in a bid to increase forest cover and provide employment to landless farmers, the Indian Farm Forestry Development Co-operative ( iffdc ), has put forward a proposal to the Global Environment Facility for undertaking co-operative farming for afforestation. Under the project, thousands of hectares of wasteland given to co-operative societies at the village level will be brought under forest cover. In return, the farmers will be given regular wages and will also share in the forest profits.
Eight states are to be covered under the afforestation scheme. Despite the higher price of farming in wastelands than in growing cash crops, iffdc officials say that the investment will touch Rs 15,000. The farmers will also have management rights and will, thus having a say in the functioning of the co-operatives.
The scheme will also encourage small group savings by farmers. A nursery will be set up to supply quality seeds. iffdc has set up similar afforestation schemes with the India Canada Environment Facility. Initially wastelands in 11 states are to be covered in the scheme.