RAJSHAHI: Significant number of small and marginal farmers attained economic emancipation through the participatory social afforestation programme.
The Department of Social Forestry (DSF) has been executing 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 plants.
Sources said the profitable afforestation activities encouraged many people towards planting adequate saplings of wood, medicinal and fruit- bearing plants at homesteads, roadsides, office premises, embankments, forest areas, religious institutions' premises and other places.
Over 7,391 beneficiaries have, so far, received over Tk 153.7 million as their share from the created forests. In the current year, a beneficiary of Dhamuirhat upazila of Naogaon district received around Tk 1.0 million.
Besides, around 1.7 million saplings were distributed through the members of parliament of the region under the climate change trust fund.
Divisional Forest Officer Ajit Kumar Rudra told BSS that people of the respective areas were given responsibilities to look after the planted saplings who receive 55 per cent share of the sale proceeds after 10 years of plantation while the rest 45 per cent are distributed among other organizations and individuals concerned.
He said the department distributed around 14 lakh saplings of wood, fruit- bearing and herbal trees among various government institutions and private organizations and individuals during the last fiscal.
In addition to creating strip gardens on 1,468-kilometer lands and char garden on 220-kilometer, 55,000 saplings were planted on various campus and premises of educational institutions during the last three years of the social forestry project.
Homestead garden on 53-kilometer and gullies garden on 109-kilometer through planting 0.42 million saplings were created besides plantation of 87,625 mango saplings on 400- kilometer lands.
Khoyer garden on 112-kilometer land and lakhha garden on 57-kilomete land were created.
Many of the newly created gardens on various vacant places like river embankment, railway land, char area and roadside land are now eye-catching.
Successful implementation of the social forestry programme always supplements the government's poverty reduction effort besides facing the adverse impact of climate change in the drought-prone area, experts said.Asfar