An Initiative of Government of Bihar for Poverty Alleviation

Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society
State Rural Livelihoods Mission, Bihar


The objective of the livelihood initiative is to enhance sectoral size and productivity growth in key livelihood sectors for employment generation of the poor. This will be achieved by making investments in technical assistance, service provision and setting up of market support mechanisms


Selection of Livelihood Activities

As part of the project preparation process a study of the livelihood patterns and potential in the six chosen districts was commissioned to answer the following questions key to the design of the project. These were as follows:

  1. To identify which are the key livelihood sectors in the six districts in which the poor can participate and benefit,
  1. To understand what are the constraints, opportunities, value chains for the selected livelihood sectors,
  1. To determine what are the key interventions that are needed to be made by the project within these sectors to enable the poor to benefit.

The study has shown that over 80% of the rural poor depend on a basket of livelihoods that revolve around agriculture labour and subsistence animal husbandry. Dependence on agriculture is primarily based on share cropping or agricultural labour in paddy cultivation. Consequently, the lessons from the pilot projects have shown that credit for food security in lean months is a critical need of the rural poor which leads to spiraling indebtedness to a variety of moneylenders.

Keeping these learnings in view the project proposes to universalize food security within the project. To supplement food security indirectly it is proposed to raise the productivity of paddy, the universal food crop grown in every village of Bihar, through a system for rice intensification and participatory varietals selection and promotion programme. The second most common livelihood activity identified by the study is cattle rearing. For cattle rearing and dairying to be an income generating activity the study has identified integration of mobilized SHG and VO members to the successful institutional model identified by the study of the dairy cooperative (COMPFED) federation working in all the selected districts.

The study has identified a large number of specific farm and non-farm based livelihood activities being undertaken in each of the six districts and provided the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities in each sub-sector. A majority of the non-farm sector activities occur in smaller geographical clusters with specific caste based community groups employed in them. Based on the wider list provide by the study the following activities have been chosen for adoption in the project districts using the criteria of a)number of poor communities employed in the sector b) existence of service provider organizations with domain experience willing to partner the project c) value chain linkages feasible within the state.

Based partially on the study and partially on the learnings from the pilots the following sectors have been identified for intervention in the project.

Activities/Services District
Rice Intensification All selected districts
Dairy All selected districts
Participatory varietals selection and promotion programme All selected districts
Honey Muzaffarpur
Makhana Madhubani, Purnia
Fishery Madhubani, Purnia
Poultry Gaya
Banana Purnia
Incense Stick Gaya
Madhubani Painting Madhubani
Textile Nalanda, Purnia, Muzaffarpur, Madhubani