Even among the poorly developed villages in the Bodoland areas, villages in the Bhutan border areas are more vulnerable.

With poor roads, dependence on forests, active militant groups etc. most of these villages along the India- Bhutan border have not seen much of government input for years. Households subsist on poor agriculture yield from land which belong to the forest and whenever there is a crisis – largely for medical treatment or other household emergencies – they go into the forest and cut trees to sell as firewood. This has led to huge depletion of rich forest resources. Hence, we have been working to help families in these vulnerable areas improve their food security. A supplementary income will reduce their need to sell firewood for cash and also improve their health and nutritional status.

the ant's rural development programme in north-east
Horticulture in Kuklng for additional farming household income

Recently with the support from ‘Caring Friends’ and Mastek Software Foundation, the ant started setting up kitchen gardens and horticultural plots in the Kuklung village. The initiative’s main focus was to improve nutritional status and also provide supplementary income to 170 households.

In 2015, we measured the haemoglobin levels of all women farmers to create awareness about need for women to have nutritious food. The baseline Hb turned out to be 9.5 gm/dL, although WHO recommendation stands at 12 gm/dL for women. Also we wanted to know if there will be a increase in Hb levels, if they are supplied with variety of vegetables without having to pay extra. Through the kitchen gardens, each farming household earned an additional income worth Rs.18000 in two seasons. Also around 5000 fruit saplings were distributed to 50 households, whose fruits shall be reaped later!