In this guest post, the President and Co-Founder of the Livelihoods Venture Bernard Giraud describes how restoring forests with the Adivasi tribes in India has helped tackle issues from poverty to poor nutrition.
The Adivasi people, living in the Araku Valley in Eastern India, are considered some of the most disadvantaged in the country. Once a community that lived off the forests, the erosion and degradation of the land during the British settlements left them in poverty and with few land rights. The marginalized area – with an altitude of 1200m and average annual rainfall of 1300mm – was characterized by low women’s literacy rates, high infant and maternal mortality, and low agricultural productivity. Continue reading
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.