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In 3 Yrs, Over 200 Drought-Hit Farmers Got 30,000+ Fruit Saplings, Now Each Earn Up To Rs 2 Lakh Extra

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Years ago, farmer Meda Mallaiah from Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh used to cultivate only rain-fed crops like bajra, horse gram, groundnut and pulses, in his meagre landholding of eight acres. Rains were abundant in monsoon and the harvest would be enough for Mallaiah to sustain his family.

Gradually, with aggravating climate change, the rains declined, so did Mallaiah’s annual yield; so much so that after a point, he had to move to Bengaluru in search of alternative livelihood options. A true son of the soil was now forced to survive doing menial jobs in dingy urban lanes.

Mallaiah was just one among many hundreds of farmers who were pushed to the edge by consistent droughts in Anantapur, which soon emerged to be one of the most drought-prone regions in the country. Many migrated out. The unfortunate ones who could not, perished in a tragic death. Farmer suicide rates skyrocketed within a few years.

Fast forward today, Meda Mallaiah is back to his roots, now a happy mango cultivator from Anantapur.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

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All credits go to Kapil Sharma from Say Trees

The credits must be given to Kapil Sharma, and his amazing work with farmers through his organisation Say Trees. Since 2015, Say Trees has helped 61 farmers in Anantapur plant over 28,000 fruit-bearing saplings, which is now their source for a sizeable parallel income.

Mallaiah shares, “I returned and planted mango as an intercrop, interspersed seasonally with the usual crops. Now, traders are approaching with offers in one or two lakh rupees to buy my mango harvest each year.”

It must be mentioned here that Say Trees has also helped the farmers to set up highly effective drip irrigation facilities in their farms, which conserves a lot of water. As the state government offers subsidies to farms with drip irrigation, this is also reducing investment cost for the cultivators.

Inspiration behind the farmers’ project in Anantapur

Till 2015, Say Trees’ work has been restricted in the urban domain. They were planting patches of dense green forests in the concrete jungle of Bengaluru. Talking to Efforts For Good, Say Trees founder Kapil Sharma shares his motivation behind launching the project with farmers.

“In 2015, I was invited to attend World Forestry Congress, organised by United Nations in Durban, South Africa. The convention gave me a deep insight into agroforestry, and how it is solving agrarian crises in a number of developing countries. At that time, farmer suicides was a haunting reality in India. I decided to stand beside the helpless farmers at such trying times,” he narrates.

Kapil had acquaintances in drought-hit Anantapur, where he decided to pilot his initiative. Persuading the farmers to grow fruit trees in a portion of their land was a cakewalk, as the distressed farmers were seeking an additional source of income. Eleven farmers came forward with approximately five acres of land each, who Say Trees supplied with 4,000 fruit-bearing saplings of mango, jamun, guava, pomegranate, chikoo, amla etc.

The impact was visible soon

Within a year, the trees bore fruit in plenty. “This would not have been possible without sheer dedication from the farmers, who braved the scorching heat to maintain their fruit saplings. Even in such a dry district, the saplings had an unbelievable survival rate of over 90%,” reveals Kapil.

At present, the farmers gain a minimum of Rs 60,000 to Rs 2,00,000 extra annual income from the fruit trees.

However, the impact of the fruit trees cannot simply be measured in monetary terms, feels Kapil. “The trees are helping to improve the green cover. That, in turn, is helping to raise the groundwater table and soil retention rate, which holds the key to end the droughts in the near future,” he shares.

Working with Maharashtra farmers

Previously, many farmers were heavily dependent on the surrounding natural forests for timber, fodder and other forest-based resources. To alleviate the pressure on the natural vegetation, Kapil and his team are planning to supply timber saplings to the farmers in the upcoming plantation season. They want to curb the dependence of these farmers on the forest while creating an alternative earning prospect.

In 42 villages of Maharashtra, Say Trees has contributed over 5,000 coconut saplings to 204 farmers. “We worked with farmers in villages and suburbs like Dhansar, Tembhode, Dapoli, Umroli, Ambedkar Nagar etc. All of these are located along the coastal belt, where coconut trees will flourish easily,” details Kapil.

Tamil Nadu features next on the list for Say Trees farmers’ project, where they look forward to replicating their successful initiatives of Anantapur.

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Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
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KHAANACHAHIYE: Fighting Hunger In COVID19

94,06,607 Raised
Out of 1,00,00,000

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Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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