Samunnati: Collective Growth

The Smart Power India (SPI) has a mission to deliver support services to help scale and replicate sustainable businesses that provide renewable electricity for productive use and expand economic activity in underserved, rural areas in India. The Rockfeller Foundation has been supporting the initiative since 2010, to address poverty through providing productive energy, a model that provides electricity/ power through mini-grids for lighting and business use. The SPI has been providing a range of support services to energy services Companies (ESCOs) or Distribution Companies (DISCOMs) that engage with the Smart Power for Rural Development Initiative. The support services include Community Engagement and Load Development to ESCOs or DISCOMs via NGO partner. This enables the identification and outreach to target customers through community events, campaigns, demand generation activities and customer acquisition activities.

The SPI and the RF are working together in certain power deficient pockets of the country to provide power backup to boost industrial inputs through small enterprise development for livelihoods promotion. Now the vision is that if rural livelihoods are promoted in a systematic manner on a reasonable scale it would generate employment and boost regional growth which would generate demand for power, and hence this vicious circle will become virtuous circle; a win-win situation for all. CARD is supposed to accomplish the role to facilitate this transition.

Key Interventions

The crucial decision matrixes for arriving at the proposed interventions are as follows:

  • The intervention should be not only market driven but also market relevant with a broad market base
  • The intervention should be local resource based
  • The intervention should not disturb the prevalent ecosystem of the community
  • The intervention should leverage the advantage of the prevalent practises and value chains in the community
  • Ample community willingness (community needs to be willing to contribute towards the intervention )
  • Risk mitigation mechanism is viable
  • Card India has ample expertise, experience and team bandwidth on the particular value chains

Based on the above decision matrix, the first intervention selected is as follows:

Apiculture: Honey and beekeeping have a long history in India, specially the selected pockets of UP. Several natural plant species provide nectar and pollen to honey bees. Thus, the raw material for production of honey is available free from nature. Bee hives neither demand additional land space nor do they compete with agriculture or animal husbandry for any input. The beekeeper needs only to spare a few hours in a week to look after his bee colonies. Beekeeping is therefore ideally suited to him as a part-time occupation.

The region is agriculture dominant with mustard as one of the main crop. It is proposed to tap the unused natural resource i.e. nectar (raw material for Honey) of mustard flowers and other nectar producing crops like vegetables and other nectar producing trees like Karanj and Kacnaar. Results have shown that there is increase in crop yield due to bee pollination.

Serial No. Crop Percentage increase in crop yield
1. Capsicum 227%
2. Tomato 160%
3. Chick pea 79.5%
4. Pigeon pea 133%
5. Mustard 75%
6. Brinjal 31%
7. Ridge Gourd 27%

Honey Processing: Honey being a biological substance and intended for food & pharmaceutical use needs greater attention in quality and its handling. The moisture content in honey plays an important role in deciding the quality of honey. Honey with more than 20% moisture is thinner in consistency. The moisture content in honey increases due to hygroscopic nature of honey in which the surrounding atmospheric moisture is absorbed by honey. If the moisture content is more than 20% the honey is liable to spoilage due to fermentation & granulation. Processing honey means liquefying and straining (or filtering) honey. Both of these operations usually require some application of heat to the honey. The heat has the dual effect of removing crystallization in natural honey, and to reduce the viscosity so that is can be filtered. The value of processed Honey is twice than raw Honey.

It is proposed to establish one Honey Processing Plant at cluster level. Honey processing Unit will have threefold impact.

The Bee-keeping farmers will have market right in their locality .This will facilitate them to realize fair value for their honey as;

  • The fresh honey post collection can be immediately sent to the centre to ensure a better quality of honey and lesser wastage
  • Farmers will also not have to spend on storage of the honey before sending it to a distant processing unit
  • The processing unit will facilitate in employment generation within the community
  • The processing unit will function as a gainful productive load to the regional micro grid.

With the use of modern collection, storage, beekeeping equipment, honey processing plants and bottling technologies the potential market can be tapped.

Development Objectives/Outcomes

The project aims to achieve the following development objectives / outcomes:

  • To initiate a sustainable and additional source of income to the community
  • To leverage the unused natural resources of productive use (crops for bee pollination/unused or wasted grains for poultry feeding etc.)
  • To create a reliable supply chain ( honey) for sustainability
  • To generate employment at local level
  • To create and skill community owned institutions to be able to own and manage the proposed value chains profitable post exit of Card India

Various components of the intervention are as follows:
  • Capacity building: This includes training and exposure of the beneficiaries. Exposure to beekeepers site and training at beekeeping research institutes. This will be done in the first year of the project.
  • Institutional Building: It starts from beneficiary selection and then the process of aggregating the beneficiary in to Common Interest Group (CIG)/ Self Help Group (SHG) will start. For sustainability of the programme an apex body i.e. Farmer Producer Company will be established. The company will have all the beneficiaries as their shareholders.
  • Livelihood activity: The proposed livelihood activities i.e. beekeeping, Honey Processing, Hatchery and Poultry will be implemented after the assessment of potential beneficiaries.
  • Procurement Plan: Under Beekeeping activity the bee boxes will be procured from registered beekeepers from Bihar and Haryana. Initially one lot of bee boxes with colony will be procured and for the next season the additional bee colony developed locally will be used. This will give an additional income to the beekeeper.
    • The broiler variety which looks like Desi (indigenous) will be procured from recognised government institutes/ universities. This gives an additional / premium price to the poultry farmer.
    • The Honey Processing Plant will be procured from registered manufacturers have good track record and in consultation with Central Bee Research Institute, Puna.

  • Marketing: It initiates from market study and demand assessment for the products. As per the supply and demand the marketing strategy will be planned for assured supply. The poultry already has a ready local market. The product Honey will be linked with already established Value Chain and established Brand i.e. Madhura”( built and owned by Card India)