Rayagada : Aditya Birla Group’s Utkal Alumina International Ltd (UAIL) in collaboration with NABARD, has implemented Project Wadi at Rayagada. This aims at doubling the farmer’s income. It focuses on “improving the quality of life of rural tribal households through enhancing their income in a sustainable manner in three to six years. Agro-Horti Plantation and other income generating activities are in full swing. Launched in 2019Project Wadi is jointly funded by Utkal Alumina Jana Seva Trust (UAJST),NABARD and UAIL.
It is a remarkable project resulting in bettering the lives of the residents. For instance, Ugri Majhi’s once-barren land is now flourishing as a thriving fruit orchard. Before Project Wadi, Mr. Majhi’s land was barren, yielding minimal returns from sporadic cultivation attempts. With Project Wadi’s intervention, he received comprehensive support for every aspect of his orchard’s development, including land demarcation, the installation of a solar-based irrigation system, crop cultivation, and financial literacy training.
The solar-based irrigation system has made a difference. It has enabled Majhi to cultivate high-value crops year-round. Transitioning from traditional farming methods, he began growing off-season produce such as bananas, papayas, and sunflowers. It has increased his monthly income manifold from Rs. 1,000-2,000 to over Rs. 10,000.
Reflecting on his journey, Majhi acknowledged the role played by Utkal Alumina towards better farm productivity.
Commenting on the initiative, Mr. Mazhar Beig, Unit Head & President of Utkal Alumina & Aditya Refinery, said, “Investing in sustainable development initiatives like Project Wadi is not just about transforming landscapes; it’s about transforming lives. Majhi’s journey demonstrates the power of collaborative efforts and their positive impact on individuals and communities.”
Till date the project with 4 years of implementation has achieved many milestones that have benefited farmers. It has formed and strengthened 17 Udyan Vikash Samiti (UVS) engaged in monitoring, supervision of orchards and collective marketing of agri-produce. As many as 500 tribal farmers are being trained on Waste Land development, Orchard Development, Livestock development, institution building and women empowerment. Over 424 acres of waste lands have been converted into fruit orchards (grafted mango and cashew) with a survival rate of 85% in 17 villages”.
“This project has also promoted goat rearing by 76 landless families and the scale of production has reached to 620 goats. A total of 130 acres of non-irrigated land has been converted to irrigated land through solar river lift and diversion-based irrigation systems. More than 25,948 fruit trees and 19,801 forest trees have been transplanted, generating carbon credits to offset CO₂ emissions. It is also addressing the nutritional security of the farmer families through promotion of vegetable cultivation”, added Mr Beig.
“Majhi’s remarkable journey is inspirational, showcasing the profound impact that collaborative efforts between communities and corporations can have on grassroots development. His success story exemplifies the transformative potential of synergy, where shared visions of empowerment and sustainability create tangible, lasting change” added, Bhagaban Majhi, Sarpanch, Naktiguda Gram Panchayat.

In Odisha, the Aditya Birla Group impacts over 5 lakh people across 128 villages, positively influencing more than 2 lakh lives. Led by Mrs. Rajashree Birla, the Group conducts its CSR activities through the Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development. The Group’s vision aims to foster social and economic development in the communities they serve, particularly benefiting the underprivileged. Aligned with UNSDG goals, their CSR initiatives strive to eradicate poverty, alleviate hunger, and enhance the country’s human development index.