Project 1: The Vihar Project (formerly the Bihar Project)
Creative Solutions for Poverty Alleviation and Climate Mitigation
Executive Summary 2014
The Vihar Project is a current live project of the Vihara Foundation in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, India. It engages farmers on the ground, community leaderships, local and state government support (at the specific central level, district level, agriculture value chain divisions, and bio-energy divisions), national and international experts, academic institutions (see partners tinyurl.com/k5lg48g), and other stakeholders. The project has a large following and has been promoting on the Indian national and international platforms in support of the 2015 United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MGS’s). Lessons learned from the Vihar Project are already being transferred to other countries overseas in support of designing equivalent programs to support poor farmers and agri-business development (the Caribbean).
The Vihar Project is a farmers’ own/operate/manage integrated sustainable development undertaking that aims to beta-test the design of a business model for addressing poverty and climate concerns in Bihar/Uttar Pradesh (one of the most poverty stricken regions of the world). 50,000 hectares (500 sqkm) constituting 500 ha building blocks of contiguous farming lands have been scoped for engineering survey, design and implementation for agricultuarl-value-chain optimization.
Working at the grassroots level in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh(UP), the project’s approach aims to mobilize and merge small and marginalized farmers into a land-pooled cooperative business enterprise. Through this cooperative, the project will make common best management decisions positively affecting land resource and natural resource management, and business planning decisions that are necessary for integrated sustainable development management of farming operations (sustainable agriculture, increased production and market optimization), all aimed at increasing income and quality of life of farmers and farming communities, leading to poverty alleviation.
Furthermore, with regards to the design of creative financing mechanisms to support this proposal, the project intends to equate the economic equity value over time between “course of action” and “course of inaction” within the project dimension; such has been estimated through deployment of initial field data sheets to be of value in the hundreds of millions (USD), whose worth have been speculated to be of scale to serve the research and development of non-conventional creative financing instruments. Such instruments could be used for achieving total development strategies implementation, including capital infrastructure upgrades and technology investments, training and community development needs, thereby, relieving the dependence on donors.
Current project execution is arduously working towards funding, engaging potential international donors, carbon financing, creative development fundraising (via Rock against Poverty), and other mechanisms to lift of the project towards sucessful implementation.Individuals and organizations wishing to verify the documentary aspects of the project development and its history can view our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vihara-Foundation/135097989875140?ref=hl.
Present Project Status 2014
Since 2009, work on the ground and international levels have steadily molded the project to where is stands now – ready for funding and execution.
A team of experts (from around the world) with significant experience in natural farming and permaculture, integrated land use management, irrigation and hydrology, business and community planning, engineerning, financing and risk management are actively engaged in raising funding for the project, and stands ready to finalize the following needs:
1. Project scope of work development (Bankable Documents with project costs, project controls and schedule )
2. Project and Program Management (execution)
The project has worked with farmers from the start at the community and grassroots level (since 2009), and through progressive community intervention and engagement, has earned the trust of farmers to support the institutionalizing of a farmers cooperative of scale 50,000 hectares and optimization designs.
Through extensive field survey and data collection, technology and academic research, theoretical modeling, economic modeling, and engagement of expert advisories, the project has developed a conceptual design framework entailing 28 development objectives. Preliminary and final detailed designed will be completed during project execution.
Overall, the strategic intent of The Vihar Project is projected to compliment many of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals through demonstration of significantly improving the socio-economic-environmental-cultural basis necessary for improving the human development index of the research locations. This is expected to generate vital data and investment confidence for system-wide deployment throughout the rest of the region and State, and hopefully, anywhere there is needs and applicability in India, and globally.
Executive Summary (2009)
The Vihar Project is a multi-disciplined integrated sustainable approach to fast track the overall goal and objective of poverty alleviation and development of rural Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh. To date, much of the region remains impoverished and poverty stricken in need of solutions that could make a significant difference in the livelihood of people.
The premise of this proposal is based on the following problem statements, “Why do farmers who work so hard and produce in the region continue to remain poor and be subjects to underdevelopment. What are the overall effects on the sustainable economic base affecting poverty; what factors are causing this; and how can it be overcome? “ Investigating the answers to these provides the rationales for guiding and converging strategies towards developing practical solutions.
The Vihar Project presents an approach called Comprehensive Rural Sustainable Development Planning (CRSDP, pronounced “CRISP”). CRSPD is a methodology developed that converges socio-economic-environmental-technological inputs (research and development concepts working in synergy) to effect positive outcome of rural community sustainable development and poverty alleviation.
CRSDP sets out to achieve the following objectives, but is not limited to:
- Empowering decision making and negotiating through community reorganization
- Conceiving new and innovative creative financing novel to fighting poverty
- Leveraging capital investments for optimizing and improving farming model
- Critical and foremost, facilitating irrigation and groundwater sustainability
- Optimizing crop planning and R&D to achieve highest field productivity outputs
- Implementing new and renewable energy technology for rural development
- Bringing the agrarian processing industries near the fields of production
- Evading losses in market supply-chain trade revenues to farmers
- Enabling higher income and equitable distribution of wealth
- Empowering livelihoods of women, farmers and youths
- Improving nutrition and child health and welfare
- Reversing migrant village labour movement in search of employment
Objectives or Expected Outcomes
The Project aims to address poverty and development by optimizing agricultural productivity output and management process (the base economic activity of the region). This is projected to increase sustainable jobs/employment, rural incomes, quality of life, and, overall human development index of the rural sector communities. Further, improvements in agricultural planning and productivity and rural infrastructure, cooperative development, provision of financial services, and institutional support through organizational and skills training for beneficiaries in village communities, will be accomplished.
The Project is designed to optimize the agriculture process and at the same time reduce load of agriculture on environment, all while focusing on the objective of poverty reduction. The project’s objective support the Government’s strategic objectives of economic and social development, increased private sector participation, improvements in agricultural production, more efficient use of increasingly scarce irrigation water, development of rural areas, reduction of poverty, and environmental and social sustainability. The project scope includes agriculture infrastructure improvement, farmers based cooperative development, community basic infrastructure (education and health), and new and creative financial arrangements and institutional support services.
Comprehensively addressing the issues of poverty alleviation and development is proposed using a whole system thinking approach complementing already underway individualized approaches.
This proposal aims to deliver a poverty alleviation and development methodology that integrates sustainable inputs as efficient community organizing and eco-resource conserving technologies, leading to an increase in crude agrarian production with an estimated minimum measure of thirty-three percent, and with financial returns estimated well above what would typically be anticipated (i.e., achieved through changes in the trade supply-chain mechanism).
This proposal is intended to be facilitated into several phases, respectively:
Pre-Phase: – Conduct ground level feasibility study to guide project design and scoping, spanning 100 villages in two research locations, Nalanda, Bihar, and Ballia, Uttar Pradesh. Educate small farmers of the benefits of pooling common land resources and baseline all development objectives supporting comprehensive rural sustainable development: food security, water sustainability, shelter, health, education, energy, and others.
Phase 1: – Activate a 100 hectare farmers’ cooperative land-pooled prototype and demonstrate productivity optimization through sustainable inputs and the economic advantage of farmers’ cooperating to achieve production of scales to approach direct markets
Phase 2: – Expand from 100 hectares to 500 hectare prototype to demonstrate and test grow out of optimization design
Phase 3: – System deployment from 500 hectare unit throughout all 100 villages encompassing some 50,000 hectares, with engagement of full operations of farmers cooperation business enterprise, and all objectives supporting comprehensive rural sustainable development
The Vihar Project proposes a novel approach to accessing creative finance for funding development. This is a framework to self-reliance to enable all the aforementioned poverty reduction and development objectives to become attainable.
The Vihar Project creative finance scheme is based on a concept of macro-economic modeling to constitute macro-economic lending. It relies on a concept of Total Life Cycle valuation (TLCv) of equity that exist in the regional agrarian economy, but only accessible through sustainable development intervention. Structuring such creative financing would enable development self-financing, requiring minimal donor and government financial intervention and subsidies.
Project 2: Project Trinidad & Tobago (via the Confederation of Farmers Associations of Trinidad & Tobago) – in design
Contents under upgrade
Project 3: Project Haiti – in design
Contents under upgrade