Rural Technology Development and Application Centre in Backward Tribal Region (Mandla)
locally named as Technology Resource Centre (TRC)
Technology Management Programme’ was started in 96 villages of 44 Panchayats of Ghughari block of Mandla district with UNDP and DST support during 2001. After survey and mobilization local resources were identified and quantified. Thereafter, need and market research based Technology Management Packages (TMP) were developed and field-tested to generate employment and sustained livelihoods for the rural tribals. The following Technology Management Packages have been developed and approved by the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India.
- Eco friendly Honey Harvesting & Scientific Processing
- Medicinal Plant Semi-Processing
- Low Cost Nursery
- Organic Composting
- Natural Fibre Processing, and
- Processing of Locally available Food Products
The UNDP-DST support, built up in the programme for the initial phase could not continue beyond two years (2001-03), which by any standards was a very short period. Livelihood based initiatives in the backward tribal region need long gestation period. But it has helped in creation of basic infrastructure and has introduced new and viable technology packages linked to locally available natural resources. It is our endeavour to take this technological input to the whole backward tribal eastern region. Two of the initiatives; honey and Medicinal Plant (Nursery) have been successful in integrating outside support to continue.
Natural Honey harvesting was supported by the CFLI to establish a processing centre and partial support was provided by TRIFED and SGSY for training and kit distribution. Now SRTT is providing partial support for marketing honey through Maikalsuta honey federation (See details under Eco friendly Honey harvesting).
A Low Cost Nursery was established at the TRC to facilitate supply of healthy and pure planting material of commercially important medicinal plants. Toyota Grant for Environment programme (Japan) has supported the activity of domestication, cultivation and processing of medicinal plants. A large nodal nursery was established at the CARD Agriculture farms and 10 satellite nurseries were established at different locations. Planting material was supplied from Nodal nursery to satellite nurseries to self-help groups during 2004-07. The central nursery is still running and annually around 2 lakh different saplings are planted in the villages around.
Natural fibre (sisal) processing was another activity which once involved around 200 tribal women and a range of 20 different products were produced and sold in Bombay. CARD could not scale it up when demand increased due to lack of investment.
A semi-processing unit was set up at the TRC to process the medicinal plants and to serve as a common facility centre for the self-help group. Satellite semi-processing units were also established at different villages. Now again we look forward to run the TRC at full capacity.