NABARD has been closely associated with tribal development and sustainable livelihoods through orchard based farming systems. As an integral component of NABARD’s Natural Resource Management (NRM) policy of providing sustainable livelihoods, NABARD laid special emphasis on providing support for holistic development of tribal communities with orchard establishment as the core element. The implementation of comprehensive Adivasi Development Programmes (ADPs) in Gujarat since 1995 and in Maharashtra since 2000 had provided several insights for NABARD in framing strategies for holistic development of tribal regions.
Tribal development Programme under TDF based on the successful experience of Adivasi Development Programmes, NABARD embarked upon an ambitious program of replicating the wadi (small orchard) model across the country. In this direction, NABARD set up a Tribal Development Fund (TDF) with a corpus of Rs. 50 crore in the year 2003-04. The corpus was augmented from time to time. All projects under TDF are implemented by partnering with State Governments, Government of India, NGOs and Corporates.
The objective of the Fund is to create replicable models of integrated development of tribal families on participatory basis, through adoption of sustainable income generating activities and to build, strengthen tribal institutions which enables mainstreaming the communities by improving their socio-economic status. Over the years supporting the tribal communities with wadi, as the core component has been the focus area of TDF programme. The programme has grown significantly and has been one of the flagship Natural Resource Management (NRM) programmes of NABARD.
Assistance under TDF is provided for developing the tribal dominated areas through the wadi (small orchard), allied and off-farm activities. Support under TDF is available for integrated tribal development and the projects are expected to ensure sustainable livelihood opportunities for tribal families, increased agriculture/ horticulture productivity and ecological sustainability. Apart from livelihood interventions, the TDF project has other components like training and capacity building, processing and marketing, micro enterprises for women/landless, community health improvement, women empowerment, building community organsaitions etc.