The objectives of the project are to:

  • improve the economic and social well-being of the Mewat community;
  • promote greater self-reliance on a sustainable basis; and
  • broaden the range of economic opportunities available to the community.

IFAD Photo by Katia Dini - India-Tamil Nadu Women's Development Project - Women raise buffalo for milk as an income-generating activity in Attimartur village, Dharmapuri.

  • Economic activities:
  • soil and water conservation;
  • canal irrigation;
  • development of arable crops;
  • horticulture;
  • livestock improvement; and
  • off-farm enterprises.
  • Social development component:
  • development support communication;
  • community and women’s development;
  • formal education; and
  • rural water supply.


The project has registered significant achievements in almost all components since 1995. The overall impact of interventions has been diluted, however, by deficiencies in implementation. There is a need to target beneficiaries more accurately and to reach out to the poorest of the poor. Linkages between project, state and central government development schemes would have to be forged and strengthened to ensure future sustainability of interventions.

Organizations and people

Women in Mewat are among the most deprived groups in the country, living for the most part in extreme poverty and ignorance and working on average 14-16 hours a day. They are occupied in three spheres of activity:

  • agriculture;
  • dairy production; and
  • family management, which includes rearing children.

The rural water-supply programmes have been hampered by institutional, social and technical problems and budgetary constraints. Low coverage, frequent failures and poorly functioning facilities remain problems. Community participation in rural water-supply projects is totally lacking, which has resulted in poor maintenance of the facilities created.



To support non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in:

  • community mobilization and women's development activities;
  • establishment of two new community organizations: village development groups and a women's development centre;
  • training village animators in community mobilization, nurses and midwives;
  • providing gender-sensitization courses for government, local authorities and community representatives;
  • provision of buildings and furniture for private middle and high schools;
  • implementation of a literacy campaign.

To improve the water supply by providing 100 tube wells, 90 boosting stations and 185 km of pipelines.


766 women’s self-help groups were formed in 390 villages, with a total membership of 10 567 women.

Irrigation facilities have been significantly enlarged to cover an additional 5 200 ha in 27 villages. By 2000-2001, the availability of drinking water had increased to cover an additional 260,000 people.

Risk management

Buffaloes are widespread throughout Mewat; milk is an important source of income, as 90% is sold. At the time of project appraisal, four schemes were in progress for providing loans to different categories of Mewat people to purchase buffalo and earn their livelihoods from milk. The loans provided were insufficient, however, which forced recipients to seek additional sources of financing. This is not the case with the mini-dairy scheme, where applicants receive training and support as well as buffaloes. Indebtedness incurred in obtaining buffaloes obliges most milk producers to sell to middlemen at less than market prices; the relationship of mutual dependence is not totally negative, however. There are nonetheless opportunities for developing milk-marketing cooperatives with a view to increasing returns to producers, particularly women.

Fish culture in ponds is carried out on a limited scale, mainly in prosperous households that are in a position to establish or lease ponds from the panchayat (village council). They work with large commercial enterprises outside Mewat, which usually transport the fish to Delhi for sale. Village ponds cover 982 ha; pond conditions are not ideal for fish production.



To establish a dairy marketing cooperative system.

To renovate 50 ha of ponds and provide additional water; to establish 18 units of integrated fish farming; and to provide training to 60 trainees per year in fish production technology.

200 milk producers’ cooperative societies have been created, which procured 4.6 million kg of milk during 2000-2001. Average milk procurement has increased from 1 334 kg to 12 856 kg per day.

108 village ponds have been constructed; fish farming has been introduced in 32 of these.

Livestock feeding

Feed is the greatest constraint on efficient livestock production in Mewat: traditional fodder production techniques need water and land, which are in scarce supply. Opportunities exist, however, to introduce new techniques, which will save fodder trees and shrubs and enrich traditional low-nutrient fodder and provide mineral supplements.

Planned Achieved

To demonstrate improved fodder production systems.

To implement a mineral supplementation programme for livestock.

124 straw-enrichment demonstrations were carried out.

24 288 animals have been involved in the mineral supplementation programme.

Herd improvement

Livestock is of major importance in the project area, where households usually have two buffaloes. Mewatis generally sell milk to supplement family income.

Appraisal   Implementation

To build eight livestock-development complexes and 15 mini livestock-development complexes.

To provide liquid nitrogen jars for artificial insemination and a pure Murrah bull to facilitate buffalo breed improvement.

Six livestock-development complexes and nine mini livestock-development complexes have been completed.

145 liquid nitrogen jars have been distributed. From 1997 to 2000, 18 818 cows and 19 756 buffaloes were inseminated, producing 4 914 and 6 279 calves, respectively.

Animal health

Deterioration of veterinary facilities and shortages of critical equipment are major reasons for low staffing rates and poor livestock services in Mewat. Rehabilitation of facilities is necessary to retain qualified professionals; local auxiliaries can be trained to carry out routine tasks. Waterlogging and scarcity of clean drinking water for animals lead to worm infestation, resulting in poor animal health and low milk production.

Planned   Achieved

To implement a livestock deworming and vaccination campaign.

To establish two mobile veterinary dispensaries and train 120 para-veterinarians.


74 863 animals were dewormed by 2001; 9 000 vaccines against foot-and-mouth disease were distributed. A survey indicated that mortality in calves dropped by 60%, milk yield increased by 10% and there was a general improvement in breeding efficiency.

One mobile veterinary dispensary has been provided.

Lessons learned

Support to dairy marketing cooperatives and close interaction between NGOs, self-help groups and the milk societies can be effective in reducing the role of informal milk traders and in generating additional income for farmers through more remunerative milk sales.

Inadequate funding endangers project impact and proved wasteful in view of the under-utilization of the social and physical infrastructure developed during the initial five years of the project.

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