reeling centres was also suggested so that the farmers could add value to their produce. Sericulture farmers were told about the loss in quality during transport. The farmers require improved storage bins such as plastic bins. However, these are costly and so they can’t afford to buy it. The officials feel that the farmers are not sufficiently motivated to organise into groups. Only individual farmers are practicing sericulture. ATMA intends to form them into a Farmer’s Interest Groups (FIGs) in the coming days.

Department of Animal Husbandry

Department of Animal Husbandry is implementing several programmes including the following where many participants are women:

  • Oestrus Synchronization Programme in Buffaloes: Rs. 1,000/- worth packages to animals are provided. Until now, 2,000 beneficiaries benefited, out of which 60% were women. Since women are more interested, the Department is interested to promote it to a full-fledged programme. Out of Rs. 1,000/-, Rs. 500/- is for meeting the cost of hormones and the rest for feeds, medicines, mineral mixture etc.
  • Sixty-five families are identified for a programme in which milch animals will be given to the widows in families where the male member has committed suicide due to crop failures etc. The families are given milch animals and Rs. 30,000/- is provided as subsidy towards the cost of the animal. Fifty percent of the cost is provided as a bank loan. Two animals are given under this programme. The implementation of this programme started in August 2007.
  • Under the CM relief package, 2000 women groups are identified in the cluster villages and the subsidy is released through DRDA. The selection of beneficiaries has started and it is implemented from September 2007. An amount of Rs. 30,000/- is given as revolving fund or from bank loan. A subsidy of 50% is arranged from the DRDA. The cost of one animal is Rs. 30,000/- and only registered suppliers from Haryana are called in to supply Haryana breeds.
  • In the CM relief Package, an amount of Rs. 1250/- is provided to SHGs for fodder development. The programme started in August 2007.
  • Through ATMA support, health camps for the animals are being conducted followed by rythu sadasu (publicity for hygienic milk production). In these programmes, about 80% participants are women.
  • Apart from the above programmes, there are provisions in the Department to supply backyard poultry and lamb units, to farmwomen as an alternate means of livelihood. There are local markets for poultry, and lambs in Ongole, Chilkaluripet and Markapur shandies.

In general, dairying is a successful means of alternate livelihood in Prakasam district. Many government and private milk dairy units are concentrated in and around Prakasam. In some parts of the district, milk collection centres are run only by women. Ten of the total 115 centres in the district are owned by women, and they have their own staff. ATMA staff is called for trainings, demonstrations, etc. The Department of animal husbandry is not involved in the marketing aspects. Its services are limited to only training and veterinary assistance. The marketing aspect is taken care of by the government and private dairy industry.

Department of Fisheries

Inland fishing and marine fishing activities are carried out mostly by fishermen communities. Women are involved only in marketing through street vending. In Darsi and Podili Mandals, approximately 100 women are actively engaged in street vending of fish. The Commissionerate of fisheries gives revolving fund for taking up marketing. The fisheries inspector suggested that women can be formed into a society and seed money can be given to help them in marketing. Fourteen societies are formed. The members are trained on all aspects and further strengthening of societies is suggested. They still require improved techniques of storage. Subsidy is given to women to buy ice boxes (75% of the cost as subsidy). The programme is already under implementation.

There is an urgent need to develop infrastructural facilities for breeding, hatching etc. There is a plan to improve the infrastructure under CM’s special package (released 75 crores to the Directorate of Fisheries). In each district, there is one seed farm. Efforts are needed to upgrade these into a breeding farm. In the seed farms, only rearing of early spawn are undertaken. In the breeding farms, breeding of different species from elsewhere is undertaken.

To empower the fisherwomen, they require training in dry fish making and pickle making, by product utilisation such as liver extraction and oil extraction. There are no specific women programmes. Every woman involved in street vending is a member of SHG. However, they are not doing this as a group activity. Under modernization of urban fish marketing programme, during 2007-2008 resources are allocated for Darsi and Podili mandals for full infrastructure development and hygienic fish production.

Krishi Vigyan Kendra

Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) at Prakasam is working under the state agricultural university (ANGRAU). The programmes are planned based on the needs assessed through a benchmark survey. KVK conducts trainings on various income generation activities such as vermin-composting, mushroom cultivation, importance of leafy vegetables, low cost nutritional foods and kitchen gardening. Trainings on value-added products with tomato, preparation of squashes with citrus and other fruits, preparation of weaning foods with millets and pulses, adda leaf plate making etc are conducted. 327 women were trained on the above activities during the year 2006-07.  KVK coordinates with the SHGs of DRDA It also motivates the groups to take up the activities for income-generation. In the year 2006-07, 107 groups were trained on activities such as dairy, poultry, fruit vending, vegetable vending, milk selling etc.

Fund shortage is a major problem constraining the activities of KVK. There are no infrastructural facilities such as proper transport facilities, because KVK is situated in a remote place. As per the KVK norms, vehicle can only be used for official’s field visits and not for bringing in trainees. Moreover, the trainees are from different parts. There is a provision of only Rs. 1200/- for one day training of 30 members and of Rs. 3000/- for boarding and lodging and vocational training for 20 members (3 to 4 days). In the KVK set up, generally hostel facilities are provided for the trainees. However, the KVK-Darsi does not have a hostel facility as it is a newly formed KVK.


DWMA (district Water Management Agency) was created in 2001 as a separate establishment out of DRDA. It takes care of the development of human resources and natural resources on a watershed basis. The Chairman of the project is a district collector. The project is looked after by the Project Director who is assisted by M.D.T. (Multi Disciplinary Team) with a Deputy Executive Engineer, an Assistant Director of Agriculture, an Assistant Conservator of forests, an Assistant Engineer and an Agricultural Officer as its members. The Andhra Pradesh Rural Livelihoods Programme (APRLP) is an ongoing participatory watershed management model, which brings together farmers, NGO's, Government and other rural community stakeholders. The goal is to integrate soil, water, crop, nutrient and other livelihood opportunities. APRLP implemented with the assistance of DFID provides critical support to the on-going watershed movement. The mandate of APRLP is to position livelihood concerns strategically in watersheds and for the inclusion of women, the poor and the landless. The project advocates innovation, lesson learning, convergent actions and policy influence.

APRLP, in Prakasam district, has four components: -- productivity enhancement, natural resource management, enterprise promotion and gender issues. Village organization -- a federation of women SHGs -- is the primary implementing agency in this programme. Activities are implemented through user groups and village organisations monitor and sanctions payment. Capacity building programmes are also encouraged. Group activity is found to be less and most of the activities are of individual nature. So marketing is taken care of by the individuals. Revolving fund is given through DWMA, which is a separate body and not co-ordinated by ATMA. The interaction among them is very weak or practically non-existent.

District Rural Development Agency (DRDA)

Indira Gandhi Patham (IKP) is a state-wide poverty reduction project for enabling the rural poor to improve their livelihoods and quality of life. It aims to cover all the rural poor households in the state, with a focus on the 30 lakh poorest of the poor households. The project is implemented by the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP), the department of Rural Development and the Government of Andhra Pradesh. SERP, an autonomous society registered under the Societies Act, implements the project through district Rural Development Agencies (DRDAs) at the district level. The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh is the chairperson of the society. With more than a decade long, state-wide rural women’s self help movement, IKP focuses on deepening the process, providing an institutional structure and developing a framework for sustaining it for comprehensive poverty eradication. It is the single largest poverty reduction project in South Asia.

IKP works with 4,76,930 SHGs federated into 28,080 Village Organisations (VO) and 700 Mandal Samakhyas (MS) in Andhra Pradesh. Community Investment Fund (CIF) is the major component of the project, which is provided to the SHGs/VOs/MSs to support wide range of activities for socio-economic empowerment of the poor. Prakasam district has more than 32,500 SHGs, each group consisting of 10 to 15 members.

Box 4. IKP Group at Kunchepalli-Podilli Mandal

This group with 10 members was formed in 2002. The group started with a monthly savings Rs. 50 per member and the group currently has Rs. 20,000/- as savings. The members own dairy animals, vegetable shops, petty shops etc. With Rs. 10,000/- as revolving fund from IKP, loans are provided to group members at 2% interest per month.

Initially, eight groups were formed. IKP sanctioned Rs. 4 lakhs as revolving fund for all the groups. So each group got Rs. 60,000/- and each member got Rs. 6,000/-. Invariably, all group members opted for the dairy enterprise as milk has an assured market, because of a larger number of co-operative milk societies (Prakasam district Milk Producers Co-operative Society) and private dairies procuring milk such as Milk Line and Heritage, Dodla. For the above groups, loan amount repayment was scheduled for 20 months @ Rs. 300 to 500 per month. The group is selling the milk at Rs. 20 per litre. The group members said that they were not facing any problems from the government and the banking sector.

In Kunchepalli village, the women groups buy provisions from the wholesale shops and distribute among themselves with an extra margin of 50 paise. The extra amount goes to the grama sabha. The amount will be repaid in two instalments by the members to the grama sabha. The activity is facilitated by the IKP.

NGO initiatives

SNIRD (Society for National Integration through Rural Development)

Society for National Integration through Rural Development (SNIRD) was established at Ongole in 1987. The objective of SNIRD is to uplift the downtrodden and oppressed sections of society. SNIRD has developed expertise in training, consultancy and publications. It is executing watershed programmes, funded by ITC. SNIRD is also a project implementing agency of the district Water Management Agency (DWMA) watershed.

SNIRD has federated the SHGs of fisherwomen, leading to the formation of Mutually Aided Co-operative Thrift Societies (MACTS). The society, with Rs. 5,00,000 as a revolving fund, supported fisherwomen. About 90% of the MACTS members are landless. SNIRD is stressing the members to diversify their activities apart from fish vending. So SNIRD is concentrating to diversify their activities of the fisherwomen and tribal people to floriculture, animal husbandry etc.

Tribal Women Co-operatives were formed by SNIRD and the seed money is given. There are 1500 members in two co-operative societies (spreading across 23 to 26 villages). 13 lakh rupees was given as revolving fund/seed money. SNIRD’s experience with backyard poultry for fisherwomen was a failure. As a project implementing agency of DWMA watershed, SNIRD feels that there is a lack of a perfect monitoring system from the top to bottom level, starting from funds flow to actual implementation of the programme.

Box 5. Specific experiences from SNIRD
  1. Rassori Yasoda of Madanuru Bapuji Colony, a ST woman used to fish in backwaters to make both ends meet. Later with the help of SNIRD, she has taken three kuntas of land on lease for one year at the cost of Rs. 2,500/- per annum. Of the total amount, Rs. 1,000/- was paid as advance towards land lease and the remaining amount was used to start a floriculture unit. She planted the seedlings of Kangambaram, Dhavanam etc and managed to get the contract of regular supply of flowers to temples. She earns about Rs. 200/- each day. The balance of the lease amount was paid out of her earnings. She repays the loan amount to the co-operative society at the rate of Rs. 100/- per month.

  2. Another woman Mrs. Kattira Ramanamma belonging to Yanadhi community stopped fish vending due to Tsunami. She sought alternate livelihood with a pair of goats of medium size with the assistance of SNIRD. She is repaying the loan to MACTS at regularly. Her children are at school.


PRERNA is a NGO working in Prakasam district. ATMA has started working and co-ordinating with this organisation in the current year for their trainings. It has expertise in capacity building, community mobilisation, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), organic farming, Skill development training programmes, livelihood promotion, Women Empowerment etc. With the funding from Spices Board, it is implementing IPM in Chillies. With the help of Spices Board, PRERNA installed solar poly house driers and drying sheets were supplied to chilli growers.

Some of the difficulties in the field reported by the PRERNA staff include the following:

  • lack of co-ordination among different agencies working in the same village;
  • lack of involvement of women in decision making in designing programmes etc;
  • burden on SHGs members (too many programmes through SHGs).

All the programmes should be women friendly and to be designed with the active involvement of women.


ASSIST, working with 44 fisherman communities, promotes the involvement of fisherwomen to undertake diversification of activities such as dairying. The women are leasing land from landowners and raise fodder before starting up the dairy. Initially the project started as a pilot programme in four villages and later extended to another 20 villages with the support of CARE. A project on Organic farming in Chillies is being implemented in small and marginal holdings with the help of Spice Board.


CIRRUS is a micro finance organisation with HQ at Bangalore. It has formed 96 SHGs so far in Darsi and Podili Mandals of Prakasam district. The members include both men and women. In Podili Mandal of Prakasam district itself, there are 100 groups. Each group has 6-12 members. Their savings range from Rs. 5 to Rs. 20 per week per member. Approximately each member contributes Rs. 50/per month. Out of the savings, internal loans are given at lower interest rates. Cirrus insists the group members to have 2% interest and the repayment should be on monthly basis. Cirrus assists the groups by giving loans ranging from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 80,000. Repayment capacity is assessed based on the performance of the groups. They go for dairy animals, poultry farming out of the funds.


CIRRUS formed one group by name Rajashekara in Podili. This group with eleven members was formed in September, 2006. They save only Rs. 5 per week and with a total savings of Rs. 3500/-. Hand loans are being given at 1.5 to 2 interest rates among the group members and they are utilising for different purposes. Repayment is scheduled according to their convenience. However, the loans from the CIRRUS should be repaid on monthly basis. Cirrus gives loans between Rs. 5,000- Rs. 50,000. The amount is shared between individual members and spent on different activities such as goat rearing, vegetable vending and bullock carts. If the loan amount is increased by CIRRUS, they can go for dairy, because dairying is a promising enterprise in Prakasam district.

Major lessons

Several programmes are being implemented at Prakasam district focussing on rural women. The district has a history of implementing ANTWA programme for almost a decade. It is even today considered as one of the best districts where ANTWA groups are actively working. ANTWA’s major focus was on training small and marginal farmwomen on latest agricultural technologies. Reducing drudgery of farmwomen was also one of its activities and several implements were distributed to ANTWA women groups. Though ANTWA could be credited as the first organised movement focussing farmwomen, it is the SHG (thrift and credit) movement supported by the NGOs, Banks and rural development initiatives that made organising rural women as a mass movement. This provided rural women (as individuals as well as in groups) access to finances so that they could initiate income generation activities (farm as well as non-farm).

Andhra Pradesh has the maximum number of women SHGs in the country and many of these SHGs have links to banks and other micro-finance institutions (MFIs) and have surplus cash, which they could invest, in viable enterprises. However, often, they lack exposure, trainings, and access to technologies and markets to initiate viable ventures. While group enterprises would be ideal, most of the women access funds to invest in individual enterprises. Due to these factors, the potential of several of the SHGs remain under-utilised or unutilised. The IKP and the DWMA, through a number of capacity development programmes are currently supporting the SHGs to overcome these difficulties. ATMA is also supporting groups of rural women (especially the FIGs) through exposure visits, trainings, demonstrations etc. However, all these organisations work independently. For instance, APRLP under DWMA and IKP (formerly Velugu) are not partners in ATMA. Patterns of interaction among these agencies are also weak. Though there are several NGOs, working in the district, most of them also do not work with ATMA or line Departments. Often each Department is not aware of what other Department/agency has been doing in the same village. Moreover, lack of any meaningful interface among the different agencies also prevents resource sharing and lesson learning.

ATMA offers additional funds for these and at Prakasam, about 30% of the participants in ATMA programmes are women. Annual allocation of Rs. 25 lakhs is not a big sum for ATMA, which has to operate in the entire district through 12 Blocks. Though additional funding has come from ATMA, work force shortages in all the line Departments act as a major constraint in effectively utilising these resources. Fisheries and Sericulture Departments do not have enough staff to implement programmes. DoA also has staff shortages and the existing staff is involved with implementation of a number of programmes having distribution of subsidies or inputs. All programmes suffer on this count and this is not restricted to women specific programmes. Organising specific programmes for women do not get enough attention; however, the Departments are giving more attention to ensure greater participation of women in all programmes.

The main activity of the Gender cell has been distribution of subsidies and organising training programmes through FTCs. Every organisation has constraints on funds. As the spending norms are rigid and are centrally decided, the implementing agencies do not have any freedom to change these. This is affecting the quality of services delivered. The contribution of gender cell in designing and implementing programmes however needs further exploration. However, it is increasingly clear that the programmes are not formulated based on the diversity of women groups or women interests in the district or based on consultations with other organisations. Department of Agriculture programmes continues to treat gender issues as lack of access to new knowledge and drudgery reducing implements. Therefore, training (on new technologies), demonstration, exposure visit and subsidised supply of implements are the main means through which women issues are addressed.

Most of the women who could access finances through SHGs have taken up animal husbandry, mainly due to the demand for livestock products (milk, meat etc) and existence of local markets for sale. However, this is not the case with enterprises such as sericulture, where new ways of marketing (and input management also) need to be developed. While technical interventions get support, institutional innovations needed for marketing hasn’t received any attention. Sericulture is one enterprise where lot of women are employed and therefore marketing interventions in sericulture would go a long way in supporting rural women involved in that enterprise. With more women getting involved in animal husbandry, there is a need to organise more number of training programmes for these women on animal husbandry practices. As veterinary support services need to cater to increasing number of animals, these services needs strengthening (and decentralisation). Similar is the case with the availability and access to fodder resources. Fodder is increasingly becoming critical with declining common property resources and shift in area under food crops to commercial crops.

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