Wisdom of Life

Project 7

Rapid Assessment for Improving Livelihoods andEnterpriseDevelopment in the Earthquake Affected Area

Timeframe :

03 Month

Donors / Sponsors:

USAID – CNFA / ILED

Geographical Coverage :

District Bagh (AJK)

Objectives :

  • Rapid assessment of pre and post-earthquake livelihoods patterns.
  • Estimate losses incurred to the infrastructure linked with rural and urban livelihoods.
  • Prepare a range of pragmatic interventions or action points to revive and improve the livelihoods for promotion of enterprise development.

Survey Methodology:

The survey methodology consisted of informal meetings with the affected community members, farming communities, development organizations, relevant government departments and the available professionals in the field. The survey team met and interviewed the farming communities on the basis of a questionnaire. This exercise was done on the basis of personal communications and the collation with the already collected data by other development organizations.

Conclusion and Proposed Interventions:

The survey team visited different affected communities as well as the major development organizations supporting them in almost the whole of District Bagh. They contacted primarily the national and international organizations already working in the affected areas for collection of baseline information and seek their opinion how to steer up the process for revival of the livelihoods based upon their yearlong presence in the area. The information collected and presented in the tabular form in the report is based upon the set questionnaire, meetings with selected community members, available professionals, officials of the civil and government departments as well as diagnosis of livelihood related issues in the fields.

The earthquake-affected communities and members & volunteers of development organizations welcomed the survey team everywhere in the district. Generally, the affected communities were highly impressed and satisfied with the ongoing efforts of NGOs. However, they had many reservations about government efforts specifically related to reconstruction and rehabilitation of the area.

Most of the NGOs and government departments are so far busy in the reconstruction activities except a few NGOs such as MercyCorps, Oxfam, Islamic Relief and to some extent NRSP and JEN took a number of initiatives for revival of the livelihoods. However, it was being strongly felt by the affected communities that with the passage of time, they are in urgent need to revive their small-scale businesses and farming. Therefore, they greatly appreciated the survey team to lead the livelihoods revival process.

The worst problems being faced by farming communities who have already been seriously affected by devastating earthquake include unavailability of livestock, damaged cropping lands, disturbed natural water resources, intermittent land sliding as the aftershocks are still continued, lack of drinking water, unavailability of quality seeds, pesticides, pest management system as well proper guidance and training to revive their businesses such as stone masonry, carpentry, backing/confectionary, departmental stores in their original form as before the earthquake.

Keeping in view all the aspects, views, wishes, willingness of the farming & urban communities and expectations of CNFA, I-LED project, following interventions / action points need to be made with immediate effect which are essentially required for revival of both the on-farm and off-farm livelihood patterns:

On-farm Interventions:

  • Restocking of the livestock with focus on buffaloes in low altitude areas, cows in mid-altitude, goats in high altitude and poultry in low & mid altitude areas as well as arrangement for their shelter. It will greatly serve the purpose of women who are mainly responsible for livestock management.
  • Womenfolk of the rural areas in the district need to be targeted for promotion of kitchen gardening to meet their needs as well as supply to the local markets.
  • An equipped veterinary center with trained staff needs to be established for provision of vet and vaccination services to the livestock and poultry owners at least one in each Tehsil.
  • Restocking of the land leveling implements through farm based stores or community resource centers should be ensured so that farmers are able to level their land / terraces for cropping purpose as well as increase the cultivable area depending upon availability of additional land.
  • Almost the whole of agriculture and horticulture of District Bagh is rain-fed. There are only few reported small-scale water channels damaged during the earthquake that need to be reconstructed. In addition to this, a number of cemented water ponds should be constructed at the UC level for rainwater harvesting that could be used for effective irrigation according to proper irrigation schedules of the crops.
  • Small check dams should also constructed with the involvement of communities according to their needs. This will help them in better management of their crops to get higher yield.
  • Supply of quality seeds, environmental friendly pesticides for the crops to be ensured and arrangements should be made for capacity building of the farming communities in productivity enhancement.
  • There is very promising scope of vegetable and orchard management throughout District Bagh. But due to lack of proper farming skills farmers have never been able to get reasonable produce. Therefore, it will be highly beneficial if the small-scale community based enterprises of fruit and vegetable nurseries are established. This will certainly raise the level of farmers’ income as well promote the value chain businesses in the area.
  • Arrangements need to be made for grading, packaging and fruit & vegetable drying for effective marketing of the local produce. For example in Dheerkot & Bagh, the skills of apple growers and in Havaily, the skills of walnut growers need to be further strengthened in post-production technologies and identification of new market channels.
  • According to local communities in Tehsil Bagh, floriculture and ornamental plants are gaining popularity as a promising business with the passage of time. AJK is very rich in a range of diversified flora. Therefore, to establish and promote this business, community based floriculture nurseries may be established. To further enrich, such enterprises may also be linked with butterfly farming for export purpose.
  • The village Kala Molla of Tehsil Havaily is very well-known in the local business of high quality honey production business. This can be further boosted up with the technical and financial support. As reported by the local communities, if they are provided with proper support, round about 2,000 – 3,000 Kg honey can be produced in one season in that village. Moreover, they are very interested in beekeeping of other species that have good production capacity. Therefore, capacity building program may be developed to promote this business in this area.
  • Supply mechanism for provision of inputs to the affected farmers on subsidized rates need to be developed by the involvement of communities.
  • Inventory of the local insect pests and diseases of the cereal, fruit and vegetable crops along with print material to be prepared for guidance and awareness of the farmers.
  • List of insecticides, pesticides, bio-pesticides, pheromones, insect growth regulators and biological agents to be identified, prepared, quantified and made available in the farm stores or resource centers for distribution among the needy farmers.
  • Locally practiced fruit & vegetable storage methods need to be evaluated for their usefulness and reliability. These methods may be further refined with training of the growers. On the other hand, if at least one cold storage is established in the area, it will greatly help the growers to store their products locally at cheaper rates instead of taking toRawalpindiorPeshawarwhich costs them very high.
  • Exposure visits of farmers to other areas ofPakistansuch asPunjaband NWFP may be organized to raise the level of awareness for boosting up productivity capacity.

Off-farm Interventions:

  • Based upon experiences of the development organizations working in earthquake- affected area, the schemes of cash-for-work have proved very successful. Therefore, such initiatives may be further promoted especially when we talk about revival of the infrastructure, establishment of check dams, land leveling, terracing and similar other activities. The I-LED project may introduce such schemes. To do this, formal agreements may be made with the target communities after mutual identification of the tasks to be carried out.
  • Capacity building arrangements may be made for masons, carpenters, tailors, jewelers, blacksmiths as well as bakers / confectioners by the involvement of skilled resource persons or particular organizations from other provinces to refine their skills and enhance quality of services for better earning.
  • Capacity building arrangements need to be made with focus on women and housewives to refine and gain skills in local handicraft and home industrial products by establishing vocational centers as well as their effective marketing. This will also need to identify or create new market channels for profitable sale of their products. Alternatively, arrangements may also be made to introduce handicraft products in the industrial exhibitions taking place year-round in different cities or abroad.
  • District Bagh is very rich in natural landscapes and mesmerizing natural beauty. There are various localities such as Sudhen Galli, Las Dana, Neelabut, Haji Pir, Naiz Galli and Toli pir where government had established natural resorts for the tourists without any sound efforts for promotion of tourism as a pragmatic source of income for the local communities. These resorts have also badly affected in the earthquake. It needs to be reconstructed and renovate these resorts according to international standards. These resorts can effectively be used for promotion of community based market-driven eco-tourism. If this approach is materialized, it will certainly prove as a source of income generation for local communities who would supposedly facilitate the tourists and arrange attractive programs for their amusement (A draft eco-tourism proposal by ECI is attached with this report for consideration).
  • This is highly important to link the on-farm enterprises with off-farm enterprises for smooth flow of businesses and development of markets. To materialize this, community marketing associations should be established who would bring both the rural and urban businessmen together for identification of new market channels and multiplication of their businesses.
  • I-LED should also specially focus on capacity building of the line departments such as Department of Agriculture & Livestock, fisheries, forestry and vocational training so that they could be in a better position to serve the local communities.

Conserving Natural Resource Base and Promoting Human Development through Sharing Knowledge, Exchanging Practices and Co-creating Future