KTK-BELT created this program in 2016 to target local farmers and build their capacity for conservation, obtaining in exchange commitments to mitigate poaching, land grabbing and habitat loss. We adopt a two-way approach of investing in training, capacity building and other “software” so as to build the talent and capacity of individuals and institutions, while also obtaining certain commitments or promises from the farmer which help advance larger conservation goals and expand our team on the ground.
Each BELT Farmer received a special BELT farmer card which contains a QR code allowing KTK-BELT to track their volunteer activities and conservation contributions. Farmers can receive points which entitle them to special benefits and opportunities, making the BELT farmer program a merit-based system.
They have signed a contract committing to not selling their land holdings for a period of seven years, committing to conservation of endangered fauna and flora of their geographic regions, monitoring their local Learning Grounds, providing one day a month volunteer work for their local Learning Grounds, moving towards organic farming, creating their own learning grounds within their farmsteads.
In return, KTK-BELT and YPLG supports them with on-site trainings in permaculture, organic farming, bio-intensive farming, exposure visits to national and international farms. We will also support them with plant materials and small seed funding relating to sustainable farming techniques. They have unrestricted access to all Learning Grounds facilities such as eco-libraries, meeting halls, reading spaces and other community infrastructure. We provide technical expertise and assist with finding suitable markets under the KTK-BELT label.
Kumar Bishwakarma, Rajeev Goyal, Wangchu Bhutia