Ekasha- an aspiration to save natures' gifts

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Ekasha- an aspiration to save natures' gifts: Solutions from past for problems of present for a better future

New Delhi, IndiaKaimur (Bhabua), India
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Green revolution and cash crops helped in food security for ever growing population but created unforeseen troubles too. For example, slowly extinction of wild and indigenous fruits once we savored. Encouraging plantation of these fruits will help in conservation & boosting sustainable livelihood.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we secure and assort food basket without degrading natural diversity and resources
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There are numerous varieties of wild fruits in the Vindhya and Chandraprabha regions (North east of India). These fruits are so rich in taste & nutrition also very thriving in nature and have a great potential for market. Despite all these peculiarities they are slowly disappearing. This leads to a question, what can be done to conserve these delicious nature treats to serve present and future population, keeping in mind food security of India?

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Initially, Ekasha will build databases of existing wild and indigenous varieties of fruits, cultivation practices through visiting local areas & documenting traditional ecological knowledge consulting from experienced local people. There is also documentation of dry land and degraded land due to intense cropping and deforestation. Plantation of plant can be done like first plant a crop which is annual in nature and then biennial and perennial on a small area like pilot plantation. A field visit will be organized for information and promotion of plantation and extension of these fruits crops. There can be a Efficient cultivation methods, post harvest practices and technology for further processing of fruits to fetch more money can
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

I met a student who was working in my laboratory & was about to graduate and join his family farming occupation. However, he was concerned about deteriorating agricultural conditions, high production cost and low profit. Based on my experience I suggested him to grow wild and indigenous fruit varieties. Since, these plants are sustainable, very adaptive and have ability to encounter changing climatic conditions. He was quite convinced with this idea and decided to do a trial on a small scale. He planted some wild varieties of fruits like Makoy, ber, badahal which were once widely used. The first harvest resulted in good production & fetched good market price hence nice profit. He was so encouraged and decided to expand the plantation area.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We analysed the revenue of initial 1.5 acres of plantation. Though the income was less but profit was huge in comparison to rice and wheat. This is because of reduction in initial plantation cost which was 1% of rice and wheat. Use of organic manure produced on farm led to 100% reduction in fertilizer cost. Irrigation cost reduced to 1/10 of original cost as the water consumption of these plants was 5% of prevalent crops (rice and wheat). Addition of almost 0.3% of land in food production. The fruits were grown organically so, less environmental degradation. Increase in landscape and improved soil structure. In long term it will help in replenishing ground water level. Most importantly, it increases diversity in food basket and nutritional availability. Increase in green cover. This unique idea attracted other farmers in this area, as land and climatic conditions are degrading rapidly.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Our long term aim is to help farmers manage economic and environmental risks by planting wild and indigenous varieties of fruits. This is a step towards conservation of plant species from being extinct. We can also preserve indigenous knowledge about use of these fruits which will otherwise be lost in time. These fruits can be helpful in developing new products /flavours which can help in creating niche market. Links with food industries can be established. Hence, increase the revenue for rural communities. We will promote this idea to national and international level to save wild plants.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Initial investment costs are very low. In case farmer needs support then we can approach to banks which provide credit based on current agriculture crops in field. Moreover, there are also many government schemes and subsidies to help the farmers. Developing value chains and small agribusinesses for these fruits will enable us to generate revenue by taking advantage of commercial opportunities they offer.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are some programs in India promoting afforestation, cultivation of cash crop using chemicals or contract farming. However, there is least focus on preservation of wild and indigenous fruit varieties in order to promote sustainable livelihood/agriculture. Therefore, we can say that our project and produces both are unique. Ultimately, we are trying to develop geographical indications and traditional specialties (PDO, PGI and TSG). These specialities will offer a unique opportunity for buyer and seller of these products. Moreover, we can sell these products in International market too.
Team

Founding Story

As a botany student I have explored forests & relished indigenous & wild fruits but these fruits were not available in the market. This left me wondering. In the meantime I started working on the impact of climate change on agriculture & came to know that it is badly affecting the yield of rice and wheat. Cropping pattern in India mostly for food crops is and will be affected due to these global changes. In contrast, wild/indigenous species are still able to flourish and produce. Then I realized the potential of wild species of food crops. However, their contribution is very low to food security due to negligence. I found it is logical to grow wild fruits which can be a sustainable way to agriculture, livelihood & saving biodiversity.

Team

We are a four member team; Shilpi Misra (founder) an Environmental Engineer and climate change specialist. Nageshwar Patel (Advisor and planner) an Agricultural and Food engineering graduate. Pradyut Tiwari (Technical and Field coordinator) an Agricultural Engineer specialist in irrigation and field planning and MBA in global business management. Laleshawar Nath Patel (Local farming community leader) involve in farming since,1989.
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