Monday, April 27, 2009


The organisational goal is sustainable development of the rural people by the application of eco-friendly technologies through the judicious use of natural resources.


  • Identification of the problems faced by the rural people requiring science and technology intervention.
  • Generation of eco-friendly technologies for solution of these problems.
  • Dissemination of optimised technologies to rural masses through grass root level NGOs
  • Awareness creation among rural masses about the importance of conservation and judicious use of natural resources for meeting the livelihood needs of the poor people.
  • Networking of NGOs for rural development through appropriate science and technology inputs.

Organic recycling

a) Composting of hardy biomass
Using a special microbial consortium, a technique has been developed for the efficient and early decomposition of hardy biomass like cotton stalks, pigeon pea stalks, Lantana stalks and the like, which are otherwise difficult for decomposition due to the presence of high levels of lignin.
b) Vermiculture and vermicomposting
The vermicomposting technique is being optimised for locally available agro-wastes and urban solid waste. Attempts are being made for using a larger biomass with a comparatively lesser amount of cattle dung as a starter culture. Instead of exotic species, it is also intended to identify and use locally available earthworm species showing high composting performance. Special trials are being made to study the efficacy of ‘Vermiwash’, the body fluid of earthworms as a growth promoting substance, over the growth and yields of commonly grown crops in the region.
c) Enriched composting
Enrichment of compost has been tried with the help of biofertilizers like Azetobactor and Phosphorus solubilizing microbes (PSM). The NADEP method of composting has also been made more efficient and lower in cost.

Sustainable Agriculture

  • A package comprising non-chemical agricultural practices and based on the use of local resources evolved by Dharamitra has been disseminated to about 400 small and marginal farmers of 22 villages in four districts of Western Vidarbha. These are mostly poor tribal holding partially degraded land, which is being cultivated under rainfed condition. The farmers in each of these villages have been organised into a "Farmers' Study Group" which is monitored by a motivator who is a young practicing farmer from the same village and trained in alternative agriculture practices. The data on crop yields as well as cost-benefit of crop production are being collected. The randomly collected soil samples from the farms of the beneficiaries are also being analysed for physical, chemical and microbial analyses. The programme is being implemented in collaboration with seven grassroot-level NGOs in Vidarbha region. These farmers have also been organised to form their own agricultural credit system in the form of 'Village Agricultural Fund’, which is being used to meet the monetary input required for the agricultural operations.

  • Attempts are being made to popularize a need based bio-diversified agriculture system among women farmers which ensure ample supply of vegetables, grains & herbal medicines for the poor families. About 95 women farmers have been involved in the programme which not only helps in improving nutritional & health status of these families but also account for additional income generation from the sale of surplus produce.

  • With the help CAPART, New Delhi in collaboration with about 20 NGOs a special awareness campaign is launched for awareness creation among farmers in selected areas of Central India about attributes of organic farming.

  • Under a special drive, Dharamitra has been documenting the experiences of the innovative farmers who have evolved on their own the non-chemical productive systems based on use of local resources.

Rock Bee Management

A novel and eco-friendly technique of management of rock bees, the ferrocious wild bees, (Apis dorsata) and safe honey harvesting from their colonies has been disseminated to more than 350 traditional honey hunters in selected tribal areas of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Vidarbha with the help of local NGOs. A special arrangement has been made for the direct procurement of honey at a higher price to avoid their exploitation at the hands of middlemen. These honey hunters, who have very well adopted the new technique introduced to them, have been organised into ‘Self Help Groups’. A concept of decentralised neighbourhood marketing is being tried wherein the honey is being sold in sub-urban centres in this region by household women through home selling.

A special brand for the processed honey has been developed in the name of ‘NATURO’, which has also received the Agmark licence. A strict quality control is being maintained by analysing the raw as well as processed honey samples in our honey-testing laboratory.

Banana Board & Paper Technology

A production-cum-training centre in banana paper and board technology has been established in Kalamb, a small town in the Yavatmal district of Vidarbha, which is known for banana cultivation. This centre, sponsored by CAPART, New Delhi, offers training to the youths sponsored by NGOs and other agencies.

Dharamitra has developed the technology for production of hard boards and medium density fibre boards from banana stem waste.

Other activities

a) Networking with NGOs
Dharamitra has developed a close linkage with selected grass root level NGOs in Vidarbha and formed an informal network called the Vidarbha Science Forum for Rural Development (VISFORD). It is a group of about 20 NGOs located in different parts of Vidarbha. Dharamitra is helping these small groups, which have developed a good rapport with the rural people to identify the local problems requiring science and technology interventions and providing proper technical support for solving these problems. Dharamitra has also been rendering a technical support to grass root level NGOs in the adjoining states of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
b) Sustainable Agriculture Movement in Vidarbha
With the help of like-minded NGOs and individuals, Dharamitra has initiated a 'Sustainable Agriculture Movement in Vidarbha'. It has developed a close liaison with practicing organic farmers and it inspires them to switch over to this system of agriculture. It is also trying to develop Producer-Consumer Linkages to arrange for the sale of surplus organic food.
It has undertaken a task of educating rural and urban consumers about the health hazards associated with chemical farming and chemically grown foods while making them aware of the attributes of organically grown food.
c) Watershed Management & People’s Participation
Govt. of Maharashtra has recognized Dharamitra as a ‘Mother NGO in Watershed Management’ by entrusting it a responsibility of training the staff of participatory watershed agencies, monitoring the programme being implemented by them and evaluation of the programme executed. Dharamitra has been assigned such task for three districts in Maharashtra, namely Akola, Amravati and Washim. Dharamitra’s technical intervention is aimed at improving quality of watershed programme being implemented in these districts.
Dharamitra is also a part of participatory minor irrigation programme being implemented on pilot basis in 6 districts of Maharashtra launched by Govt. of Maharashtra. Under this programme, Dharamitra has to motivate the beneficiaries to bear the cost of canals and water distributaries, build their capacity to technically and socially monitor the quality of construction work and apprise them of judicious and equitable water use once it is made available to them. Presently, the programme is implemented under the guidance of Dharamitra in Buldhana and Yeotmal districts of Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.
d) Environmental Awareness
Through all its rural programmes, Dharamitra has been stressing upon conservation of natural resources and their role in building up the livelihood base. Special attention is being paid to soil and water conservation issues, greening of land through tree cover and introduction of bio-diversified systems in farming.
e) Campaign amongst children
A special programme is being run for creating awareness among school children about the hazardous effects of improper management of garbage and appropriate eco-friendly measures for its productive use. Through the assistance of NCSTC, New Delhi, a promotional package has been developed, which is being used in a nationwide programme launched to develop a cadre of resource persons for initiating participatory activities for school children on this subject. Another resource package has also been developed on ‘The life of Social Insects’ which is presently being tested under a pilot project at two locations in the country.