Forest land that was lying idle in the past is being put to good use by tribals of ‘Boricha Mal’ village. Today they supplement the growth of paddy with vegetables under the horticulture project implemented by Sakav in partnership with Aid for change, for a region that is home for marginalized adivasis from the Thakar tribe.
In the midst of the legal battles to claim rightful ownership of land under the Forest Rights Act these green patches growing near river banks and foothills are contributing towards food security and income for the adivasis.
One such initiative that is bringing a positive result for Namya Dore and his family is the sale of marigold flowers (zendu) on his acre and half land that adjoins the paddy field. Helping him out is his son Madhukar Dore who is also the village Youth President and wants the village to adopt more environment friendly practices like these and the kitchen gardens to improve financial security.
With the recently concluded festivals of Dussehra and upcoming Diwali, these flowers are in much demand at the markets in Nagothne and Pen and rates fluctuate from rupees 50 to 60 per kg when the demand is more. It is a picturesque sight to take in the flowers growing in numbers and like the patch being taken care by Madhukar they come in myriad colors. “With the abundance of festivals and celebrations including puja these flowers have a daily demand,” says Madhukar.
They also cultivate tomatoes, chilies and bitter gourd that is sold in the domestic market and used for personal consumption. “There was a time we only ate rice but now the color green is a part of our diet and who ever thought flowers which grew wild here would turn into a profitable business,” says the father and gets back to threshing the rice that has got soaked with an unexpected shower of overnight rain.