CML-Tata Trusts & MAC Collaborative Multi theme Livelihood Initiative in Mising Autonomous Council (MAC) areas of Assam (CMT)
It is a collaborative initiative of CML-Tata Trusts & MAC which aims at making livelihood interventions in multi thematic extents in the MAC areas of Assam. The various interventions comprises the agricultural practices by introducing scientific Boro rice cultivation through SRI method, Fish culture and development of Handloom sector in selected clusters with hand holding support. The objective of the project is to bring about a change in tradition and practices through social mobilization, technology infusion, skill development and market linkage.
Mising Autonomous Council (MAC)
The Mising Autonomous Council (MAC) is an autonomous administrative division in the state of Assam. It was established under the Mising Autonomous Council Act, 1995 passed by Assam Legislative Assembly with its headquarters at Gogamukh, Dhemaji. An interim body of MAC was constituted in the same year for all round development in the areas of economic, educational, socio- cultural and ethnic identity of Mising People. The MAC area, having a population of almost 8lacs (74% ST), now consists of 1331 villages across eight districts of Assam – Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Sonitpur, Golaghat, Jorhat, Sivasagr, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia. For details, please visit http://www.macassam.nic.in/
The Mising Autonomous Council area with 70% Scheduled Tribe population is one of the most backward and flood devastated areas of Assam. The people once lived as free people with their own traditional agricultural practice and way of life. But, the recurring flood and erosion since the great earthquake of 1950 has changed the geo-morphology of the area so much that livelihood with old traditional practices have become unsustainable. Poverty and unemployment are ubiquitous in every flood affected village of the area today.
Flood is a natural phenomenon that occurs every year and people have adapted themselves to a great extent over long years of inhabiting in floodplains – like constructing stilt house, using boats for communication etc. But, people are failing to cope with acute shrinkage of arable land as per traditional practice and frequent crop damage by flood. Added to the misery, there is no development of alternative means of livelihood, forcing exodus of unemployed youth to the cities in search of job.
The situation can be changed, with collective efforts, by –
1. Improving the existing means of livelihood – agriculture – mainly by introducing boro rice cultivation (Nov/Dec to May/June) which is a safe period from flood. Besides, SRI method of cultivation can be introduced to enhance production. This can solve food crisis in the area. The project aims to introduce and popularize Boro Paddy cultivation in MAC areas and to cultivate 1000 Hectares of Boro Paddy in low lying areas of MAC.
2. As Mising handloom products are attractive and have good demand in the market, handloom can be developed as an alternative means of livelihood with capacity building of the weavers and infusion of appropriate technology. A cluster approach can organise sustainable socio-commercial institutions for others to follow and help expansion. The project aims to train and support 450 weavers from three clusters (150 each) through skill upgradation training and hand holding support for production and marketing of the products.
3. As the entire MAC area is low-lying with numerous natural ponds, beels, oxbow lakes, derelict rivers etc., there is ample scope for developing fishery as an alternative means of livelihood, too. Small scale composite fish culture can be introduced with hand holding support in select clusters protected from flood by embankments; and non-conventional type of fish culture like – cage or pan culture in flood prone areas. The project aims to develop 450 fisheries across three clusters (150 each) through proper training and handholding support for inputs required for high yields.