Partners
Active since

2019

Area

Central India

Ecological degradation is one of the root causes for global poverty, often felt strongest among rural farmers and indigenous (tribal) people. Well-designed agroforestry focused on social impact offers farming communities food security and access to value chains for forest and food products. At the beginning of 2019, Commonland embarked on an ambitious landscape restoration project in central India. Funded by the IKEA Foundation, TNC India and Commonland aim to catalyse agroforestry at scale by providing smallholder farmers with financing and technical assistance, to develop a sustainable farmers’ institute and build links to markets for their forest products.

Supported by Ikea Foundation, Commonland will develop a landscape resilience program, mainly revolving around agroforestry. We are doing this in close collaboration with strong local partners, including The Nature Conservancy and local government. Commonland is responsible for landscape orchestration, project management and facilitating transformational processes such as inspiring local partners, offering farmer education and cultivating collective leadership. Put simply, to unite all parties and initiatives into a single inclusive restoration project with the potential to scale.

While a specific location has yet to be determined, the project will include both natural forest regeneration by smallholders and the long-term sustainable commercial supply of forest products by medium and large-scale farmers. In both cases, empowering marginalised farmers by providing them with both new income streams and political clout are key drivers.

As part of the project’s ongoing monitoring and evaluation, Commonland and the IKEA Foundation will create a full-length documentary from the start.

It is amazing to demonstrate the long-term progress and impact of the agroforestry project in such a visual way. The documentary’s role in being both a monitoring tool as well as a way to feed the regeneration movement is very inspirational.
Sanne Collée, Lead Communications Agroforestry project India

The wide-scale introduction of agroforestry offers a sustainable long-term solution to the region’s current monoculture practices and commercial activities like logging. A well-designed agroforestry project focused on social impact regenerates soil, protects existing forests, better retains water and reintroduces much-needed biodiversity to the Indian landscape. Greater yields result in greater income that help these farming communities meet their basic human needs and send their children (back) to school.

Inspiration
Giving people hope and a sense of purpose.
Social Capital
Bringing back jobs, business activity, education and security.
Natural Capital
Restoring biodiversity, soil, water quality and capturing carbon.
Financial Capital
Realizing long-term sustainable profit.

Current status

The local tribes are dealing with prejudices, discrimination and violence from other populations. Their political power is limited due to living in small groups and remote areas. 

Scope

People are proud of their work and hopeful for their children’s future. Marginalised groups and women, farmers and community institutions feel empowered.

 

Current status:

Farmers’ incomes are low and their work is risky. Due to lack of income streams, children can often not go to school.

Scope:

People have the opportunity to better deal with the risk of their work because of higher income and more importantly, they can send their children to school and provide their families with basic needs.

Current status

There is a lot of ecological degradation, mainly due to commercial activities like logging and agriculture (mono cultures).

 

Scope

Agroforestry has regenerated the degraded lands, captured carbon in the soil and has protected still existing forests. Water is better retained in the soil and biodiversity is coming back.

Current status

Due to monoculture and other commercial activities like logging, yields are low and the value share that the farmer receives compared to the market value is far too low for the risks they take.

 

Scope

Sustainable business cases are created where farmers get a fair share of the value they create with their products, which gives them the opportunity to better deal with the risk of their work.