Back in 2010, residents of Jharkhand’s Hesatu village were sharing their worries about the wastelands in their area. During the discussion, someone proposed growing a forest of their own on the land. A draft was prepared by around 25-30 villagers and very soon, they started the work.
Today, around 93 households from the village have successfully raised forest cover of more than hundred thousand trees on 365 acres of wasteland—all by themselves.
All this while, the villagers have kept government and non profit organisations’ intervention at bay. They are happy with what they have achieved and are doing well on their own.
They started the work six years ago and dug the earth, ploughed it and planted vegetables the first year. With profits from vegetables, they started working on the bigger project—that of growing trees by cultivating lac on kusum and ber trees on 200 acres. Now the area of community forest has increased to 365 acres.
The village of about 800 people put their skills to best use and built the forest on the wasteland. Now thier annual income has also incremented to about 50 million rupees through their agro-forestry initiative.
Residents of the village, which comes under the Ormanjhi administrative block, around 27 km from Ranchi, applied their knowledge and carefully planted each tree—eight feet from each other, with each tree having 1.5 feet radius trench around it.
Their income is allocated majorly for land development, the community and the people who work hard in the forests, the remaining is utilised on welfare schemes. The villagers have even started an open school where training is imparted to people.
The villagers have also purchased 70 cows and also incremented their income with dairy farming. They also sold grass that helped supplement their income. Now, the villagers earn approximately seventy euros a day by selling milk. Their income through forestry was about Fifty Thousand euros last year.
After Hesatu, the villagers have now started developing small nurseries in barren patches around the area. Due to their efforts, even seasonal migration of people looking for jobs in cities have come to an end.
When the villagers were able to generate profits through forestry in 2014, they convinced family members of those who migrated to stay back and work in their own land instead. In the years 2015 and 2016, the rate of migration was lower. And in 2017, the village is completely migration-free.