Efforts to increase farmers’ income, and the green cover in Tamil Nadu to 33%

In an effort to increase green cover and to meet the growing demand for timber, the forest department proposes to raise two lakh seedlings for the `Trees outside the forest’ project in association with farmers in Coimbatore and the Nilgiris districts according to The Hindu. The State Conservator of Forests P.C. Tyagi said the State Government has launched a plan to motivate and help farmers to grow trees in the countryside, especially along the reserve forests. This will help enhance the green cover in the State to the desired 33 per cent. It would also enable an alternate means of earnings for farmers, besides meeting the growing demand for timber from the construction industry. Promoting the scheme outside the reserved forest areas is important as these are now very limited. At present, timber for construction is being sourced from the canal bank plantations in Tanjore and Kerala besides South East Asian countries.

The department will help famers identify the species that are in demand such as teak, Antho Cephalus Kadamba, Malai Vembu, casuarinas and bamboo, then provide tall seedlings and help the farmers in planting them. The farmers would have to deposit 10 per cent of the cost involved which would be returned to them later. The department would enter into a memorandum of understanding with the farmers for nurturing and maintaining the seedlings. The farmers could fell these fast growing species of trees for meeting the demand and could take the entire sale proceeds.

Sounds like a win-win-win solution to the diminishing green cover, increasing farmers’ income and meeting the growing demand for timber from the construction industry. Done well, this could greatly add to the overall well being of the State.

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