Social organisation Grow-Trees.com is implementing the ‘Trees for Farmers’ project in Hoshangabad and Harda districts of Madhya Pradesh to empower underserved rural communities
The most inexpensive way to achieve carbon sequestration, recharge ground water, reduce human-animal conflict, address soil erosion and air pollution is to plant more trees. For more than a decade, social organisation Grow-Trees.com has been initiating afforestation projects across India to achieve these very goals and to empower local populations that are dependent on fast depleting natural resources. Their recent ‘Trees for Farmers’ project in Madhya Pradesh is also generating employment opportunities for the local communities apart from increasing food security and improving economic opportunities and ecological diversity.
Says Mr. Bikrant Tiwary, CEO, Grow-Trees.com, ” Madhya Pradesh is blessed with rich and diverse forest resources and biodiversity and about 74% of its population is rural and directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture. Unfortunately, a large section of this population is struggling with hunger, poverty, and farmer debt. More than 8 million tribal people in the state lead a socially and economically fragile existence and battle food insecurity. The aim of ‘Trees for Farmers’ is to create a sustainable ecosystem and increase rural employment.”
An afforestation project that helps farmers to nurture their land and enrich their lives
Plantation of trees on the private lands of farmers can also address the challenges of food security and nutrition and provide timber and non-timber products besides removing carbon dioxide, tackling the climate crisis, and building disaster risk resilience.
Carefully selecting indigenous and farmer-friendly tree species is an important part of the process and in Hoshangabad and Harda districts, teak, bamboo, drumstick, guava, jamun and jackfruit etc have been planted on bundles of privately held agricultural lands and wastelands.
Mr. Tiwary explains, “The objective is to increase biodiversity and tree cover and provide sustainable livelihoods to marginalised communities including women through the plantation of different tree crops. These include fruit and timber species, medicinal plants, forest species, etc., and serve as the raw materials for sustainable enterprises. The project further ensures that farmers don’t rely on only one kind of crop for their incomes , making them less susceptible to vagaries of climate, pests, market prices, and corruption which in turn leads to a better quality of life. Most importantly, it reduces suicides as well as crime rates in these regions.”