“Livelihoods-Arjuna” is our project in partnership with the Livelihoods Carbon Fund 2 to contribute to the achievement of SDGs in selected project areas of Jharkhand and West Bengal by helping small-holders create durable natural resource assets. These land and water assets will not only strengthen their livelihoods but also address climate change issues by coupling carbon sequestration with strong social, environmental, and economic value-added for the communities involved in the project. Project “Livelihoods Arjuna” has a twenty year time frame starting from April 2020, during which 3000 hectares (ha) of land will be planted and 4, 000 rural poor families in Godda, Dumka, and West Singhbhum districts of Jharkhand and Purulia district of West Bengal will be positively impacted across multiple factors of sustainable development.

Primarily the project aspires to achieve three goals:

  1. The plantation of 3, 000 ha of silk-host trees in privately owned wastelands in the villages belonging to 4, 000 rural households represented by women.
  2. Forest biodiversity protection in additional 3, 600 ha by supporting 1, 200 rural households to undertake silkworm rearing in the host tress available in the forests.
  3. Income Generating Activities across the Tasar silk value chain will generate 5,656 rural jobs and secure livelihoods of the people at all stages on the chain.

Plantation of Tasar-host trees is being done on private wastelands owned by Adivasis and other marginalized communities. The Tasar-host trees, Terminalia arjuna and Terminalia tomentosa are both fast-growing and become ready for silkworm rearing in 3 years. The communities will be mobilized into groups for planting and maintaining the plantations. The plantation activities undertaken are expected to sequestrate 1.3 million tCO 2 over the project’s lifetime.

The project will support 1,200 households to undertake silkworm rearing in the host trees available in the forests and they will be trained in biodiversity conservation. This will be undertaken by village communities in compliance with forestry laws. In this way, the project will be able to protect biodiversity in 3, 600 ha of forests.

The plantation of 3,000 ha of Tasar silk host trees is the primary asset on which the income generation activities are being planned. Tasar silk rearing on 3,000 ha of plantations and the development of the value chain are to be fully financed by PRADAN from own sources (donors, philanthropies etc). Income generation is an integral part of the project and will result in substantial social and economic benefits. Livelihoods generation from silk rearing on plantations is the primary incentive for Adivasi and marginal households to protect the plantations for many years to come.

The production base of 3, 000 ha of plantations and 3, 600 hectare of forest rearing will trigger more livelihoods through downstream activities. When the production is in full capacity, the annual figures expected are:

  • 45 million pieces of cocoons produced which will be converted into to 50 Metric Tonnes (MT) of raw silk.
  • 1,500 yarn producers will work round the year to convert 50 MT of raw silk into 50-MT of silk yarn through reeling and spinning.
  • 50 MT of silk yarn is converted to 600,000 meter of silk fabric. This will generate employment for handloom weavers.
  • Overall, the project will create and secure 5,656 rural jobs.

“PRADAN is happy to partner with Livelihoods Carbon Fund 2, an organisation that leverages the carbon economy to finance ecosystem restoration, agroforestry and rural energy projects to improve food security for rural communities and increase farmers’ revenues. This partnership will enable us to further bolster Tasar sericulture as a reliable source of livelihoods for marginalised tribal farmers in the East India plateau region, and reclaim vast areas of barren lands for Tasar-host tree plantation.” Narendranath Damodaran, Executive Director, PRADAN.

“Livelihoods is proud to partner with PRADAN, an organization that has acquired a solid experience in the field and worked closely with rural communities in India. We trust them to build an outstanding project that will improve the lives of thousands of smallholders while preserving the forests and lands.” Bernard Giraud, President of the Livelihoods Funds.