The African Pavilion is a community inside Auroville town. It is a connecting bridge between Africa and India in strengthening the cultural exchange and promoting global unity through a variety of diverse events, internships, volunteering opportunities and community building. It is a place enriched with natural beauty with dorm service, restaurant that serves vegan African cuisine, kitchen garden farms and much more. Hear it from the project manager of The African pavilion about this beautiful paradise.
Bringing you the story of an environmental leader who strives to bring back the medical herbs through working with diverse forests and bringing women as a collective to create forest based products and educating the world about it.
Writing this from a village called Malikipuram, East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, located 2kms from Mori which is India’s first smart village. I am surrounded with a long unexplored path hooked with rural India. This did not happen as a part of the plan yet it feels like everything that ever happened to me was for today. So many reasons for not relocating could not shake my urge to finally leave the city that embarked me to set free. Amongst memories woven by Hyderabad, Bhopal, San Fransisco and Rajahmundry I was inclined to take the interior route down south , by the river and on the edge of where that river meets the sea.
I imagined flashes of this dream a few years back while I was understanding the real meaning of impact. Being here isn’t feeling new but takes me back somewhere constantly, where I saw the parts this world from elsewhere. People who can unlock their happiness to me and people whom I can share my life with. Moving to a village with a population of 7000 people brought me closer to that dream of empowerment.
Education has given me a platform to imagine and question. Life came in various patterns asking me if I was sure. Near ones baffled to some extent added with slight amount of my self bafflement about moving from a metro city to a three tier village. Unrest inside settled only as the time passed by, meeting new people who came in form of assurance, availability of high quality basic resources increasing my quality of life, livelihoods hidden under sceneries, food that reminds of my grandmother and generosity covered by real problems in rural India.
The beauty of a village is that it can withstand pain and still be able to give. A village understands who is true just by a look in the eye. It is not possible to manipulate a village dweller because there is a strong relationship that binds people with each other and their customs and traditions coming from hundreds of years. A village is home to collection of skills, farming , and traditions. There is more to learn than change from our villages in today’s context.
As a part of my project I began researching the local products and endangered skills. I learnt the urgency hovering on fading arts of our country that remained as livelihood to thousands for decades. My visit turned into a decision that changed my life forever. Here I am, representing rural India to the rest of the world. I feel surprised by it’s beauty and suffering co existing. This opens me up to an opportunity for belonging here. More power to rural India.
Written by Sahithi Divi @chintalanka, East Godavari
Fruit Supply Chain
The East Godavari seems like the fruit garden of Andhra Pradesh region tremendously yields a variety of fruits standing a commendable market across the world. Producing large scale local fruits like mangoes, coconut, banana, palm, pineapple, coco, guava, water apple, custard apple, water melon, pomegranate, citrus varieties, papaya, grapes and also diversifying into premium crops like dragon fruits, strawberries to exotic varieties. Tropical vibe sown by sandy and clay soil from the other ends of Godavari provide livelihood to hamlets of tribal migrants who farm and paralelly look for work.
Although it projects a high volume economy there is a fragile supply chain vulnerable to numerous factors. Beauty laden by scraps of pained lives by farming conditions, wastage around logistic mismanagement, fruit vendors facing scarce shelf life affects, unsustainable packaging methods worsening the ecosystem for farming ultimately, washed away by extreme weather conditions and still finally leading to an unhappy consumer due to quality adulterations intervened by technology.
From the recent years government has been providing verified seeds and required information to the farmer regarding the weather , soil , yield storage , market price etc. Definitely progressing still unable to translate into financial gains primarily making it an irreversible loss. If one time’s produce becomes a victim of climate, inflation, lockdown or reduced selling platforms , farmers give away their produce for throw away prices after all the exploitation by markets lead by institutional change induced by demand on customer. Farmer is not aware of the scope of his product if value added.
A farmer who is below the poverty line can maximum work for a leased land and share promised profits depending on the land owner. The exploitation can occur from both the ends shadowed by a complete perspective of the middle men who face the market realities and competition amongst the wholesale dealers at the auction cluster. The produce is divided according to the shelf life , cost , distance to be travelled, packing cost, transportation logistics and human resources like traders. That is when the fruits reach the face of retail terrains for a consumer dominated universe of space deficiency, competitive pricing, storing facility, advertisement , marketing efficiency , sales, retail and individual sellers.
Consumer on the other hand can choose from the platter of online , onsite and home delivery options. The customer becomes the confused object seems like enjoying a variety of options unconsciously gets looped in loosing track of the farm to mouth supply chain transparency , real costs and quality manipulations.
Seed companies, Agri tech companies , Farmer benefit organisations, green start ups and crop influencers are working on rural innovations and ground issues. There is threat related with technologies that solve the problems on temporary basis without a collaborative effort of subject professionals.
The social paradise of the whole informal structure of rural fruit distribution mixed up with large pieces of corporate agriculture led farming where the farmer is over powered with information and course of direction but provided with welfare and betterment initiatives. It is very important to understand the foundational story behind all the products that we use or intake. Being aware helps us progress as a conscious buyer who is promoting a sustainable product where the money is equally distributed to beneficiaries.
Challenges And Opportunities
Absence of platforms creating awareness about perishable food industry
Small scale farming is struggling for market linkages
Manipulation in organic farming – adulterated organics
Absence of innovation due to retainment of talent at villages
Our educational system is not promoting agriculture based courses that will create local jobs and solve local problems
Scope in packaging
Encourage kitchen gardens by homemakers and provide micro market linkages and empower
Value addition is opening up new markets but it is a threat to farmers as the increase in number of middle men puts pressure on the farmer to sell the produce at a throw away cost.
Transportation challenges , shelf life, processing based on demand.
Inclusion of the uneducated segment or the educated but unemployed segment into execution on large scale
Buy local promotion
For more information or consultation services please email to me – email@example.com