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Shakti Prasanna is a farmer from Tiruvannamalai district, Tamil Nadu owns 10 acres of land in the region. In 2012, when the Government implemented the MGNREGA scheme, there was severe shortage of labours and he had to discontinue farming.

Agro-forestry came as an alternate livelihood option to him. Shakti had no technical know-how about agro-forestry and was totally dependent on farming to sustain his family and himself. To add to his woes there was water scarcity which was deeply affecting his produce and made farming extremely challenging.

It was at this point when he came across an advertisement posted by Project Green Hands (PGH) in a Tamil magazine published especially for farmers. PGH had advertised about the availability of saplings in their nurseries and offered to provide consultancy to farmers regarding tree plantation in farmlands. Shakti says, “I called on the number given in the ad and spoke to the agro-forestry consultant. I explained the problems that I was facing and they explained the concept of agro-forestry to me.”

Following this, a team from CAF India validated and Ernst Young supported NGO Isha visited his farm. They observed the weather, soil and water situation of his land and suggested species most suitable for his land. After gaining good knowledge of agro-forestry, Shakti planted timber trees such as Teak, Red Sanders, Malai Vembu and Vengai.

While talking about his experience he said, “Planting trees instead of sticking with traditional farming has saved me because now I am now able to manage my farm with available labour.” He was given 550 tree saplings from Isha Project Green Hands nursery and he planted them in his entire land.

For the past two years he has been practicing inter-cropping method and now the saplings have fully emerged with 90% survival rate. In addition to securing and ensuring his livelihood, the farm is contributing to the green cover. Now, Shakti’s farm has become a role model for other farmers in and around my village. He expresses his heartfelt gratitude towards Isha Project Green Hands agro-forestry team for their valuable guidance.

This was only possible with the generous support of employees of Ernst Young through CAF India’s workplace giving programme Give As You Earn.

ISHA NGO is a CAF India validated and supported NGO aided by our corporate partner Ernst Young through our workplace giving programme Give As You Earn