USAID, Vignan’s Foundation collaborate to boost agroforestry, mitigate climate change in Andhra Pradesh

USAID, Vignan’s Foundation collaborate to boost agroforestry, mitigate climate change in Andhra Pradesh

GUNTUR: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Vignan’s Foundation for Science, Technology, and Research inaugurated a new, cutting-edge tree nursery at Vadlamudi, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh on Friday. The nursery contributed to local and national climate change mitigation goals by boosting plant production to sequester carbon while harnessing the latest agroforestry tools to bolster the resilience of Andhra Pradesh’s farming system.

The high-tech nursery became a central hub in the state for large-scale propagation of indigenous tree species, with the capacity to produce one million healthy plants annually, adding to the state’s carbon sink. The nursery was equipped with advanced technologies, including automated irrigation, fertigation, and climate control systems. With these tools, the nursery was poised to play a pivotal role in supplying quality planting material to farmers and other tree growers, building climate resilience, and empowering local communities in their agroforestry endeavors.

Veena Reddy, Mission Director at USAID, said, “This collaboration built upon decades of U.S.-India cooperation, now advancing shared global development priorities, particularly mitigating climate change by investing in climate-smart agriculture practices. Through this productive new nursery in Guntur, USAID collaborated with the government and academic institutions in India to expand tree cover outside of forest areas, which contributed to our mutual climate change goals, enhanced carbon sequestration, and increased farmer incomes.”

Lavu Rathaiah, Chairman, and Chancellor of Vignan’s Foundation for Science, Technology, and Research, said, “Vignan’s Foundation is committed to strengthening the science of plant propagation and best practices in nursery management. We aimed to not only educate students but also nurture a cohort of progressive nursery managers equipped with practical knowledge and skills who would contribute to the advancement of agroforestry in the country.”

Manoj Dabas, Chief of Party at the Trees Outside Forests in India (TOFI) Program, said, "The establishment of the high-tech nursery reflected the collective commitment of the government, research organisation, and educational institution to advance agroforestry systems such as trees outside forests in the state. This state-of-the-art facility was not only a testament to our dedication to environmental conservation but also a strategic step in fulfilling the core objectives of the Trees Outside Forests in India (TOFI) Program. By leveraging the latest technology, we aimed to amplify the impact of our agroforestry initiatives, promoting sustainable practices and fostering innovation.”

This initiative was a key advancement in the Trees Outside Forests in India (TOFI) Program, a five-year collaboration between USAID and India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MOEFCC), implemented by a consortium led by the Centre for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF). Nationally launched in September 2022, the TOFI program fostered collaboration among farmers, government agencies, and private institutions to expand tree coverage rapidly. These efforts enhanced carbon sequestration and ecosystem services in seven states, including Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh.

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