Revive Field Forests for healthy soil, pest control and economic sustainability

VOICE Trust is entering into 35th year of agricultural related activities

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Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.

Initiative's representative name

JANET PREETHI

Initiative's representative date of birth

19 January 1989

Initiative's representative gender

  • Woman

Headquarters location: country

  • India

Headquarters location: city

Tiruchirappalli, State of Tamil Nadu, India

Where are you making a difference?

Tiruchirappalli, State of Tamil Nadu, India

Website or social media url(s)

www.voicetrust.in

Date Started

July/1985

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €1k - €10k

Organization Type

  • Nonprofit/NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

On 11 March 2012, VOICE Team was asked by M.R. Palayam Forest Extension Division that 3,00,000 trees are ready for free distribution to farmers but no farmer is willing to take them. Mrs. A Jecintha-Managing Trustee and her colleagues Mrs. R. Kavitha and Mrs. R. Victoria met the Forest Department officials. We planned for village meetings. Mr. A. Gregory-Project Director of VOICE Trust sang the following song in Tamil and explained the reason why a farm field was called Field Forest. "Fertile Lands are there in this country Work in your Field Forest for betterments" VOICE Team explained to people that Field was called Field Forest because there was the main crop, there were many intercrops and there were trees on the forests.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

But, small farm holders are reluctant that to grow trees for increasing biodiversity. We have to design a new system for assisting the small farmers. It will be better to avoid big shade trees and to go in for straight growing trees. There is also another problem of start-up supports for growing of trees in the small farms. For, the resource poor farming families find it difficult to go in for better water supply system, for recycling of wastes for reusing as manures &for getting better return

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

VOICE Trust wants to involve in this Changemakers Collaboration with the following activities in 35 Village Panchayats and 1 at the Head Quarters to Trichy i). Village level orientation meetings to inform small farmers that they need not sell their farm fields but to introduce agroforestry systems for enhancing biodiversity, improving soil fertility controlling pests and achieving higher economic sustainability ii). Selection of 30 small farmers per village panchayats so that they can be trained together and encouraged to form an association for registering with Government for getting many follow-up schemes and also for availing of credit facilities from the banks including NABARD(National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) which insists upon the registration of farmers groups. iii) Discussions on the existing water resources and designing of better water conservation systems so that they can water the trees grown along the fences of small farms iv) Selection of tree species that grow straight and also that can be sold after 7 years. Biodiversity considerations will weight heavier here because mono cropping system will not give desired results

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

We cannot call it as innovation. But, we are using the successful experiments which VOICE Trust facilitated with farming communities under Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Conservation and Greening Project with Forest Department from 2012 to 2019. During these 7 years, a special category of trees were given to the big farmers. They had space and water facilities to grow them. Government is now giving cutting value for trees like Teak which has lot of timber value in marker especially for carpentry works. For this Changemakers collaboration, VOICE Trust rests to go in for different species of trees which grow straight and also which need lesser water. Also, more of intercrops will be encouraged to maintain better pest-predator balance.

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

From 1996, VOICE Trust is working with Department of Agriculture of Tamilnadu. There is one Assistance Director of Agriculture for Manachanallur Block. VOICE Team is associated with them from 1995. From 1996, VOICE Trust is associated with Central Integrated Pest Management(CIPMC) of Government of India. The former Director Mr. N. Krishnamoorthy is extending good collaboration. VOICE Trust is approved by the Organic Certification Department of Government from 2013. They have asked VOICE Trust to introduce 500 Organic Farmers for group certification. We will work for this under Changemakers Collaboration. VOICE Trust is a member of Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture from 1996, of AME(Agriculture, Man , Ecology) from 1997 and of IVI(Iyarkai Velaan Inaiyam - A Forum for Eco Farming) from 2000. We are associated with 150 IVI Group in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. VOICE Trust is also working with Forest Department to enhance ecological biodiversity, recycling wastes to manure

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

Though, VOICE Trust involved in tree growing projects from 2012 to 2019 with 1400 big farm holders still, the agro forestry initiatives have changed farm fields into field forests. Forest Department has scaled the success to 84% while 16% have ended up in loss category due to mortality of tree seedlings. Business impacts relate to sale of grown up trees for timber value. The Casuarina tree growers have got INR 16000/- for 200 grown-up trees on the fence of an acre. They have another 400 tress which they could sell in the next 2 years. Thus, their income is enhanced to threefolds in comparison to grains, pulses, millets Community wise, these 1400 big farmers belong to all social groups because in each village there are different caste group. VOICE Trust has always stood for cimmunal harmony among the majority of the population following Hindu religion and the 12% minorities of Muslims(8%) and the Christians(4%) The integrated approaches for strengthening agriculture need to be done.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

VOICE Trust will take up the following growth strategies under Changemakers i) 30 small farm holders per village panchayat will become active participants of the Changemakers project. Total number of small farmers will be 1080 in 35 Village Panchayats and 1 in Manachanallur Head Quarters. ii) Minimum 1 acre and maximum 2.5 acres(1 hectare) will be the target area for each of 1080 small farmers. They will be franchises with Forest Department under the Tree Growing Project. Forest Department will give license for them to grow the trees. Accreditation will be given by Agriculture Department . VOICE Trust will give 1 day orientation program which will be given in 3 batches with 180 small farmers per batch.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

Farmers are linked to all in society because they give good food, they protect the environment and they provide direct as well as indirect employment for economic sustainability both for themselves and for others in society. Ethical Marketing with fair trade practices will improve linkages between the producers and the consumers. VOICE Trust will help them with registration of Direct Marketing centers so that better understanding prevails. Recycling of wastes for reusing as manures and as pest repellents can have mutual benefits for the farmers and for others in society. Shared vision among all sections of people is needed for preserving biodiversity, protecting environment.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Following are the broader financial needs. The same can be discussed and decided from i) Orientation Meetings(INR 350/- each * 1080 small farmers) ii) Trainings in Organic Manure, Bio Pest Repellents and Agroforestry (INR 1400/- each * 1080 small farmers) iii) Start-up Supports for 1080 small farmers(INR 14000/- each * 1080 small farmers). This amount will be transferred to the bank accounts of each of the 1080 small farmers. iv) Follow-up visits to each of the 1080 small farmers will be at INR 1750/- per farmer v) Administrative expenses can be at INR 3500/- per year small farmer Special Note: VOICE Trust will accept the decision taken for Changemakers Collaboration and will accordingly organize the project.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Mrs. A. Jecintha - a social worker from 1978 will be the Team Leader. Mrs. R. Kavitha, an expert in organic farming from 1995 Mrs. R. Victoria, a women Empowerment Facilitator from 1998 Mrs. G. Janet Preethi, the Administrator from 2016 will be the core Team Members There are 6 more Team Members including a women who is a fresh agriculture graduate, 2 more women staff, 2 men staff and a Driver for a 4 wheeler vehicle will be part of the team.

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Search engine

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