Thickening fruity air
A movement for biodiversity and nutrition by planting fruit trees
It will definitely be very difficult for someone to say whether he or she has ever seen any nest of birds on the branches of Eucalyptus, Acacia, Mahogany, Raintree and Shishu. These exotic hardwood species which absorb huge water have also no contribution to meeting the demand for nutrition. Nevertheless, such a kind of trees which have no contribution to biodiversity and nutrition are being widely planted across the country only for wood and fiscal return. On the other hand, the fruit trees such as Mango, Blackberry and Jackfruit meet the demand for nutrition and timber along with facilitating the biodiversity in the context of Bangladesh.
The amount of cultivable land is decreasing day by day in the densely-populated Bangladesh. Fortunately, its land is very fertile. Taking into account huge population and limited land, Folodo Bangladesh Foundation, run by young and aged volunteers, came up with a move to plant fruit trees in different districts. The volunteers think that the planting of fruit trees should be the first priority in case of increasing greenery for the sake of national nutrition and ecosystem. Their logics of emphasising the planting of fruit trees can be mentioned here. Fruit trees help reduce nutritional deficit, accelerate the economic prosperity reducing the dependence on fruit imports. Such trees reduce the application of harmful chemicals and maintain the balance of the environment by ensuring food and habitat for birds and insects. Fruit trees also play a role protecting the land's fertility along with facilitating the national culture of gifting fruits of home stead trees to relatives and friends.
Giving preference to planting fruit trees, the Folodo Bangladesh Foundation has been trying to raise a fruit tree plantation movement all over the country for 10 years. The Foundation's volunteers think that their job of planting local fruit trees will create awareness among others about their responsibilities in tackling the harmful effects of global warming and carbon emissions. They think the planting of fruit trees at a higher rate will facilitate a significant and combined contribution to the country's nutrition, economic development and protection of biodiversity and global environmental development.
Folodo Bangladesh Foundation has been working with this concept and plan for the last 10 years. The Bengali word 'Folodo' means fruitful. It is a fruit tree planting and ecology sensitive voluntary organisation. The thousands of volunteers of this organisation are dedicated to planting edible, fruitful trees around Bangladesh instead of planting exotic wood-based trees which is harmful for its ecosystem. This organisation encourages planting more fruit trees suitable for the local environment instead of exotic wood-based tress to benefit the environment and all its inhabitants. Volunteers of Folodo Bangladesh Foundation are working in different districts of the country.
The volunteers of Folodo Bangladesh have already planted about 275,000 fruit trees in several upazilas and villages of 56 districts of Bangladesh utilising their own limited financial resources. Due to the organisation's special planting method, at least 95 per cent of the planted trees already survived. Because no trees we planted in abandoned, unprotected or unsuitable places. So most of the trees we have planted are now bearing fruits, and those fruits are directly providing nourishment and money to the people of the country as well as providing food and shelter for the animals. One of the objectives of Folodo Bangladesh is to work for the development of food and habitat of these animals besides human beings. One of the reasons for the loss of birds or biodiversity in any region is the lack of suitable food and habitat for them.
The Folodo Bangladesh Foundation thus is working on a plan to plant fruit trees at every house in 64 districts of the country. The foundation's goal is to plant at least 50 million fruit trees directly and indirectly across Bangladesh by 2030 and contribute to ensuring proper solutions to the problems of the nation's environment, nutrition and economy by making people aware. And it is being expected that 15 years later from now, one third of the national budget can be achieved from these fruit trees.
The foundation believes that the country's people must think about their biodiversity, food security, financial security, nutrition and guaranteed sources of vitamins are being destroyed through wrong aforestation across the country. On the other hand, Mango, Blackberry, Jackfruit, Litchi, Gab, Palm, Tamarind, Guava, Olive, Bell or Neem, Telsur, Garjan, Nageshwar and many other fruit and medicinal plants can also be sources of high quality wood.
Besides planting fruit trees, the foundation's aim is to work on various methods and processes to make people aware of this issue. Every monsoon, Folodo Bangladesh Foundation works in different districts and villages. This monsoon the foundation worked from house to house in 9 districts of Rangpur and Sylhet divisions, with distribution of fruit saplings and awareness leaflets. The foundation's volunteers believe that fruits can also save the world as reliance on fruits and fruit trees at higher rates will also play an important role in preventing our global environmental catastrophe and global warming.
The writer is the general secretary of Folodo Bangladesh Foundation, [email protected]