Producer Collectives around agriculture/ horticulture and non-timber forest products.
About the Implementing organization
Name: Centre for Youth and Social Development (CYSD)
Year of establishment: 1982
Type of organization: Legally recognized non-profit status
This action is innovative in the sense that it focuses exclusively on women producers/ collectors unlike mixed groups or male groups. The second point is it includes tribals who are the most vulnerable and marginalised groups.
The third point why we think that this initiative is innovative that it includes a mix of forest/agriculture and horticulture products because of which the households are able to get incremental income round the year.
The fourth uniqueness in the said solution is that the women producers/ collectors not only produce/ gather the products for selling but also conserve and revitalise the land, water and forest on which they depend for their livelihoods through adoption of organic farm practices, rainwater harvesting techniques, land development, sustainable harvesting practices, forest protection and regeneration. They not only do this themselves but also influence other community members in their village to go for it. They are also linked to energy sources such as LPG to reduce their dependence on the forest for fuelwood. The improved farming practices also reduce the drudgery of women and improve their nutritional status as well as their family. Their access to mainstream development programs for input and technical support builds sustainability into the program.
Forests / Mountains / Rivers / Grasslands
Type of Action
Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Mainstreaming into sectors / Access and benefit sharing / Pollution prevention, clean up / Awareness and education / Advocacy for land & water rights
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Disaster risk reduction / Health / Renewable energy / Climate action
Since the Producer Collectives around agriculture/ horticulture and non-timber forest products not only take up organised production/ aggregation, value addition and marketing of products but also take initiatives to conserve and recharge these resources, a lot of environmental impacts have been observed. Towards improving the quality of forest and the uplands/ cultivable wastelands, they take up forest protection, regeneration and agroforestry. A total of 2760 hectares of forestland has been brought under protection with regeneration activities being taken up in 447 hectares (plantation of forest species in 254 hectares, seed dibbling in 168 hectares and hill grass plantation in 25 hectares. Agroforestry has been taken up in 334 hectares. As a result of these activities, it has been calculated that 4383 Tonnes of CO2 (Forest Protection- 542, Afforestation/Reforestation- 669, Agroforestry- 3172) has been sequestered. There is conservation of NTFPs due to sustainable harvesting practices.
Sustainable Development Impacts
There is an incremental income of 30-45% of their base income due to the collective marketing initiatives by the 4000 tribal women producers organised into 261 women producer groups, 48 cluster level federation and 5 block level federation. There are many case stories of women producers who used this incremental income to repay the loan of money-lender, some of them have bought land, some of them have bought livestock including cow, bullock, poultry, goats, some of them have re-invested in agriculture, a few have them have constructed their house, sent their children to school etc. In addition to these, there has been a marked change in their confidence and awareness level, communication and negotiation skills, taking informed decisions with respect to market, price, accessing mainstream programmes and making the governance system accountable. There is also a noticeable change in the practice of people in terms of scientifically dealing with value addition and marketing of products.
Forests form a part of the culture and natural way of life of tribal communities residing within and surrounding forest. NTFPs are crucial in meeting local communities’ subsistence needs, providing a safety net in times of need and contributing to seasonal income. Nearly 500 million people living in and around forests in India rely on NTFPs as a critical component for their sustenance. In addition to subsistence and income-generating potential, NTFPs also provides food security to the large low-income population. Thus the initiative can easily be scaled up in other parts of the country to cover the large population of forest fringe dwellers for strengthening the forest and forest-based livelihoods, providing them with alternative livelihoods options including agriculture and horticulture and promoting sustainable harvesting practices. In the current initiative, it has already expanded to include other households in the same village due to the ripple effect.
Neighboring villages of Somdal cultivate marijuana on the hillock after clearing the forest. The indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and weedicides has polluted the soil and surrounding area as much as that the stream flowing from and through the hillock has been contaminated and the water has been made unfit for drinking. As such neighboring villages namely Phalee and L Phungdhar are depending on the water source from Chonnir forest and taking permission from Somdal village. Somdal village is talking to these neighboring villages to plan themselves as they cannot share the water forever. Neighboring villages have also started to feel the impact of forest depletion and unsustainable land use practices. These villages can develop community-based rules and regulation for the management of their degraded forest and plan to restore the health of the forest as has been done by Somdal. These villages have the same landscape, land use pattern and practices and culture.
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