Around 2000 years ago 84% of Western Europe was covered in trees, today it’s a mere 34%. Whereas half the tree cover in the eastern part of North America was depleted between the 17th -18th century for timber and to make way for farmlands. Similarly, the world over, countries and land pockets once green and verdant are now facing the threat of desertification and its devastating impact. Loss of habitat, soil erosion, reduction in crop cover, adverse impact on rural livelihoods, inflation are only some of the obvious outcomes of having a reduced tree cover. However, positive recourse is possible, for those who care to act. Allcargo Group, for whom Care for Environment and Society is a core value, has been consistently working to green the earth through its CSR arm Avashya Foundation’s unique initiative, Maitree.
In alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 12 – Responsible Production and 13 – Consumption & Climate Action, Maitree was launched in 2016. With wholehearted support from employees who eagerly participated in these plantation drives, and the help of partner NGOs, the global logistics conglomerate will reach its milestone of planting over 830,000 trees – a step closer to its goal of 1 million trees.
Life comes full circle for Maitree
The aim of Maitree has always been two-fold – secure the local systems by planting trees and secure the livelihoods of local farmers, who can sell the produce to diversify their incomes.
And this year, life came full circle for the Maitree programme – the mango saplings planted years back in Karjat and Mokhada regions of Maharashtra, have not only grown into trees but have also borne fruit.
To help farmers to sell their produce, a one-day mango festival was organized at Allcargo’s Head Office in Mumbai, India. Team members wholeheartedly lent their support and bought over a 1000 dozen mangoes, making it a lucrative business for the farmers to look after the environment by following sustainable agricultural practices.
Securing the environment and the needs of local farmers
In order to maximise the impact of the Maitree initiative, the intervention locations are chosen after careful identification of various parameters which are indicative of communities being marginalized and identifying the right individuals. Creating awareness of the benefits of this initiative, as well as providing guidance is an integral part of the project, to ensure they are invested.
In addition to mangoes, 11 types of fruit bearing trees such as moringa, custard apple, guava, cashew and bamboo have been planted. The farmers are empowered with knowledge and best practices to ensure the trees survive and bear fruit.
Further, the farmers are helped to form co-operatives to leverage the power of aggregation to get better rates for their produce.
While the issue of climate change is made worse by issues such as deforestation, one can take a leaf out of Maitree’s success in creating tangible change for the environment and the local communities.