Participatory afforestation brings boon for grassroots people

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RAJSHAHI, Sept 19, 2017 (BSS) – The participatory social afforestation programme has improved living and livelihood conditions of significant number of small and marginal farmers by increasing their income in the region.

The Department of Social Forestry (DSF) has been implementing various lucrative programmes in all 31 upazilas of Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj, Natore and Naogaon districts to encourage the rural people in planting saplings and nursing of the different tree plants.

Divisional Forest Officer Sazzad Hossain today said the profitable afforestation activities encouraged many people towards planting saplings of wood, medicinal and fruit-bearing trees at homesteads, roadsides, office premises, embankments, forest areas, religious institutions’ premises and other places.

The forest division has already created steep forest on 6,540 kilometers and block forest on 2,434.34 hectares of land involving 35,468 people including 10,834 women as beneficiaries.

In last 2016-17 financial year, the division has developed steep forest on 587 kilometers and char garden on 50 hectares of land. There is also government-owned forest on 7,147.64 acres of land here.

Many of the newly created gardens on various fallow land like river embankment, railway ground, char area and roadside land have taken a greenery look.

More than 3.10 crore cubic feet woodlot including around 28.72 lakh cubic feet fuel wood worth around Taka 55.16 crore were sold from the 733 hectares of block and 1,672 kilometers of steep forest, he said, adding it helped depositing revenue worth around Taka 16.16 crore to the government exchequer.

Over 10,552 beneficiaries have, so far, received over Taka 27.54 crore as their share from the created forests.

In last 2015, two beneficiaries Isahaque Ali and Hamida Begum of Dhamuirhat upazila of Naogaon district received around Taka 6.93 lakh and Tk 6.88 lakh respectively as profit share.

Sazzad Hossain said people of the respective areas were given responsibilities to look after the planted saplings and they get 55 per cent share of the sale proceeds after 10 years of plantation while 20 per cent and five percent are distributed among land owners and local government institution concerned respectively.

Successful implementation of the social forestry programme always supplements the government’s poverty reduction effort besides addressing the adverse impact of climate change in the drought-prone area, experts said.

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