IEP Chandigarh, November 4
Haryana Forest Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is all set to launch the “Trees Outside Forests in India (TOFI)” programme in Haryana, which will bring together farmers, companies, and other private institutions to rapidly expand tree coverage outside of traditional forests in the state. The official launch of the TOFI programme is scheduled on November 5, 2022 at Rohtak.
The new programme will enhance carbon sequestration, support local communities, and strengthen the climate resilience of agriculture, thereby supporting global climate change mitigation and adaptation goals.
Chief Minister, Sh. Manohar Lal said that the Government of Haryana is giving a major thrust to agroforestry and tree plantations on lands outside the notified forest areas. With only 6.80 per cent of the area under forest and tree cover, the State has demonstrated its potential to support the country’s food and wood/timber needs by showcasing globally how a forest deficient state can be a wood surplus state. He said that we are strenuously working to increase the income of farmers in Haryana.
Giving more information, an official spokesperson said that the TOFI programme will further spur agroforestry and plantation campaigns outside of forests and help raise the income of the farmers while enhancing the green cover in the state. It will also support India’s Roadmap towards a Carbon Neutral Economy by 2070 and and India’s commitments related to Climate initiatives of Prime Minister, Sh. Narendra Modi regarding ‘Panchamrita’ and ‘Mission LiFE’.
Highlighting the importance of the programme, Minister, Forests, and Tourism, Sh. Kanwar Pal stated that growing trees outside forest areas, especially adding more trees to mainstream agriculture can help the Haryana State achieve its goal of 20 percent area under forest and tree cover. The programme will contribute towards strengthening the policy environment, supporting TOF (Trees Outside Forests)- based enterprises, and providing technical support for the expansion of area under trees outside forests.
The Trees Outside Forests in India programme was launched in September 2022 by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Secretary, Smt. Leena Nandan and U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, Patricia Lacina. The programme will allocate up to $25 million U.S. dollars over five years in seven states – Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh – with implementation support from the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (ICRAF).
The spokesperson stated that TOFI will rapidly expand tree coverage outside of traditional forests by 2.8 million hectares, an area larger than 13 states and union territories in India. The programme will contribute to India’s Nationally Determined Contribution target of creating an additional “carbon sink” of 2.5 to 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030. He further added that this new programme builds on the enduring U.S.-India partnership to tackle the climate crisis and bolster resilience in the face of climate threats and extreme weather events.