Participatory Intervention Series
Paper 2 MYRADA Krishi Vigyan Kendra
Talamalai, Talavadi 638 461.
Sathyamangalam Taluk,
Erode District
An Innovative Approach to the Lab-to-Land Programme
In 1990-91 The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) approved Rs.150,000/- to provide critical inputs to 150 farming families through MYRADA Talavadi Project under the Lab-to-Land (LLP) Programme. The concept was to provide each of the selected families with inputs worth Rs.1,000/- over a period of two years at the rate of Rs.500/- per family per year.
This could be invested in any farming/livestock related activity involving the use of improved technology and management practices, with extension assistance provided by the implementing Voluntary Agency, in this case, MYRADA.
MYRADA Talavadi Project chose the Bargur area – which had not received any development assistance so far – for this programme. At the same time, the Project staff took a few policy decisions with regard to the manner of implementing the programme :
1. To involve the people themselves in selecting the families to participate in the programme through their Credit Management Groups (CMGs, also known as Self Help Groups [SHGs] or sanghas).
2. To plan and implement the programme in conjunction with the people, which would give them the opportunity to make choices rather than accept a choice imposed by the Project, and also let them manage the fund in a way they deemed appropriate instead of sticking to the ICAR allocation of Rs.1,000/- per family.
3. To see to what extent the programme could be managed as a credit system of loans and recoveries. Thus, the participating families would identify themselves as ‘borrowers’ rather than ‘beneficiaries’; the MYRADA Office would also not come to be regarded as a grant-giving or grant-channelling agency.
MYRADA Extension Staff in Bargur introduced the LLP to the Sanghas in their meetings, giving them the option of submitting a proposal stating their interest in fund utilisation, their expectations, and how they would implement the programme. Their preference of programme was, unanimously, sheep and goat rearing. In consideration of the objective of promoting improved technology MYRADA recommended the purchase of Mecheri breed of sheep and Tellicheri breed of goat.
Between MYRADA and the Sanghas it was decided that the LLP money should go through the Sanghas as loans to the participating families. This would ensure better programme management by the families; the recoveries would also result in increasing the sangha common fund through which more loans to members could be advanced. Thus, a programme intended for 150 families would actually reach out to more.
15 Sanghas chose 150 persons from among their members to be covered under the LLP in September 1990. In 2 of the 15 sanghas migration of members led to the dissolution of the sanghas themselves: a clear case of an avoidable mistake made by MYRADA. The participating families belonging to these sanghas had already purchased sheep under the LLP, but no recoveries could be made. In the remaining 13 sanghas, 11 made modifications in the programme such that a greater number could benefit. This took several forms:
– Deciding that each member would buy only two animals instead of four at the rate of approximately Rs.250/- (the prevailing price then) per animal. Thus, instead of allocating Rs.1,000/- per family, they decided on Rs.500/- per family; the remaining Rs.500/- could then become available to another family.
– Deciding that since the money received as grant from ICAR would actually be treated as a loan from the sangha to the member, the recoveries would be advanced to other members to enable them to make similar sheep and goat purchases.
– Deciding that participating families would have to additionally put in some money of their own to make the animal purchases, thereby stretching the ICAR funds to cover more families.
These modifications were variously applied by the different sanghas. In the first year of the LLP in Bargur 300 sheep and goats were purchased. In each case, the family supplemented the animal cost with his or her own contribution ranging from Rs.10/- to Rs.200/- depending on the quality of the animal desired. Insurance was purchased by the families out of their own resources, by remitting the premium of 4% to the sangha account. The Sangha then filled out one insurance form to cover all its members’ animals, paying the amount to the insurance company in one lump sum.
The table that follows shows the current stat us of the LLP in Bargur. Each Sangha keeps a separate LLP notebook with dated entries recording loan and recovery transactions. This notebook is updated at the time of the weekly CMG meetings.
It can be seen from this compilation of sangha records that 53 families over and above the projected number of 150 have been included under the programme. 93 families have fully cleared their loans. Out of Rs.150,000/- received from ICAR and advanced to people Rs.96,482/- has been recovered into the sangha common funds and is being used to meet the various other credit needs of the members. The majority of outstanding loans are due to the company, but there have been a few other problems as well, such as migration of a few persons, theft of animals from villages that come within the range of the notorious sandalwood smuggler Veerappan, large fines paid out to the Forest Department for grazing the animals in reserved forests, etc. 6 families were unable to repay due to financial and emotional crisis when the male members of their families were imprisoned over the Veerappan issue.
Despite the above mentioned problems on account of which a few of the sanghas have discontinued or reduced their involvement in the LLP, others have continued and expanded the scheme with great success, as the case study of Basaveswara Seva Sangha amply illustrates.

BASAVESWARA SEVA SANGHA: A CASE STUDY OF SUSTAINING THE LLP BEYOND THE STIPULATED IMPLEMENTATION PERIOD : This sangha in Tattakarai village provides an interesting and inspiring example of opportunities afforded through the LLP in the post-programme period, made possible because the sangha members had full freedom to manage their programme their way. This sangha was formed on the motivation of MYRADA in 1988, and has 15 members. When the LLP was discussed with them in 1990 the sangha identified 6 of its members to receive the first year’s funding of Rs.500/- each. Additional funds became available in the second year due to migration of some families from one or two other sanghas. Hence, in the second year not only did the first 6 receive their second installment of Rs.500/- each but it also became possible to advance Rs.500/- each to 8 more members. Only one sangha member decided not to be involved in the programme as his job of doing coolie work for the Forest Department left him with too little time for anything else. All 14 members chose to purchase sheep. Totally, the sangha absorbed Rs.10,000/- towards the LLP. This amount has been fully repaid to the group common fund. Four years later, the members are continuing with the programme using this common fund as follows: Each January the members look at the money available in the common fund and make a decision of how much will be allotted for sheep rearing. They divide the amount by the number of members interested in sheep rearing that year, so each receives the same amount. Those who want to purchase more sheep supplement the loan amount with their own resources; those who wish to buy only one or two animals will use the balance amount to take up other income generating activities of their choice. The sheep are then bought and the members rear them for six months. They sell them at a profit in June/July, when rains and cold weather start and agricultural activities, as well as money for home improvements or investment in other income generating activities. This pattern is being followed each year. These farmers are not interested in building up flocks of sheep as earlier anticipated by MYRADA. Rather, they have worked out the timing just right so that their animal husbandry and innovative management system is of their own creation. The following table shows the income generated over four years:
1990 – 1992
Borrower LLP Amount No. ofSheep Death of Sheep Sales Returns Profit Loan Amount Repaid
Jawaraiyan 1,000 4 – 1,850 850 1,000
Puttathambadi 1,000 4 2 1,000 – 1,000
Gurusiddappa 1,000 4 – 2,000 1,000 1,000
Siddappa 1,000 4 – 1,700 700 1,000
Chinnabodagowda 1,000 4 – 1,800 800 1,000
J.Puttappa 1,000 4 1 1,650 650 1,000
J.Rudrappa 500 2 – 1,000 500 500
T.G.Nagaraja 500 2 1 500 – 500
G.Murugan 500 2 – 1,000 500 500
T.S.Moorthy 500 2 – 1,000 500 500
T.E.Mathiyan 500 2 – 1,000 500 500
T.E.Devaraju 500 2 – 950 450 500
Puttappa 500 2 – 1,000 500 500
Chinnappa 500 2 – 1,000 500 500
TOTAL 10,000 40 4 17,450 7,450 10,000
Borrower LLP Amount No. of Sheep Total Cost Sales Returns Profit
Jawaraiyan 500 4 970 2,020 1,050
Gurusiddappa 500 2 500 850 350
Siddappa 500 2 500 655 155
J.Puttappa 500 3 600 1200 600
J.Rudrappa 500 2 500 850 350
G.Murugan 500 2 500 850 350
T.E.Mathiyan 500 2 500 860 360
T.E.Devaraju 500 2 500 900 400
Puttappa 500 2 500 950 450
TOTAL 4,500 21 5,070 9,135 4,065


Borrower LLP Amount No. of Sheep Total Cost Sales Returns Profit
Jawaraiyan 1,000 2 620 1,200 580
Puttathambadi 1,000 3 900 2,070 1,170
Siddappa 1,000 4 1,170 2,050 880
Chinnabodagowda 1,000 3 950 1,500 550
J.Puttappa 1,000 3 770 1,370 600
J.Rudrappa 1,000 3 900 2,200 1,300
G.Murugan 1,000 3 800 1,375 575
T.S.Moorthy 1,000 2 600 1,150 550
T.E.Mathiyan 1,000 2 600 1,100 500
Puttappa 1,000 4 1,050 2,050 1,000
TOTAL 10,000 29 8,360 16,065 7,705
Borrower LLP Amount No. of Sheep Total Cost Sales Returns Profit

Jawaraiyan 700 2 650 Not Yet –
Puttathambadi 700 3 1,100 Not Yet –
Gurusiddappa 700 3 1,650 Not Yet –
Siddappa 700 3 1,050 Not Yet –
Chinnabodagowda 700 2 650 Not Yet –
J.Puttappa 700 2 860 Not Yet –
J.Rudrappa 700 2 650 Not Yet –
G.Murugan 700 2 600 Not Yet –
T.E.Mathiyan 700 1 350 Not Yet –
T.E.Devaraju 700 2 600 Not Yet –
Puttappa 700 3 900 Not Yet –
Chinnappa 700 2 700 Not Yet –
TOTAL 8,400 27 9,760
The planning and implementation of the LLP as an integrated programme of loans and recoveries rather than grants to individuals has provided sangha members with more permanent means to improve their economic status through building up a credit fund that they can access with ease. Increased funds revolving through the groups’ accounts have made it possible for them to free themselves of moneylenders and take up many activities previously thought to be beyond their reach. Loan purposes have ranged from agriculture, credit, tools for farming, and livestock purchase to carpet weaving, iron boxes for washerwomen, tamarind processing, and investment in other small trades. In MYRADA’s view, this is the real benefit of the programme: sustainable development made possible through a clear organsational focus on promoting participatory processes and local level institutional building.
May 1995 This paper is based on a case study done by Ms.Jenifer Blaxall, a student on summer placement with MYRADA.