The Indian Farm Forestry Development Cooperative (IFFDC) was established in 1993 to scale up eco-restoration and wastelands development efforts, predominantly afforestation, in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The initial activity was launched further back in 1986 by the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO).
The mission of the cooperative is “to enhance the socio-economic status of the people through collective action by sustainable natural resources management.”
Through wasteland development, the organisation helps to generate employment for the local community, and provides the necessary financial, technical and extension services to enhance their activities.
The emphasis of the project is on the collective action of the community. Through organizing Primary Farm Forestry Cooperatives, the scheme promotes and nurtures community based action for sustainable livelihoods of the landless, small and marginal farmers, tribal communities, and women, who make up over 90% of the population.
Through the programme, forest cover has been improved in more than 500 villages and degraded lands have also been restored:
- 27,000 ha of wasteland, comprising sodic, rocky, waterlogged, ravine and nutrient-poor soils, has been converted into green, multipurpose forests.
- An inventory of 9.42 million trees is being managed by 146 Primary Farm Forestry Cooperative Societies.
- It is estimated that the forests that have been developed through the programme are having net carbon sequestration of 14.27 tonnes per ha/year. The total net carbon gained after afforestation by these forests is 1.76 million tonnes.
The scheme is also focusing on 15 watershed development projects, using soil-water conservation measures such as staggered contour trenches, grass sowing and sunken pits.