Two years ago, the 13 milk unions of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF --- better known as Amul) launched a mass tree plantation programme involving its milk producers. In its first year, the project saw Amul milk producers plant 18 lakh trees across 14,000 villages in Gujarat, in 2007 on a 'one member, one tree' basis.
Learning from the thumping success, the programme was scaled up in 2008. All the individual members of the GCMMF unions unanimously decided to plant a minimum of three trees per member milk producer.
Accordingly, saplings were distributed and a committment obtained to ensure that the sapling grew into trees. Members spread across 14,000 villages all over Gujarat planted approximately 53 lakh trees over three days from 13 to 15 August.
In the third year of this mass movement, the programme has been further scaled up and in order to enhance the tree cover faster, the board of directors of GCMMF have decided to contribute a sum of Rs2 crore to build infrastructure for the tree plantation drive. With active participation of milk unions, 127 nurseries have been set up all over Gujarat with necessary tools and equipment.
This year, distribution of saplings has been arranged as per the choice of farmers. The farmers were encouraged to select the place and prepare the land for the plantation in advance. This year the the mass plantation drive was spread over 1 month from 15 July to 15 August.
During this period, each milk producer member was encouraged to plant three to five trees. Milk producers decided to plant one crore trees. However, due to the scanty rains, they have so far been able to plant over 72 lakhs neem, mango, chickoo, babul, subabul, tamarind, and ber trees, among othetr varieties.
All the board members of village dairy cooperatives and district milk unions actively encouraged their members in ensuring the success of this movement.
The GCMMF board says, it now plans to further scale up the movement in the years ahead to turn Gujarat into the greenest state in the country.