In Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand, in the north of India, our partnering organisations have supplied over 6,000 seedlings in six communities. In Tamil Nadu, in the south, local partners and partnering organisations have ensured that over 75,000 seeds and approximately 100,000 seedlings have been distributed.

In addition to these projects our partners have distributed in the region of Andhra Pradesh 200,000 seeds and approximately 100,000 seedlings. Seed distribution ‘in-country’ is now established. 100,000 trees in total have now been planted.

Background

India is a land of contrast, not least in its climate. Each region can have very different needs depending on the environment and climate. In Tamil Nadu there is an ongoing struggle for fresh water supplies in the face of drought. In contrast to this, the people of northwest India can often face the challenges associated with flooding. The people in the south face water shortages linked to the erosion of the land.

In 2004 a Tsunami hit the region causing widespread destruction, and increasing the day-to-day struggles of people in an already precarious situation.

In recent times there has been a significant rise in the number of farmer suicides. A contributory factor in these suicides may well be the inconsistent weather and commodity prices, the high costs of fertilisers and pesticides and declining harvests. These factors all contribute to a highly stressful situation.

Alongside this problem, the environmental impact of the continual degradation of the land, inefficient farming methods and deforestation for fuel are continued concerns.

The Response

Working with schools, women’s groups and farming communities our partnering organisations are working to overcome the issues linked to drought. In Tamil Nadu the focus has been to plant multi-purpose tree species to facilitate a range of income opportunities whilst also protecting the land from further damage caused by erosion.

The projects were recently expanded to assist in another area which suffers from similar issues caused by prolonged periods of drought: Andhra Pradesh.

In addition to these projects, work has also begun in Uttarakhand, the focus of which has been to increase the productivity of common land. In planting 100,000 trees, including fruit trees and those with nutritional or medicinal benefits, the hope is that food will be produced for people and for cattle and that this will assist in increasing the local farmers income and quality of life.