This study examined the impact of NABARD’s Watershed Development Programme (WDP) on ecological integrity and livelihood security in two districts of Andhra Pradesh.
NABARD started implementing participatory watershed projects under Indo German Watershed Development Programme since the 1990s. Based on the success of the above programme, NABARD has constituted a Watershed Development Fund (WDF) to spread and promote participatory watershed development models and to create the necessary framework conditions to replicate and consolidate isolated successful initiatives under different programmes in the Government, semi-Government and the NGO sectors. With the advent of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in India, corporate bodies are also engaged in the implementation of watershed projects on a co-funding basis. This study analyses the impact of NABARD’s watershed development programme (WDP) on ecological integrity and livelihood security in 13 watersheds across 16 project villages in Prakasam and Guntur districts, Andhra Pradesh.
The project was implemented by NGOs MYRADA and SNIRD, with joint funding from NABARD and ITC Limited. It looks into three aspects through this exercise: an institutional analysis of the village watershed committees formed for the delivery of the WDP, an assessment of impacts on agricultural, ecological and livelihood indicators and finally, issues of equity and inclusion. The study uses a mixed-methods approach to evaluate the impact of the project based on qualitative and quantitative information from 16 WDP villages, and four comparison (control) villages in the two districts. Emphasis has been laid on covering livelihood and in-depth crop economics dimensions across marginal, small, medium and large farmer-beneficiaries of the programme. Given that the WDP has concluded in most of the watersheds, a post-management perspective has also been examined, for the sustainability of the community-managed intervention.