Tribal women of Odisha are some of the most resilient I have ever met!
“Rice has been cultivated in the East Indian state of Odisha since ancient times, its fertile land and running rivers supporting paddy cultivation as the mainstay of its people. Odisha is similar to the Latin word for rice (Oryza) and some believe the name of the State derives from the crop known as Oryza Sativa, also known as Asian rice.
“Koraput is a district of Odisha known for its abundance of paddy fields as well as many varieties of millets, yam, and tuber crops, which are gradually vanishing due to the introduction of cash crops and genetically modified (GM) seeds, and the increasing impact of climate change.
“In Odisha, 70 per cent of the population is dependent on agriculture. Although endowed with rich natural resources, 66.2 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line, earning just 28,400 Rupees per capita a year, the fourth lowest income of the 17 major Indian states according to the Economic Report Survey 2014-2015.
“In partnership with the NGO THREAD and the women’s federation Orissa Nari Samaj, and funded by the Scottish Government, we have been supporting tribal communities from the Koraput District to strengthen their agro-ecological production, whilst attempting to address the deeper structural changes needed to tackle the root causes of poverty and climate change.”
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Photographer: May East