Over 150 million Indians representing 250 different tribal communities, are living on the edge of the forests, struggling for survival. Traditionally, these tribal communities were dependent on various forest products  for their livelihood. Rapid denudation of forest resources over the last 8-10 decades has severely affected their food security, forcing them to take up shifting cultivation and to migrate to cities in search of wages.

Wadi is designed for development of underutilised, degraded landsWadi is designed for development of underutilised, degraded lands While about 20% families are landless, the rest of the families own 0.5-1 ha land, where they grow various food crops, without adequate inputs and appropriate technologies. Unable to ensure their livelihood with the meagre harvests, most of them migrate with their families to nearby towns and work as farm labour or construction workers for 6-8 months, every year. Their quality of life is adversely affected due to lack of clean drinking water, medical care, education, communication and information facilities. Thus, the vicious cycle of starvation, malnutrition, migration, high rate of birth and child mortality, literacy and exploitation has forced them to live in chronic poverty.


Realising the plight of these neglected tribal communities, BAIF initiated a comprehensive Tribal Rehabilitation Programme in Gujarat in 1982, focussing on sustainable development, while conserving the natural resources. The goal was to ensure food security, community health, empowerment of women, education for children, functional literacy for adults, prevention of distress migration and improved quality of life without disturbing their culture and religious sentiments.


Fruit trees in Wadi plots provide income year after yearFruit trees in Wadi plots provide income year after year The main activity was establishment of fruit orchards on 0.4 ha of degraded land by each family. The steps involved were shaping of hilly terrains into small plots through contour bunds to facilitate soil and moisture conservation, establishment of drought tolerant fruit crops like mango, cashew, Indian gooseberry, custard apple, etc. as main crops, cultivation of seasonal food crops in the interspace between fruit plants and fencing of orchards by establishing saplings of various plant species useful for food, fodder, timber, fuel and herbal medicines, on the boundary. As these crops promoted under the agri-horti-forestry system needed water for ensuring higher growth and yield, water resources were developed from various sources such as revival of natural springs, open wells and borewells, lift irrigation, farm ponds, etc.

The Wadi programme also emphasis on promtoing the quality of lives. This is achieved through need based interventions focusing on preventive health and women empowerement. Women empowerement is achieved through drudgery reduction measures, organizing women members intoSelf Help Groups and promoting income generation activities. The Wadi participants are also organized into primary groups which are federated at village level and further at cooperative level.

  • Wadi is multi-component programme for improving livelihoods and living standards of poor and marginalised families living in remote, under-developed areas with poor agriculture resources.
  • Initiated by BAIF in tribal areas of South Gujarat in the 1980s, Wadi was consolidated and expanded with support from Government of Gujarat, Council for Advancement of Peoples Action and Rural Technology ( CAPART)  and the German development bank, KfW, through NABARD.
  • Wadi is today a recognised model for tribal development. BAIF along with its Associate Organisations, has implemented Wadi programmes in remote areas of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar benifiting over1.84 lac families.
  • In view of the impact of the Wadi programme, NABARD has undertaken wider dissemination of the Wadi concept in Tribal regions of the country through “Tribal Development Fund” (TDF). BAIF has been appointed as a Resource Organization by NABARD for undertaking capacity building of implementing agencies and participants under TDF. Wadi based projects are implemented in 22 Indian states, benefitinfmore than 1.5 lakh tribal families through TDF.
  • Wadi is a family-based programme implemented in through a cluster based approach. The core component involves development of Agri-horti-forestryon  small plots of under-utilised lands. This component is designed to meet the immediate as well as long-term livelihoods of the families owning the plots.
  • Around the core component, several other need based components are introduced, based on the identified needs. These involve activities focussing on improved health, women development, value addition to farm produce, livelihood interventions for landless families, promotion and regeneration of natural resources, etc.
  • Wadi is built on principles of participatory and environmentally sustainable development, with maximum use of local resources, local technologies and local skills.Coverage of the Wadiprogramme is given below :.

Coverage of Wadi under BAIF Programmes


No. of Villages

No. of Participant families

Area covered (ha)

Major Fruit Crops





Mango, cashew, amla, guava, lemon, citrus





Mango, cashew, sapota, amla, lemon, custard apple, drumstick, date palm, guava





Mango, cashew, tamarind, guava, sapota, amla, lemon, jackfruit and coffee





Amla, mango, guava, pomegranate, lemon, beer

Uttar Pradesh




Amla, mango, bel, ber, guava

Madhya Pradesh




Mango, custard apple, guava, cashew,  amla

Jharkhand and Bihar




Mango, guava, jamun, jackfruit and litchi





Mango, cashew and litchi





Mango, amla, tamarind






  • Coverage through TDF by other NGOs: 562 Projects covering over 4.35 lakh families in 26 States/ Union Territories
  • BAIF has been appointed as a Resource Organisationfor implementation of the Wadiprogramme adopted under Orissa Tribal Empowerment and Livelihoods Programmes (OTELP and OTELP Plus) in Koraput, Orissa.
  • State Governments Supporting the Wadi Model: Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa
  • The Wadi concept is continuously evolving. The programme has seen many changes since it was initiated, and offers scope for modification and innovation.


See also:
What is the meaning of `Wadi’?
How is agro-horti-forestry different from agro-forestry or tree-based farming?
What is the rationale for agro-horti-forestry?
Is Wadi suitable only for tribal areas?
How is Wadi different from government programmes such as MREGS?

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