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9.1 The Role of Forest Departments
9.2 Local Organizations
9.3 Extension Efforts
9.4 Public Information and Programme Promotion
9.5 Finding Ways of Reducing Risk
9.6 Credit Schemes for Tree Growing
9.7 Seedling Distribution Programmes
9.8 The Aggregate Support Programme

A supportive institutional environment in which community forestry programmes take place is critical for their success. At the same time, lack of appropriate institutional strength often poses the greatest difficulties for successful project implementation. Organizations and institutions shape and limit the development process, ideally in a way that simplifies problem solving and that promotes the general coordination of activities.

Organizations and institutions take several forms:

- formal public sector bodies at the national, regional, and community levels;

- local organizations including such groups as cooperatives, farmer’s associations and tenant leagues, as well as locally elected governments and grassroots political organizations which very likely have linkages to levels of organization above the village community;

- private sector bodies that deal with production, processing and trade in goods and services (Chandrasekharan, 1983).

If programmes are to be successful, they require sympathetic coordination among rural people, the foresters, extension agents and others involved in implementation, as well as with the donor agencies. Yet the incentives which motivate these different groups are different and may even be conflicting rather than complementary and supportive.

Discussion is essential

9.1 The Role of Forest Departments

Forest Departments have historically been the organizations responsible for implementating forestry programmes. Characteristically, however, except for policing, protection and revenue collection, government forest departments have had little interaction with rural people in the past. Involvement of forestry services in rural and community development, agroforestry, extension and programmes for employment and income generation is generally new and requires different roles than those forestry departments were designed to play. The change in emphasis required is one from executive to supportive functions.

The transition of forestry departments from their earlier role can be quite necessary before cooperation can begin. In Pakistan, for example, farmers were reluctant to become involved in a rural forestry programme because the Forest Department was viewed with suspicion and distrust. When the project was initiated, over 50,000 forest offences were pending in the courts, which meant that one out of six families was involved in disputes with the Forest Department (Cernea, 1981). In parts of India, Forest Department personnel “evoke fear and not respect or affection” (Srinivasan and Ramadoss, 1983).

The perception that rural people have about particular institutions which may be involved in project implementation will often be crucial if any kind of collaboration can be expected. Governments have selected different organizational strategies for implementing rural tree growing activities, and the administrative framework of these strategies has varied widely in complexity and scope.

In some cases, changes in the administrative structure of a forest department have been tried as a means of changing the negative rural perception of its role. In India, many of the state forest departments have added new and highly visible divisions for social forestry. In other cases, foresters may be attached to other services. In Senegal, foresters without uniforms and guns are attached to regional multidisciplinary development offices as well as to parastatal development organizations.

It is not uncommon that the responsibility for reforestation or for other rural forestry activities is shared among a number of public sector organizations. In Kenya, independent rural forestry activities are administered by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (through the Forest Department), by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development and by the Ministry of Energy and Regional Development. Although this approach has been effective for the most part, there is a danger that a lack of inter-ministerial coordination may result in a duplication of efforts.

It is much less common for responsibilities for rural forestry activities to be removed from agricultural or environmental ministries altogether. In the Republic of Korea, however, when the village forestry programme was initiated, responsibility for forestry was shifted to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The move was a pragmatic one which recognized that reforestation should be dealt with within the framework of the national community development programme, Saemaul Undong. This change gave forestry priority and funding at the local government level.

New goals for forestry also require introducing new systems of professional education for both forestry officers and extension personnel. Alternatives to conventional curriculum need to be developed which reflect the skills required in an extension-oriented service. Course offerings must include practical field training directly related to future job responsibilities.

A number of formalized training programmes in community forestry have been established and can be a valuable means for broadening the training experience of forestry officers. The Centre for Forestry Education, Research, and Development of the University of the Philippines includes courses in rural sociology, education and community planning as part of its forestry curriculum. Kesetsart University in Thailand is developing a major in community forestry.

Special training is needed for community forestry

The question of career prospects, however, can remain a limiting factor until the institutions also reflect these changes. Most foresters are recruited into institutions which place a high priority on technical skills required for producing trees and conserving existing woodstock resources. While this is no longer universally the case, technical skills and a pro-conservation orientation usually continue to determine the career success of foresters. In practice, this means that ambitious foresters will gain technical expertise at the expense of social science expertise. They will also often prefer the management of existing or new forests to involvement in social forestry activities. Social forestry jobs have seldom been seen to lead to important promotions, positions of power within the forestry department or to improved salaries or benefits.

For creating integrated services, it has often been difficult to recruit talented individuals with backgrounds in the social sciences and other fields. For non-foresters, forest department jobs may appear to offer insecure employment with little, if any, opportunity for promotion.

It is crucial that forestry departments assign qualified men and women foresters, social scientists and others to implement rural forestry programmes and give them attractive incentives for staying there. Until community forestry is as remunerative for all those concerned as conventional forestry is, it will never succeed.

Programmes must incorporate management tools and feedback mechanisms which allow senior project management to identify individuals who are successful at community forestry. Projects must reward individuals who can effectively liaise with local people and who can involve them in programme implementation.

9.2 Local Organizations

Increasing recognition of the essential role of institutions in rural development has lead to the awareness that often local organizations are the key to success, while the lack of local organizations is the chief barrier to effective rural development. The types of local institutions that have filled this essential role have often been informal; some were formed at the initiative of groups within communities or villages that have common interests in the use of tree resources and felt the need for some kind of institutional framework (Chandrasekharan, 1983).

In Guatemala, some forests are managed cooperatively. Small forest industries have been established, and the work of the cooperatives has included additional activities such as the construction of roads to improve access to markets and to open up areas for reforestation. In El Salvador, the government has purchased a large estate and turned control of it over to the people who had been working there. Women have organized a cooperative to plant and manage trees for fruit and fuelwood production. In Gujarat, India, a number of marketing cooperatives have been formed in Bhavnagar District in order to market smallholder timber production more effectively and to limit smallholders’ exploitation by middlemen.

Guatemala sawmilling cooperative

Such organizations can play an extremely valuable role in implementing rural tree planting programmes. They can motivate people and can often bridge the gap between rural people and the forest department. Non-governmental organizations can also be an important intermediate channel for communication both through vertical and horizontal linkages, and may help to contribute to the institutionalization of community forestry.

There is a range of skills, goals and organizational strategies among NGOs. However, many of the best are noted for their ability to work directly with small communities of the poor to remain flexible and responsive to local situations and to economically use available funds. Many of the forestry service bureaucracies are not structured to do these things. Small tree growing programmes may be more successful when forest services offer technical support while NGOs implement the activities with the residents.

In the Ranchi area of Bihar, India, a consortium of local voluntary organizations was formed in 1977 to promote community forestry. This consortium made contacts with the Chief Conservator of Forests who responded positively by quashing all pending cases of forestry violations by the people in the area. The local situation has since improved remarkably. Local people are now enthusiastically collaborating with the Forest Department in tree planting. Seedling survival rates have been especially high, and the outlook for the future appears promising. The consortium was effective in part because participating NGOs had different areas of competence which complemented each other and in part because they had local, national and often international credibility. The result was an integrated approach toward environmentally sustainable development which has been officially recognized both by the Forest Department and by the Central Government (Basu, 1984).

Other NGOs have undertaken tree planting activities in order to supplement the work of the public sector in promoting reforestation. In 1977, the National Council of Women of Kenya initiated a major tree planting programme called the “Greenbelt Movement.” Corporate and individual sponsorships of the Greenbelt Movement are actively sought. Individual tree sponsorships, costing around $7 per tree, guarantee that a tree will be planted and maintained.

Kenya Green Belt Movement - an NGO initiative

When 1 000 trees have been planted in a single setting, usually close to villages or in shelterbelts in arid areas, the site is inaugurated as a Greenbelt, and is signposted and publicized. The Greenbelt Movement especially promotes planting indigenous tree species. By the end of 1982, approximately 200 Greenbelts had been established (Buck, 1984).

In India, a similar strategy has been pursued by the Society for the Promotion of Wastelands Development. The Society, a private organization, was established in part to promote the development of links between possible financing institutions, local communities and the public sector. Reforestation is undertaken with local involvement and with adequate financial and technical resources. The Society encourages individual and corporate contributions as well as contributions from foreign donors.

Private voluntary organizations can be a useful mechanism for directing foreign assistance toward the forestry sector. In Haiti, where there has been a successful linkage between several “Northern” NGOs, including CARE and the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), with local voluntary agencies in a tree planting programme, this effort has been partially financed with bilateral assistance from the United States and Switzerland.

These international NGOs have entered into a number of agreements with local NGOs, primarily church groups and local community organizations, to carry out local extension. Seedlings, provided to these NGOs through centrally-operated nurseries, are distributed by community organizations to local farming families, although local nurseries are beginning to develop. By the end of the 1983 rainy season, 150 local NGOs had become involved.

A number of voluntary organizations have been quite successful in initiating tree planting programmes, relying only on local resources. This has been especially true in many parts of India where NGOs have assumed a vital role in promoting reforestation. Many religious and other NGO groups are now focusing directly on forestry. The Anand Niketan Ashram in southern Gujarat, for instance, has been involved in promoting the development of tree growers’ cooperatives since 1980. In the first year of the Ashram’s work, it planted over a million seedlings with a survival rate of 80 to 90 percent. Currently, it is making plans for starting over 300 nurseries with a combined capacity of 10 million seedlings a year. The Ashram itself was established nearly 40 years ago, and so is able to take advantage of its good reputation and extensive involvement in local community development activities (Mishra, 1982).

Schools can often play a role not unlike that of NGOs in promoting tree planting. Enthusiastic teachers can have a considerable influence over the children they teach. They also tend to have a high standing in their villages. Schools provide a focal point within the community.

In Gujarat, school nurseries and tree planting activities have been initiated on a large scale. In addition to their educational value, these activities raise income for the school. In Tanzania, some primary schools in the Dodoma, Arusha and Singida regions have managed to cover areas previously completely bare of trees with plantations as large as 10 hectares (Kaale, 1982).

School children - trees for their future

The use of NGOs as intermediary organizations has the further advantage of directing financial and technical resources toward the rural forestry sector without many of the constraints of politically “tied” bilateral development assistance. Some NGOs are often able to manage and implement the dispersed types of projects which aid agencies may be unwilling to administer.

NGOs frequently need technical support from forestry departments; forestry departments frequently need strong support in local communications NGOs. It is unfortunate that often there has been a polarisation between government and non-governmental organizations in which support for one has implied opposition to the other. In the case of community forestry programmes, such automatic prejudices have no useful part to play.

Figure 6 Field extension materials from Nepal

Field extension materials

1. Community forestry extension flip-charts: for use by Divisional Forestry Officers and Community Forestry Assistants in explaining the programme to villagers; also used in training CFAs and Panchayat Forestry Foremen and Watchers.

2. Community forestry extension booklet: the extension flip-charts in booklet form, used as reference for staff and given to village leaders, schoolteachers and other literate villagers.

3. Posters: a variety of them, to create awareness and deliver brief messages on community forestry; displayed in hill villages and towns.

4. Nursery signboards: mark the location of local nurseries and indicate that free seedlings are available.

5. Film-strips, for central-office and district use: one on women’s role in community forestry and another on construction of simple brushwood check-dams.

6. Schools publication: a multi-purpose folding chart aimed at village teachers, to enlist their help in promoting community forestry among children; can later be displayed as a poster on school premises.

7. Radio programme: a weekly 15-minute programme on community forestry, broadcast from Kathmandu, intended primarily to disseminate news of field activities and create a “bandwagon effect” for the community forestry programme.

8. Logo for the project: used on all printed materials.

9. T-shirts: all staff working directly with the programme on a continuing basis are issued with T-shirts bearing the project’s logo.


9.3 Extension Efforts

Generally speaking, extension is a process through which people become familiar with new knowledge and skills of direct relevance to their lives, and through which government support services can learn about local priorities and needs. Extension services can also provide planting materials, supplies and tools when lack of these items has been identified as a constraint to local tree planting. As an information process, extension must follow the strategy of first identifying the real problems and their causes, then selecting those problems which can in some way be addressed by information, and only then design ways to get that information to the right person in an effective manner.

Does the forestry extension worker also listen?

If, for example, the constraint is a restrictive policy or a lack of some support service, the information must be directed toward those in policy and management positions. No amount of clever design or publicity campaigns directed toward the rural poor will change tree planting practices if the constraint deals with lack of tree-use rights.

Again, the problem of bush fires is often approached only on the basis of information on how to extinguish fire, without first learning the causes. When fires are set in order to produce new grass shoots for fodder, providing information on alternative ways to produce fodder may be much more effective than fire control techniques.

The issue of making information available to the right person is the cause of certain project failures when only men are given new information in areas in which women are also responsible for resource use decisions. The same effect is caused when meetings, which may be theoretically open to everyone, are held during periods of the day when women are not free to attend.

Often, extension is essential for maximizing the effectiveness of a rural development activity. It sometimes suffers, however, because of an assumption that rural people need to be persuaded to undertake alternative development strategies - that development is somehow a process that is done “to them” instead of by and with them.

A major constraint in most extension activities is the difficulty of getting extension agents to really listen to rural people, take what they say seriously and work with them. The tendency in many extension services is rather to stress the transmission of a “technical package” from the agent to the farmer or pastoralist. Despite great emphasis on collaboration with residents, most extension agents still assume they know more about the activities in question than do rural women and men. At the very least, they may believe that technical packages developed by experts should not be modified.

From the perspective of the farmer, who knows a great deal about his physical environment and about the kinds and quality of local opportunities and constraints, these “packages” will often seem irrelevant or ill-considered. They may not take into account technical, environmental, social and political limitations which rural people face. The ideal programme, on the other hand, will involve a creative response to rural dwellers’ interests and concerns, building upon their insights and enabling them to work toward an effective set of environmental and tree management strategies.

Extension workers must have listening skills and a sense that they can learn from residents information needed to make them more capable as extension workers. They should be trained as generalists, familiar with technical and social issues. They should be able to recognize when their own knowledge is inadequate and call on more qualified experts.

Also it is important that systems are structured so that effective extension workers know that they will be, and in fact are, appreciated, supported and rewarded. The organizational strategy for supporting extension activities has been approached differently in various countries.

In Nepal, rural forestry extension is undertaken by the Community Forestry and Afforestation Division of the Department of Forestry. Extension is carried out primarily by Divisional Forestry Coordinators (DFCs) who have territorial responsibilities for all forestry activities in their areas and by Community Forestry Assistants (CFAs) who carry out only community forestry activities and who have no policing responsibilities.

Before a village applies to join the community forestry programme, the DFAs explain the programme to leaders in the community. The intention is not so much to “sell” the programme to the village as it is to determine the views and attitudes which might affect the success of a community programme. After a village has committed itself to involvement, CFAs and DFCs subsequently provide advice about good sites for tree nurseries and community forests and about how the community might go about preparing a management plan for the future. In the end, however, all decisions must be jointly approved by the local forest committee, the panchayat, and the Forest Department (Pelinck, et al, 1984).

Quite often, forestry extension activities can be incorporated into the framework of existing agricultural extension programmes. This approach has advantages as well as disadvantages. The primary advantage is that there is often already an established network of agricultural extension workers. It may be difficult and undesirable to draw the line between growing agricultural crops and growing trees, especially in tropical areas. Agroforestry deals with successfully combining the two sectors.

In Indonesia forestry extension was, until 1982, undertaken by a network of nearly 7 000 extension workers administered by the Agricultural Education, Training, and Extension Agency of the Department of Agriculture. Extension workers focused their efforts on long-term methods of cultivation which combine forestry and agriculture into an integrated agricultural production system (Atmosoedarjo, 1982).

The disadvantages of incorporating forestry extension into an agricultural extension service include the fact that extension workers are often already spread too thin to adequately cover conventional agricultural problems; their training may not include skills required in community forestry. Agricultural extension is geared toward finding short-term solutions to increasing annual production, since such major issues as long-term land and tree tenure are less critical in agricultural programmes.

Frequently rural forestry extension must focus on the entire village or community, while agricultural extension may involve just a few farmers who adopt improved methods of crop production. Forestry workers may have to be able to relate effectively to or even organize community groups and institutions. These types of skills are not usually required of agricultural extension workers. Foresters often have a specialized knowledge of silvicultural and forestry management practices which agricultural workers might lack. Perhaps most importantly, by removing extension responsibilities from the forestry department, the opportunity for foresters to communicate directly with farmers about local needs and agroforestry possibilities is lost.

Extension services must be adaptive. Extension workers who are generalists must be able to draw on appropriate expertise as it becomes needed. There is no need to train every extension worker in the finer points of processing smallholder tree farming loans, but they must still be able to find out how to go about doing so should the need arise. This flexibility becomes even more important when the direction of a project changes. In Gujarat, for instance, as smallholders prepare to market their production, extension agents will need to be able to respond to requests for information about tapping potential markets, a need which was not considered in the earliest stages of project design when project goals were different.

Sometimes local residents can be effective extension agents when supported by the forestry service. In West Bengal, India, local farmers are employed as “motivators” and are selected on the basis of their potential influence in the community, as well as on their willingness to adopt new tree planting practices. In Haiti, a similar approach has been taken, and the local NGOs involved in tree planting hire “animateurs” from the local community of farmers to undertake extension efforts.

At the same time, great care may be necessary in selecting the local representative when adopting this approach. Strengthening those who are already in positions of local economic power may not help the poorer residents grow trees. In some cases, directing extension efforts at more progressive farmers has only widened the gap between the well-off and the poor. Farmers tend to communicate best with other farmers who are from similar social and economic backgrounds, and special extension efforts may be needed for each different socio-economic level within a community (Clark, 1982).

Farmers tend to communicate best with other farmers

The major issue for forestry extension, however, is how to empower rural people and to help them communicate effectively, while at the same time strengthening the ability of forest services and research institutions to respond supportively through a continuous two-way communication system.

9.4 Public Information and Programme Promotion

While planting trees may be an economically and culturally sound response to scarcity, and while public interventions may be implemented in order to make the necessary resources available, the rural smallholder may lack the information required for taking advantage of such programmes. A survey of villages in Orissa, India, revealed that 80 percent of smallholder families had no notion that they could obtain seedlings and technical assistance for tree planting from the Forest Department. Tackling a lack of this kind of information can be fairly straightforward through publicity and promotional activities.

Means for spreading such information are as diverse as the settings in which they have been introduced. They include the use of promotional stickers, posters, messages on billboards, booklets, story tellers or singers, puppet theatres, film strips, movies, radio and newspaper advertisements, tree-planting festivals, national campaigns and political pronouncements. The effect of these types of activities can be difficult to gauge, but active programme promotion can be helpful.

In Tanzania, for example, a major publicity campaign was launched in 1980 based on the slogan “Forests are Wealth.” The response was impressive. During and after the campaign, the Forest Department was swamped with inquiries about how one could obtain seedlings and technical advice. In 1981, seedling uptake from Forest Department nurseries in the Arusha region increased nearly five-fold (Kaale, 1982).

A similar initiative was undertaken in Gujarat starting in 1972 when the state government decided to take action to encourage tree planting. A publicity campaign was built around a month-long annual festival, popularly known as Vanamhotsava - the Festival of Trees. This festival had been established in 1950 by the Government of India, but up until 1972 had been virtually ignored.

Frequent talks on various aspects of tree planting and farm forestry were broadcast on All-India Radio in Gujarati. The talks dealt with the direct and indirect benefits of tree planting, planting techniques, the availability of seedlings and technical advice, and investment costs and possible returns. Publicity materials such as posters and booklets were widely circulated. The combined effect of this publicity and an active seedling production and distribution programme appears to have been substantial. In 1971, only around 6.1 million seedlings were distributed; the next year, distribution reached 16.9 million seedlings.

The single most crucial source of information in most areas will, however, tend to remain the foresters themselves. In Gujarat, despite the massive publicity, a recent survey indicated that the primary source of information about community forestry activities is forestry officers (Bhatia, 1984). Programme promotion activities can help to publicize tree planting interventions, but the essential human contact between smallholders, forest officers and extension workers in the field is likely to remain the most valuable.

9.5 Finding Ways of Reducing Risk

Even if local institutions are able to assume an active role in encouraging rural forestry activities, and relevant technical advice and assistance is provided by extension and education programmes, there may still be some very basic constraints which will prevent smallholders from engaging in tree growing. As mentioned in Chapter 8, these constraints are largely a reflection of the farmers’ perception of risk. Since ability to assume risk relates directly to affluence, in order to reach the poor, risks of loss must be minimized.

Many proposed tree planting activities involve actual or potential costs which minimum-resource farmers are unwilling or unable to assume. Programme planners can encourage smallholder involvement in farm forestry by directly or indirectly reducing these costs. Incentives can have the effect of spreading the smallholder’s costs or of more closely matching the timing in the flow of costs and benefits. These types of incentives can take a variety of forms.

One especially important aspect of reducing risk is the certainty that the technical alternatives being suggested will work. If innovations have not been proven in that environment, farmers who test these new ideas must not be asked to assume risks which were previously born by institutions.

Working on a small scale, providing risk guarantees and being sure to differentiate between experimentation and demonstrations are all important. Where trees are grown for the market, developing stable market conditions for tree products can be an important means of reducing a farmer’s risk. Pricing interventions are appropriate where wide fluctuations in supply and demand create an unstable market environment. At the same time, since these interventions have no long term utility for promoting efficient production, other initiatives are probably more sustainable.

Governments can provide incentives to the private sector to encourage development of wood-based industries. The Korean experience successfully capitalized on these types of activities through significant local market opportunities for trees and tree products. Improvements in marketing arrangements and in the transportation infrastructure can also help farmers tap potentially large markets outside the immediate zone. Formalized marketing structures may help protect smaller farmers unused to commercial dealings with wood merchants and felling contractors. These arrangements may take the form of marketing boards or farmers’ cooperatives.

Lowering costs of tree growing can be an important way of providing incentives for smallholders and of reducing their risks. Subsidies are often a means of involving rural poor where benefits of tree planting may not seem obvious, especially where farmers must have an intermediate source of income before the trees are harvested and sold. Often these payments are considered advances on the eventual value of the tree crop.

In some cases, subsidies are paid when the trees are planted; in others, payment is made based on the number of seedlings which survive after a certain number of years. The intention is to provide an incentive both for planting trees as well as for protecting and managing them until they are well established. In Tamil Nadu, India, poor farmers are given as many as 500 free seedlings and are paid a cash bonus based on the number of trees which survive at the end of the first and second years. Often incentives are given where costs are borne by one group and benefits are shared by others, such as in watershed management activities.

Direct cash subsidies for planting trees are appropriate under a limited set of conditions. Programmes which have paid farmers to plant trees usually have other objectives as well, such as employment generation. In other schemes, “food for work” projects have provided a payment-in-kind for tree planting. Tree planting is not the primary objective, but is seen as a means to provide employment and improve local nutrition. Whether or not the trees survive after they are planted is incidental to meeting the primary objectives of many of these programmes.

Food aid - appropriate under certain conditions

Any programme which involves direct cash or food subsidies should be simple and easy to run. If there are long delays in assessing the number of surviving trees, or if the methods of claiming and receiving payment are too slow and cumbersome for the intended beneficiaries, these incentive schemes may be ineffective or may actually deter farmers from engaging in tree planting. Projects paying people to plant trees may affect neighboring areas where residents, learning of the payment scheme, may wait to be paid before planting trees they might otherwise have planted.

The need for cash incentives to plant trees should therefore be assessed carefully. In Haiti, a comprehensive programme which provided cash incentives based on the number of a farmer’s surviving seedlings was found to be unnecessary. The prospect of financial gain from the trees alone was enough to encourage farmers to participate and the incentive scheme was abandoned. The dependency which incentive schemes engender in cases where they are not necessary is particularly unproductive in the long run.

In some cases, there may be a potential for introducing tax incentives to indirectly subsidize market-oriented farm forestry. In Rajasthan and Gujarat, profits from farm forestry are exempt from taxes. One of the major constraints to tax incentive programmes is that they tend to benefit wealthier farmers because smallholders and subsistence farmers, for the most part, are not taxpayers.

9.6 Credit Schemes for Tree Growing

As with nearly any other agricultural crop, the availability of credit on appropriate terms can be an important incentive for smallholders to undertake farm forestry when they can eventually be assured of receiving an income from the activity. In effect, credit schemes help farmers to match more closely the flow of farm forestry’s costs and benefits over time.

Even when fast-growing trees can ensure good returns over a short time horizon, financial inputs may still be needed to support a farmer until the trees are generating income. Credit may be needed to support the rural household, or it may be required to provide timely, necessary inputs into a tree planting activity.

It is unlikely that many commercial banks will be willing or flexible enough to undertake the burden of administering a programme of smallholder farm forestry finance. The PICOP loan programme, administered through the Development Bank of the Philippines, was able to coordinate an effective loan effort. However, a recent evaluation of the PICOP project discovered that, although a credit mechanism had been established to support the tree production, the timing of credit availability was such that the farmer was often unable to have access to enough capital at the time of heavy expenditure for harvesting.

Credit schemes can be of particular importance in enabling the participation of farmers on small landholdings. In Sudan, for instance, smallholders traditionally mortgaged their gum arabic production to merchants in return for high interest loans to purchase subsistence commodities. As part of its farm forestry programme, the government introduced regulated credit facilities to reduce the negative impacts of traditional credit schemes.

In many cases, however, individual farmers are not in a position to take advantage of any type of credit facility. They may lack title to the land they farm or may lack enough collateral to cover their request for credit. Farmers often place particularly high value on land ownership and are not willing to risk losing their property by using it as loan collateral. In these cases, special arrangements may be necessary, such as risk insurance, relaxing the requirement for collateral or providing concessional credit facilities. Farmers may be encouraged to associate themselves as groups of corporate creditors.

Where credit is available to a smallholder, it should be borne in mind that the risk of using it may not be justified. Other alternative public sector support mechanisms may be necessary to reduce the farmer’s risks. These might include marketing mechanisms, price controls, technical assistance and extension (Arnold, 1983).

9.7 Seedling Distribution Programmes

An indirect means of encouraging women and men farmers to plant trees is by distributing seedlings free or at a subsidized cost. Once the programme has become popular, there should be no need for such incentives. Continued subsidized seedling distribution serves no particularly useful function and will only inhibit farmers from establishing their own nurseries.

The cost of seedlings, nonetheless, can be a constraint to the poor. One low-cost approach is to distribute seeds and planting instructions, as has been done with wide success in parts of Kenya.

Alternatively, inexpensive means can be found for distributing large numbers of germinated seeds. In Gujarat, farmers are encouraged to start their own tree nurseries, especially in areas which cannot be serviced by those of the Forest Department. Farmers are given bamboo baskets about a half meter in diameter and several centimeters deep in which around 2 000 eucalyptus seedlings have been germinated. Farmers can easily transport these baskets, and they transplant the young seedlings into larger containers at their homes. They are encouraged to sell transplanted seedlings to other farmers when there is a demand.

The distance to the nursery is crucial

The willingness of farmers to plant seedlings is in part a function of their proximity to tree nurseries. In Nepal, most seedlings are taken by farmers who live within a half hour’s walk from the nursery. In areas where transportation may be a problem, it would appear to be appropriate to have a large number of smaller and decentralized nurseries - which could also serve as extension centers - rather than just a few large ones.

To assure that seedling distribution fits within the overall tree growing effort, it is crucial that farmer uptake is closely monitored and evaluated. In Nepal, a record was kept of the number of seedlings taken by men, women and children, and of the survival rates. Men took 72 percent of the seedlings and women only 3 percent, showing that more extension was needed among the women and/or that nurseries should be more responsive to women’s needs. Survival rates were lower in seedlings taken by children, again showing another type of follow-up which was needed.

Figure 7 The Korean Village Forestry Support Programme

It is obviously not possible to identify all the factors responsible for the successful implementation of Korean village forestry. Many of them are related to subtle changes in moods, attitudes, and emphasis in the implementation of policies. However, based on review of available information and understanding, the following factors can be identified:

(a) A broad-based approach was used, through the national Saemaul Undong self-help movement, to achieve improvements in a great number of conditions directly influencing rural welfare.

(b) An incremental or a step by step approach was used which put emphasis on results rather than abstract ideals. Realistic village potentials were stressed in each stage of development (e.g. seedling production was concentrated in village level nurseries to help villagers develop a better appreciation of trees and tree management, and to raise villagers’ income).

(c) There was a blending of top-down and bottom-up planning and emphasis was placed on cooperative action between government and private citizens (e.g. through the relationship between the forest service and the Federation of Village Forestry Associations).

(d) There was a recognition that longer term goals could not be achieved without also putting emphasis on short term gains in income and welfare (e.g. by concentrating on species such as chestnut, which produce income early, and on income generating activities such as mushroom production which could be introduced into the plantations).

(e) Emphasis was put on research and development of appropriate technology (which focussed on the few, well known species with proven performance ability).

(f) Emphasis was put on provision of adequate technical assistance and extension of appropriate technology to users.

(g) Thorough logistical planning was used to assure timely delivery of materials and technical services (e.g. planting stock, fertilizer and technical advice).

(h) Appropriate and timely financial subsidies and access to resources were given to villages. Such aid was tied to a self-help attitude to prevent problems of increased village dependence on outside support. Among other things, emphasis was placed on reinvestment of some of the gains from projects.

(i) Strong, clear laws and regulations were developed to define appropriate responsibilities needed to achieve results. It was recognized that results could only be achieved if villagers themselves participated in policing activities and exerted peer group pressure to prevent abuse of resources.

Source: Gregersen, 1982

Surveys can establish the desirability of particular types of trees, whether or not free seedling distribution encourages smallholder participation or whether agricultural lands are being used for tree growing. Monitoring and evaluation is an essential tool which allows management to adjust the course of the project when problems appear and which provides a sound basis for policy decisions.

9.8 The Aggregate Support Programme

These final two chapters have dealt with particular components of the process of planning and implementing programmes to encourage and support tree growing by rural people. Important though each of these is in itself, it is likely to prove effective only if it forms part of a set of measures which in aggregate adequately addresses all the aspects of tree growing which may need support from outside the community. The rural poor, living as they usually do at the very margins of existence, need to avoid any change which, though it might improve their situation if it functions as expected, would leave them even worse off than before if it does not. A programme to support tree growing is not likely to provide adequate protection against such risks unless all its component parts are sound.

Because tree growing is often embedded in complex systems determined by the ways in which people organize their lives and use their land and other resources, its evolution and strengthening may require action in several areas. Figure 7 indicates the range of different measures that provided support to the successful village forestry programme in the Republic of Korea described in Chapter 5. They include changes in forest and land use policy and in supporting legislation, radical alterations in forestry administration structures, research to identify sound technical prescriptions and new sources of income, development of an effective delivery and extension system, strengthening of village level capabilities, and provision of new sources for funding financial incentives and subsidies.

Not all programmes will need such broad ranging and radical measures. Some people who are already cultivating trees only need help in the form of providing planting stock of new species, or in raising the productivity of their systems to meet growing pressure on the land. But no matter what level of assistance is needed, it is essential that in aggregate it effectively address all the different dimensions of the problems which the people being assisted confront in their tree growing activities.

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