Coconut Nursery and Plantation Project in Sunderban Area

Coconut Nursery and Plantation Project in Sunderban

In 2008, Mukti and other, a socio-economic development organization, started the plantation of coconut trees along with other NGO’s, through coconut nurseries in different parts of South 24 Paraganas under the Central Government Scheme MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme), through which government is able to create more jobs for rural job card holders. BOCI (British Oxygen Company India) is also associated with Mukti to strengthen this effort towards reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in order to mitigate global warming. 

This project, named NaRKEL (Natural Revolution with Koconut for Ecology and Livelihood) after the Bengali word for coconut, aims to increase local employment opportunities by developing industries based on the coconut and its by-products. At the same time, the project is building up momentum for a campaign towards the widespread utilization of coconut plants, which are valuable in terms of food, environment, and protection against floods by resisting erosion of embankments. The implementation of this scheme has improved the quality of life of thousands of poor people and has created an alternative source of income for them. These plants have converted large barren lands into tracts of greenery. After the success of the last 3 years, Mukti is now optimistic about increasing coconut production in West Bengal, particularly in North and South 24 Parganas and in the coastal regions of Sundarban. 
The nursery in Mathurapur Block-II at Purbasridharpur, Nagendrapur G.P. has been a very successful effort, and continues operations this year. The designated tasks for the year at this nursery, and at five other Grams Panchayets under the Mathurapur block II have already been completed successfully. Maintenance and supervision work has been continuing and will be carrying on until the end of March 2012. 
Mukti also promotes other plantations such as Mahogany plants for reducing global warming and degradation of the environment. 
We are also associated with Sibrampur GP under the Namkhana block for promoting coconut nurseries. Here, we have provided help to the Block administration and Panchayet to prepare a project and budget since inception of the said project. The Sibrampur GP administration has given one bigha land for germination of 10000 seeds. Mukti has provided training to 10-15 farmer activists regarding development of coconut nurseries. The first phase of planting of 6,000 coconut seeds has been completed within the month of July and the second phase of planting of 4,000 seeds has been completed in mid September. It has been found that the first phase of germination is progressing well. Within few days Mukti will be visiting to monitor the progress of the second phase of germination. 
This year we have also received funds from the Sundarban Development Board for the coconut nursery planting program, work for which is going on at present. We are expecting that by this year, Mukti could be able to expand this unique project to other gram panchayets and Blocks. Gosaba & Basanti blocks are in the process of implementation of the coconut planting program under respective Gram Panchayets. We are successful in large-scale promotion of the coconut project and are extremely hopeful that these initiatives will encourage further growing of coconut & other plants in the Sundarban delta areas.

Conconut Tree Plantation Supported by BOCI

Due to Climate change across the globe, the temperature of the Sunderban Delta, region is also alarmingly increasing endangering the nature of the soil and life of inhabitants. Due to salinity, lands are laying uncultivated as flood submerges major land area causing chronic food insecurity and making livelihood extreme vulnerable. 

Coconut Plantation Supported by BOCIThe environmental problems in India are growing rapidly. The increasing economic development and a rapidly growing population are putting a strain on the environment, infrastructure and natural resources of the country. Over exploitation of the resources has resulted degradation of environment. Environmental pollution is one of the most serious problems facing humanity and other life forms on our planet today. 

There are about 4,954,653 populations in the district of South 24 Paraganas of Sunderban Delta. People of Sunderban mainly depend on Agriculture & small handicrafts. Mukti has done a survey on livelihood and occupation of the people. Most of the people live in and around in Sunderban-Delta do not have round the year jobs, which is one of the main reasons of poverty. Due to saline water & soil, the coconut tree is one of the best suited trees as it needs soil which has higher than average salt & thrives for topical climate. 

Since 2009, Mukti has been trying to plant coconut trees through coconut nurseries in different parts of South 24 Paraganas under the Central Government Scheme of MGNREGA through which Government is able to create more jobs for the rural job card holders. At the same time this process is going to build up a campaign towards coconut plants which is valuable in terms of food, environment & protection of embankment, which in turn resists frequent floods. 

In the short term, Mukti is planning plantation of 300,000 Coconut plants through MGNREGA-programme with the collaboration of different government Agencies in the region of Sunderban- Delta. In the long term vision, Mukti is campaigning to plant more and more coconut trees through people’s participation. 

People of Sunderban Delta are unaware that these coconut trees can be one of their main sources of income. Coconut trees grow without any care. The coconut palm thrives of sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall. 

A serious thought being taken by Mukti to encourage and push through more and more Coconut productions in the Sunderban region. Mukti has been trying to liaison with Nodal officer, MGNREGA to promote this programme spreading over Sunderban-Delta. So far, we are successful in few blocks such as Mathurapur-II, Namkhana, and Basanti & Gosaba. 

Apart from that we also try to negotiate with corporate sectors. Through BOCI (British Oxyzen Company India) we planted 1000 Coconut plants successfully at Kankandighi under the Block Mathurapur-II. The local people of Mathurapur want to see more of this kind of initiative from Mukti. The officials of BOCI visited spot and happy to support in future also. 

The availability of financial help from corporate sectors will help Mukti to implement plantation of Cocoanut trees in more blocks of Sunderban-Delta which will, in turn, provide poor people an alternate source of income.