NABARD has been implementing various watershed development programmes, through its Watershed Development Fund (WDF) and Indo-German Watershed Development Programme (IGWDP) to protect rain fed regions from further degradation and to improve natural resource based livelihood within watersheds. While participatory development approaches have been successful in most watershed programmes in rain fed areas, soils in these areas remain neglected and mismanaged, both as private property and as common property resource.

One of the strategies suggested to tide over the distressed situation experienced by the farmers is to increase the production and productivity of crops through planning and implementation of scientific watershed management projects. With this end in view, during 2008-2014, “NABARD Holistic Watershed Development Programme (NHWDP)’’ was implemented in three distressed districts viz, Kasaragod, Wayanad and Palghat. The programme, aided under NABARD’s Watershed Development Fund (WDF), was implemented in two distinct phases viz. Capacity Building Phase (CBP) and Full Implementation Phase (FIP). 

Though NHWDP has made visible impact in addressing the problems experienced by the vulnerable sections of the society, the impending threat due to the adverse impact of climate change can possibly undo the efforts already made under it. Therefore, it has become imperative to assess impacts of and vulnerability to climate change in the developed watersheds, especially on soil health and productivity. In this backdrop, NABARD in collaboration with KfW, developed a programme ‘’KfW Soil Project (Integration of Watershed Development for Rehabilitation of Degraded Soils)’’ to be implemented in select watersheds covered under NHWDP. 

Based on the criteria laid down in the guidelines issued by NABARD, 43 watersheds, out of the 135 covered under NHWDP, were selected by the Project Sanctioning and Steering Committee (PSSC), for implementation of the KfW Soil Project (Phase II) in Kerala. Mattilayam and Porlom watersheds in Wayanad district are also included in the list and Wayanad Social Service Society was selected as Program Facilitating Agency (PFA). Investments in improvement, stabilization, and conservation of natural resources, mainly soils, is made to minimize the risk of climate change and to increase the productivity and income of communities living in watersheds is the objective of the KfW soil project.