About Custom Draft
There was no “eureka moment” that catalyzed Under The Mango Tree. Rather, combining the realities that prevail in rural India with the objective of diversifying livelihoods and improving rural incomes lead to Under The Mango Tree.During Vijaya’s work with rural farmers over the course of two decades, she helped them search out potential livelihood options, develop village-based business plans and gave them the confidence and training to organize themselves and explore micro-finance options for better business options. However, the biggest problem was finding sustainable and long-term markets that empowered, rather than exploited, these farmers. Thus, Vijaya was determined to find a viable solution to markets that desired quality organic certified, all-natural products but had a limited and inconsistent chain of suppliers.
A key problem for a primary Indian producer is access to markets. The current value chain for agricultural commodities – from plough to the plate – is long and tenuous, with many intermediaries. Farm gate prices available to Indian farmers are often only 25% of the retail price. Finding remunerative markets is an acute problem for small farmers. Agriculture supports more than half of India’s population.
One key problem she confronted was that small beekeeping societies across India produced various flavors of honey that never reached urban markets. While India’s diverse flora led to production of orange blossom, cardamom, litchi, sweet clover and various regional honeys, the urban consumer was only given a single kind of uniform tasting honey. Furthermore, the typical value chain for agricultural commodities–from plough to plate–is long, arduous and unprofitable: farm gate prices available to Indian farmers are often only 25% of the retail price. As bees play a crucial role as pollinators in increasing agricultural productivity, a powerful idea began to take shape: what if farmers were trained to add bee boxes on farms to facilitate cross-pollination and provided markets to sell the honey collected?
Establish a fair-trade market for locally produced honey that is natural, organic and sustainable.
When choosing the name of the organization, we wanted to highlight our mission of supporting marginal farmers in an environmental-friendly and sustainable way. In Indian villages, especially those located in dry, semi-arid regions, a mango tree often stands out in the open space. Under its inviting shade, farmers rest after a morning’s harvest, children catch their breath after playing under the sun’s rays and women share stories on their return from the local well. A community bonds. Wandering traders eyeing a potential sale stop by to offer their wares…villagers learn about the changes in the world outside their own…traders discover the needs of the rural producer. Each group–-rested and more learned–-moves on. Yet, each individual will remember the respite offered by the mango tree’s shade. Thus, “Under The Mango Tree” is a metaphor calling to mind the areas we work in and the people we work for.