Addressing Human-Wildlife Conflict in Central India

Posted on 26 November 2014   |  
A model of the fence on display at the mela
© Sourav Pahari/ WWF-India

Showcasing low-cost solar fencing at the MP Organic Mela

Farmers in Kanha-Pench Corridor estimate that they annually lose 30-50 per cent of their crop due to crop raiding by wild ungulates. WWF-India’s Satpuda Maikal Landscape (SML) team has advocated and implemented low-cost solar fencing techniques in the area, which has virtually eliminated the threat of crop raiding. These techniques were recently on displayat an organic farming mela organized by the Government of Madhya Pradesh (MP).
On 18October 2014, the Madhya Pradesh Agriculture Department organized the first-ever state-level Organic Mela, a three-day event that highlighted the importance and benefits of organic farming versus the hazards of inorganic farming. The event saw participants from over 40 different companies and NGOs who demonstrated various techniques, technologies, successful interventions that advocated the benefits of organic farming. Some of the participating NGOs besides WWF-India were Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), PRADAN, Reliance Foundation, Ekgaon, and Action for Social Advancement (ASA).

WWF-India received a special invitation to the event from Mr K.S Netam, Deputy Director of Agriculture, Agriculture Department, Mandla district, and used the opportunity to demonstrate several successful agricultural interventions. The team showcased a holistic development model of a village which included the use of low-cost solar fencing, systems of rice intensification, fodder development, energy efficiency measures, zero cost vermin composting, improved cow sheds, cow urine collection pits and vegetable farming methodologies. A self-explanatory three-dimensional model of this village was created to impart this information in an easy to perceive manner for the farmers in attendance. The model received widespread acclaim and appreciation from the farmers, line departments, NGOs, the Collector, Chief Minister, Members of Parliament(MPs) and Members of the Legislative Assemblies(MLAs) present at the mela.
The primary focus at the exhibition stall set up by WWF-India was to help bring about a detailed understanding of the practice of sustainable agriculture and how it can contribute to environmental issues such as tiger conservation. Emphasis was placed on clarifying that in today’s context, these methods come without any additional productivity overheads or constraints, and that their prime objective is to reduce crop-raiding. To this end, the benefits of low-cost solar fencing were demonstrated to the farmers, NGOs and officials present. The team highlighted several past projects and achievements that had benefited from these fences, was the only participant to demonstrate this technology at the event. Mr Ravi Kant Singh, ADA (Mandla) expressed his appreciation stated: “By creating a subsidy for solar fencing, WWF-India and the Agriculture Department seek to empower farmers across Madhya Pradesh with farming techniques and advancements which will help protect their crops from being raided and further help reduce human-wildlife conflict.”

Low-cost solar fencing techniques are being promoted across the various landscapes that WWF-India works in. At the mela, the team highlighted the installation of solar fencing systems in the three corridors of Kanha-Pench, Kanha-Achanakmar and Kanha-Tadobaand while focusing on raising awareness about the benefits and improved protection offered by this technology.
All stakeholders in attendance conducted face-to-face discussions with the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Agriculture Commissioner and Principal Secretary of Agriculture regarding the various inputs that could be provided to strengthen organic farming in the state. Special emphasis was placed on ways to reduce the cost of organic certification and minimization of hazards in the process so as ensure a smooth certification process. Mr Sourav Pahari, the representative from WWF-India highlighted that productivity was not a constraint in the present context, but ensuring better crop protection was the challenge especially in forest-dominated areas.
Given the prevailing scenario of high crop losses in such areas, measures such as low-cost solar fencing are as if not more important than measures aimed at improving crop productivity.  The team emphasized for the state government to consider granting a subsidy for this technology to enable better spread. The team thus decided that a formal proposal with a clause for the provision of a subsidy from the government be presented to the Agriculture Department for widespread implementation of this activity. 
For further information:
Sourav Pahari
Senior Project Officer,
Community-based Conservation
Satpuda-Maikal Landscape,
T: +919424692299
A model of the fence on display at the mela
© Sourav Pahari/ WWF-India Enlarge
A demonstration of the holistic Village development model being conducted by WWF-India team members
© Parasram Balmiki/ WWF-India Enlarge


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