'Good results in SABMiller-ICRISAT Andhra water management project'

Indo Asian News Service

Hyderabad, Feb 18 (IANS) A joint project by SABMiller India, Indian arm of brewer SABMiller, and International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) to improve rural livelihoods through integrated water resource management in four villages of Andhra Pradesh is yielding good results, the company said.

The project being implemented since 2010 in four villages of Medak district has enhanced crop productivity, soil and water conservation and livelihood generation for small farm holders.

The project, which covers 2,526 households with a total population of 12,940 on an area of 4,500 hectares, applies integrated genetic and natural resource management (IGNRM) approach to bring about sustainable management of water and enhanced livelihoods within the watersheds, said a statement by SabMiller here.

Medak District Collector Dinakar Babu Monday felicitated the progressive farmers from the project villages.

As a result of interventions so far, on an average, chickpea grain yields have increased by 35 percent, cotton by 12 percent, paddy grain 15 percent and sugarcane by 8 percent.

"Further, the income for small and marginal farmers has increased by Rs.4,730 per hectare for chickpea, Rs.5,730 for cotton, Rs.4,270 for paddy and Rs.19,360 for sugarcane," said the statement.

The project also caters to providing micro entrepreneurship opportunities to approximately 150 women from the Self Help Groups (SHG) through the Spent Malt programme. These women collect malt from the SABMiller India local brewery (Charminar brewery) and circulate it across to farmers in the villages for feeding milch animals.

"In addition to our on-going efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle water within our own breweries, we are working to drive performance improvement in water efficiency, enhance focus on water availability assessment and externally support collaborative resource management initiatives in Andhra Pradesh along with states like Rajasthan and Haryana," said Ajit Jha, director, corporate affairs and communications, SABMiller India.

"The results achieved and response of the farming community in the watershed towards the various initiatives introduced over the last three years has been very encouraging," commented Suhas P. Wani, assistant research programme director, ICRISAT.