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JK Papermill – Afforestation project, India

‘Improving Rural Livelihoods through Carbon Sequestration by Adopting Environment Friendly Technology Based Agroforestry Practices’
Status: Registered
Ref #: 4531
Reforestation or afforestation of land currently under agricultural use – AR-AM0004 ver. 3

Land grabbing in India takes many forms including the expansion of monoculture plantations for carbon sequestration. Quite often it is private companies that find farmers to grow eucalyptus trees, purportedly as raw materials for paper, by promising them a higher income then what they previously made. When farmers get involved with personal financial liabilities, the question of who bears the financial risk arises especially in cases where revenues from carbon credits do not materialise. Hoping it could be a ticket out of poverty, many farmers sign on, but the results can have disastrous consequences.

A call for public input on the draft manual of “Afforestation and Reforestation Projects under the Clean Development Mechanism”. See input public here!

More to WATCH Forestry/Land-useLearn more…

Because of the nature of these plantations, farmers are left with nutrient-depleted soil and even scarcer water resources that make growing food difficult. In an effort to turn things around, farmers borrow more money and even get into bankruptcy. Due to all of this, the process is essentially a land grab.

Our campaign addresses the impacts that Afforestation and Reforestation (A/R) projects can have on local farmers in particular with JK Papermill’s eucalyptus plantation. As farmers’ accounts show, there is nothing which is either clean or developmental about it, whether it’s to make paper or sequester carbon, and it hardly contributes to their economic wellbeing. The situation they find themselves in is falling into a painful monoculture trap with unceasing mental violence that will take them a long time to forget. A closer look at this project and the underlying rules revealed that participating companies can easily shift the financial risk of a project to participating local communities and farmers. If the project does not generate tradable carbon credits, the financial risk lies solely on the farmers. Even if carbon credits materialise, the revenue would not stretch to cover the costs they have incurred. This is a serious issue regarding the responsibility of participating entities that put the livelihoods of marginal farmers at risk because of a risky CDM forestry project.

According to the PDD:

According to the project design document: the farmers equity contribution is in the form of land and labour supplies in the establishment of tree crops. The resource poor farmers are also contributing their savings as investment in the plantation activity. Accordingly, the beneficiary farmers themselves out of their savings or through loans meet the plantation establishment cost. The proposed A/R CDM project activity will mobilize resource-poor farmers to raise tree plantations on farmlands. It proposes to link resource poor farmers and end users of wood products in order to optimise the land use and to facilitate the co-ordination of wood producers, agronomists, financial institutions and non-governmental organizations to improve the livelihood opportunities of rural households. The project activity is implemented on the degraded farmlands or lands used for rain fed subsistence agriculture. The project is implemented in the two states of India: Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. The project area includes small landholders spread over a total of six districts: Rayagada, Koraput and Kalahandi districts in Orissa and the districts of Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam, and Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh. These districts have a pre-dominance of indigenous population, notified as Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes in India, with the majority of them being poor.

Identified shortcomings

• Local stakeholder consultation was inconclusive. Villagers directly impacted by the project have not been invited to the local stakeholder consultation.
• The project has not yet received any carbon revenue. However, the problem is that the financial risk of the success of this project has been shifted to the farmers involved who remain unable to repay their loans.
• Water intensive forest plantations utilise much of the scarce local groundwater needed for food production.
• Monoculture plantations renders the soil nutrient deficient, reducing crop potential. Read more

What we are calling for:

• Responsible behavior from the banks and project participants involved to ensure that the livelihoods of local farmers involved in this project.
• No associated financial risk for CDM activities should ever be placed on vulnerable local communities.
• Encouragement for alternative financial cooperatives among small scale farmers.

To read more about this project:

Read project report

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