Setting up local community based distributed nurseries and supporting existing nurseries for restoring Soliga agro-ecosystems
Siddappa Setty R.
The project aims to promote environmental conservation in the Western Ghats along with supporting the sustainable needs of the communities living in the region. We are focusing on conservation and afforestation action in the Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple Tiger Reserve (BRT) region of the Western Ghats, working along with the indigenous Soliga community. Our work currently focuses on the local priority linked to food security and income diversification along with the need to improve the quality of the green cover at BRT.
The goal is to increase and improve the green cover by supporting and creating decentralised local nurseries. We are working with the existing nurseries run by local community members and supporting additional locally run decentralised nurseries. Grafting of fruit trees are being established to potentially enable indigenous fruit trees with better yield, quality and sturdiness. The project will buy the fruit tree saplings from the local nurseries and distribute them to the local Soliga farmers based on their commitment and capacity to grow these trees on their coffee farms. We have established a grass nursery for afforestation project aiming at replacing the invasive Lantana, which is degrading the forest lands.
The project is anticipated to directly benefit 1200 to 1600 beneficiaries. Currently, we are able to reach out to 300 farmers and support five decentralised nurseries. On June 5, World Environment Day, we were able to distribute around 1000 grafted high-quality seedlings of butter fruits and Jamoon from the agriculture university to the farmers. Based on the requirements expressed by the community, we are encouraging decentralised nurseries to produce the following local fruit-yielding trees: Jamoon (Jambu Nerale), Guava (White & Red), Lemon, Citrus medica (Kasthuri Erale), Orange (Kittale), Custard Apple (Sitaphala), Sweet lime (Mosambi), Mango (5 varieties), Pepper (3 varieties).