Under the Mango Tree, India
Ankita Sinha on June 4, 2018 in Environment
70% of Indian rural population have their livelihood dependent directly or indirectly upon agriculture, out of which 80% are marginal farmers, who at most own 2 hectares of land. There used to be a time when India was a "Krishi Pradhan" desh. Today, the condition of these same farmers who earned India this title is beyond what any of us sitting in our moderately well-off homes can imagine.
From rural money-lenders and jamindars whose only purpose seems to be to make profit out of the ill-informedness and helplessness of these farmers, to the middle-men who have always played a pivotal role in devoiding them the fare share of profits that their crops have yielded, the situation nowhere seems to be in their favour. Let alone a billion government policies for farmers, out of which hardly 1% see fruitful implementations.
The drastically changing weather conditions don't seem to help with the rain either. And the irony is, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Given the scenario, no one will be surprised to know that 11% of all suicide cases in India are constituted by farmers, every year. We can hardly expect to go far as a country if our annadaata himself is perishing and suffering so deeply.
What the country needs is clearly not countless obsolete policies. The Indian farmer is done with half-hearted efforts and baseless promises, the alarming need of the hour being meaningful and concrete efforts, even if they appear tiny in the beginning. One of such tiny initiatives is the foundation called Under the Mango Tree. Tiny if measured against the enormity of the problem, but efficient enough to make a difference, slow but steady.
The basic methodology that UTMT applies is beekeeping, a practice that increases crop yields by increasing pollination, thus helping the farmers earn more. The foundation works on training the rural people in the skill of beekeeping, that includes hunting naturally occurring bee colonies, transferring them into wooden bee boxes and then letting the bees do their job. A single beebox which holds around 20 to 40 thousand bees is capable of pollinating an area of radius 2 km.
Apart from having the bees pollinate the area, the foundation also extends support to the farmers in selling their production of the honey. They help in extraction of natural honey produced in these beeboxes, process and packs it and provide an online market where the villages can sell their honey directly to the urban consumers. All this without any intervention of the middlemen who eat up a majority of the profit in the way.
As a result, the farmers get two-folds earnings- one from the increased crop yield and another from the honey produced with the beekeeping. Besides, the local carpenters see a hike in their employment rate as they receive orders to manufacture beeboxes.
The foundation has a team of master-trainers who teach people the skills of bee-keeping, bee-veil making, and honey processing. The training is given to both men and women, making them employable and productive for life. This brings in a much higher and sustainable flow of capital than conventional practices.
Owing to all the efforts put in by Under the Mango Tree in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, yield of crops like tomato, cashew, flat bean, chick pea, mustard and mango has seen notable increase in the last few years.
Though we still have a long way to go, its the tiny steps of determined and consistent people that manifest into bigger changes. One area at a time, UTMT aims to uplift the poverty-ridden rural population, providing them the means to fend for themselves, making our providers fulfilled and our country prosperous.
To read more about the inspirational work they are doing, visit Under the Mango Tree today!