Modern Verna’s luxurious cabin has spacious, cooled front seats, red metal brackets on the vents and the surrounding space, which is a good place to reflect the bees. We are on the way back from a small tribal village near the town of Palgar Tala Sari, and just took a refresher course on bees, their role in pollination, and the importance of keeping more bees around. In short, without bees, it would be difficult for humans to live. Bees pollinate about 70% of about 100 crop species. These crops feed about 90% of the world’s population. Without bees, there would be few vegetables, fruits and a bunch of other things that we all like-imagine a world, for example, only the rich can afford mangoes and coffee. To make matters worse, factors such as climate change and pesticides are killing bees all over the world.
But wait, why are we talking about bees? Well, our new perspective on bees is due to the excellent work done by a hybrid organization called Under The Mango Tree. UTMT was founded by Vijaya Pastala in 2009 and has two departments: UTMT Society, which trains small farmers in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh to use indigenous bees for beekeeping, and UTMT Company, which is funded by the Social Impact Fund. support. The latter sells organic honey from farmers and other beekeeper cooperatives online and in several high-end stores. Talasari is about a three-hour drive from Mumbai, and is an ideal place to learn how beekeeping can help small farmers increase crop productivity and income.
This is a day for driving. The weather is mild, and the light is the color of beer. We like to drive the huge torque of Hyundai Verna’s refined 1.0-liter Kappa Turbo GDI engine, which rewards keen drivers. Verna’s power and dynamic design complement each other. With its dynamic nose, eye-catching grille and arched roofline, Hyundai’s fiery red star sedan stands out on the highway and in the villages full of rice fields around Talasari.
Prior to founding UTMT, Vijaya Pastala, who has a master’s degree in regional planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, worked for more than 20 years in institutions such as the World Bank, the European Commission and the Aga Khan Foundation, and was responsible for multiple rural livelihood projects.
Pastala has no connection with bees since the word go. “I have always known that if I start my own business, I will do something around my core competence-natural resource management. When I lived in an apple orchard in Himachal Pradesh, this idea impressed me. Big Most Indian farmers are marginal or small-scale farmers. Through beekeeping, they can not only increase yields, but also obtain additional income from selling honey,” Pastara said. She added that, on average, beekeeping can increase production by 30-60%. Pastara said the degree of increase depends on the type of crop. “Some vegetables and oilseeds have increased even more, close to 60%, while others, such as beans, have increased by close to 30%.”
It seems that no one else had similar thoughts before. But Pastara said that unlike other low-cost beekeeping programs, UTMT has trained farmers on its own land for more than a year. The first few years were difficult, but over time, as farmers and tribes became more enthusiastic about them and became familiar with the complexities of beekeeping, more of them joined the ranks.
UTMT Society has worked with more than 4,000 farmers in more than 175 villages in three states to provide beekeeping kits (a box of bees and protective equipment). “Each box contains 30,000-40,000 bees, and each farmer can sell up to 12 kilograms of honey per year,” Pastara said. The UTMT Association mainly cooperates with native bees Apis cerana indica and Trigona. They are excellent pollinators and are relatively resistant to many infectious diseases.
Hyundai Motor may make some of the best SUVs in India, but the capacity or appeal of its cars is undiminished. For example, Verna feels and acts like a car from the upper part. The weight of the steering wheel is good, the car shows extraordinary composure on winding roads, and the dual-clutch automatic transmission enhances the driving experience in cities and highways. And, in a truly modern style, this car is equipped with many good things: a stand-alone 8-inch touch screen, a digital instrument panel, a Blue Link networked car system with more than 50 connectivity functions, and paddle shifters. Whether you are wandering around small villages in the hinterland during rush hour traffic, the Hyundai Verna is a complete sedan.
Just before we headed to Talasari for lunch-the villagers were entertained and offered some great tea, a hot green chutney, we watched the villagers work with the bees-cleaning the hives, checking “their” bees Whether everything is normal, and treat them with care and respect. Like us, people who might have distanced themselves from the hive a few years ago have now established close relationships with bees. Under the mango tree—society and companies—have worked with more than 40,000 of them so far. Even if they have a positive impact on people’s lives, the work of these organizations can help achieve a greater goal: to return the bees.