Improving Rural Livelihoods through Sustainable Agroforestry in Punjab, India

Punjab, India

The State of Punjab is an agriculture intensive state with a traditional rice-wheat cropping system that has contributed to the food security of the country. Agroforestry has emerged as one of the viable alternatives for diversification from existing rice-wheat rotation. At present, more than 80% of the demand for wood and wood products in the country is met from the agroforestry sector, 6% from natural forest and 12% from import. The carbon finance program will enhance the income of farmers and also help Punjab to move forward towards carbon neutrality.

Background of Project

Agroforestry can supplement farm income by selling the carbon credits in the carbon markets, enabling risk reduction and contributing towards climate resilience. Different tree species are traditionally grown in the various agro-climatic zones of Punjab. The main tree species adopted by the farmers on their agriculture fields as block and boundary plantations are Poplar, Eucalyptus and Dek. Due to the increasing demand for timber and other tree-based products, agroforestry acts as a feasible alternative to fulfill the demands as it can provide both wood and food while simultaneously conserving and rehabilitating ecosystems.

The Project

The project area comprises 500,000+ hectares. The selected 5 districts are from the Kandi Area– Hoshiarpur, Rupnagar, Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar, Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar and Pathankot. At the village level, Self-Help Groups would be formed and trained to manage and monitor project activities. Other components include capacity building of forest personnel through training programs on remote sensing, use of GIS & GPS for real-time monitoring of forest dynamics, preparation of project design document (PDD) and the registration of the program under verified carbon standards (VCS)

The Benefits

The project provides livelihood upliftment for marginalised farmers through generation of additional income from carbon credits. It promotes local financing arrangements for restoration of degraded lands for resource-poor farmers, as well as promotion of farmer-industry partnerships with buy-back arrangements. It also promotes gender-sensitive strategies and improved regulations on cultural reservation. It improves air quality, soil quality, and biodiversity from the afforestation of degraded lands. The project helps improve access to better education on health and safety.