Vol. 1, Issue 11, Part G (2015)
Utilization of Simple Technologies for the Development of Some Hill Areas of Kumaun Himalaya
Uttarakhand, a newly formed state in the Indian Himalayan region state has thin population, undulating terrain, distantly located small villages with difficult approach, terraced cultivation, small and scattered land holdings, scanty irrigation facility, concomitant with little use of modern technology, low productivity, degraded land, and several other difficulties. Over the years many technologies although simple but effective and having the potential to promote socio-economic development and ensure regeneration of degraded mountain lands, have been adopted in the region. Some of these technologies, namely (a) Water Harvesting Technology, (b) Apiculture, (c) Plant nursery techniques, (d) Agroforestry, (e) Vegetable cultivation, (f) Protected cultivation, (g) Floriculture, (h) Horticulture, (i) Bio composting, (j) Vermi-composting, (k) Pisciculture, (l) Integrated fish farming (IFF), and (m) Preparation of decorative items have been discussed in this report. Based on a survey conducted in 5 villages in Almora district of Uttarakhand state, namely Katarmal, Matela, Khunt, Manan (Nagoria) and Basoli, assessment was made on the economic conditions of the people following adoption of these technologies and some case studies reported. Vermicomposting has been adopted in villages Katarmal, Matela, Khunt and in Basoli. In most of the villages the farmers reaped considerable profit following vegetable cultivation; in some cases like Katarmal and Matela the production was not sufficiently high, nevertheless sufficient for own (internal) consumption. Only selected persons took up Horticulture in the villages Katarmal, Khunt, Manan and Manan-Basoli, and all through support from organisations. Only a few persons had the courage of adopting Pisciculture and IFF. Floriculture has also been taken up as a new initiative by a few. Source of income of majority of the villagers is through job and labour work; agriculture and allied activities constitute a small fraction, and among the villages studied maximum number of households in Manan-Nagoria and Basoli, i.e. 25 and 18%, respectively take up this activity. While different organizations have been involved in supporting the villagers in terms of physical and technical support to implement technologies, however, only a limited number of households have received help. Further, it must be mentioned that villagers do possess land but own efforts are not sufficient enough and expectations from external sources often prevail. Hence people prefer job where income is assured and regular. A major percentage of people of Matela (53%), Basoli (42%) and Manan-Nagoria (32%) earn their living through job, however, working as labour force was found highest in Katarmal (70%), followed by Khunt (42%), Basoli (31%) Matela (30%) and Manan-Nagoria (27%). The results indicate that development is slow in these villages. Therefore, some workable solutions have been suggested and discussed for development and improvement of the region. These include consolidation of land holdings, solving water scarcity and fuel wood need, improving marketing of produce, involvement of women, awareness & updating knowledge, and setting up of demonstration models. It is hoped that such concerted approaches can help in improvement in the quality of life of the local inhabitants.