Manfred Auster, Consul General of Federal Republic of Germany, feels his country could help protect and preserve biodiversity and contribute towards generating rural livelihood of Tripura, to a great extent. Auster in his visit to the state, attended the launch of the second phase of Indo-German Development Cooperation Project in Ambassa.
In an exclusive interview with The Optimist, the visiting Consul General said that he was very satisfied with the first phase of the project implementation, done with financial support from Germany.
The German Consul General had attended the launch of the Phase II of the IGDC titled “Climate Resilience of Forest Ecosystems, Biodiversity & Adaptive Capacities of Forest Dependent Communities in Tripura” at Ambassa in presence of Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and other senior ministers and officials. The project would be implemented in 191 villages of two districts – Dhalai and North Tripura – over a period of seven years.
Under this project, over 1,30,000 climate-vulnerable people (26,000 households of which about 60 percent are from indigenous section) would get the benefit directly in terms of reduced climate vulnerability, enhanced access to ecosystem services, and more diversified livelihood opportunities and greater household incomes. In addition, 78,000 more households (about 4 lakhs people) are expected to benefit indirectly. The IGDC Project -I was incepted in 2009 with the objective of improving the socioeconomic status of the forest dwelling communities, especially the Shifting Cultivators, living in Dhalai and North Tripura Districts covering about 28,000 of ST, SC and other backward class households in 70 villages spread across 11 Development Blocks. Detail Framework of activities includes, among others, afforestation with agroforestry model for economic support, value addition on forest products by Self Help Groups ( SHGs) for economic support, soil and water conservation and capacity building. According to reports, the three-tier agri-horti-forestry model plantation has helped 12228 RoFR Patta holders to earn an average of Rs. 1,20,000 – 1,60,000 per year . Significantly, all the households were families of erstwhile Shifting Cultivators.
This model gives yield in the short (Pineapple, Ginger, Turmeric), middle (Papaya, Banana etc.) and long (Mango, Jackfruit etc.) terms. “For example”, an official associated with the IGDC -I said, “In his 2nd year of plantation only, Ratanjoy Tripura earned Rs. 84,000 per-ha-land by selling agri-horti crops.” Over the period a total of 1457 people got trained in raising Quality Planting Material Nursery along with Decentralized Peoples’ Nursery. Subsequently, their average yearly income rose by Rs. 15,000 – 36, 000. Through pisciculture (Pure and Composite methods), in the 399 project-constructed check dams / water bodies, each of the 4159 beneficiaries were able to see a raise of Rs.5,000-7,000/- in their average monthly income. For example, in J.B. Para Fishery Cluster members earned yearly per capita profit of Rs. 76,000 per member.
While giving details of the economic and financial improvement during the IGDC project-I in Dhalai district, the consul general expressed satisfaction particularly for the increase of forest cover in the project operation areas. “The target was to increase forest cover by at least 40 percent in the project areas. But the project achieved more than the target. In fact, we have over reached,” said. Auster also showed interest in Tripura’s fast growing importance for economic development in the region with the opening up of Chittagong Port in Bangladesh.