September 5, 2020
Coimbatore : Government has taken initiatives to address challenges of farmers by taking up the water and fodder augmentation.programme in 28 forests in 28 states to reduce man-animal conflict that destroys several hundred hectares of harvest-ready crops annually across the country, Union Minister for Forest and Environment, Prakash Javedkar has said.
“We have taken up the world’s largest target of converting and restoring 26nmillion hectares of degraded land. We want to incentivize people in
every possible way. Those schemes are being worked out,” Javadekar said during an online
conversation with Isha Foundation Founder, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev on Thursday.
“Yes, very good suggestion Sadhguru ji, and we will definitely be declaring it in very clear terms. Today, on your forum we are making this very clear that anything a farmer grows on their own farm, it will belong to him.” Sandalwood farming has gone because you cannot cut the sandalwood tree, so we are removing these restrictions, Javadekar said.
He was responding to Sadhgurus’ suggestion for a clear statement from he Centre that whatever you grow in your land, it belongs to you” would go a long say in allaying farmer fears of growing high-value trees on their farmlands, as there was reluctance of some farmers in adoptingntree-based farming, a release said.
“Just by doing Cauvery Calling project, that is 2.42 billion trees in 83,000 sq km, 5.2 million farmers will benefit, 9 to 12 trillion litres of water will be sequestered and 200 to 300 million tonnes of CO2 will be sequestered,” Sadhguru said.
The Cauvery Calling project alone would contribute 8 to 12 per cent of the nation’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under
the 2030 goals of the Paris Agreement on carbon sequestration, he pointed out.
The hour-long conversation covered a range of topics including the recently announced Nutrition Month by the Prime Minister; accessing global funding for states to sustain incentivizing tree-based farming; policy regulations for sand mining and timber harvest and sale; self-sufficiency in timber to reduce imports and ways to achieve the nation’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.
Acknowledging the potential, Javadekar stated, “The Prime Minister himself is very much convinced that agroforestry is the way forward,” and spoke about its potential to generate jobs and wealth for farmers.
Referring to India’s timber imports which cost the exchequer Rs.63,000 crore, the Minister said, “(By importing) to this tune, we
are exporting jobs. Instead, let us do the required commercial timber here, we will create jobs here. Therefore, I believe that agroforestry and afforestation are the way forward.”