Friday, May 25, 2018

Activity Update March 2018: Pench-Bor Corridor



Team: Mandar Pingle –Conservation Officer
Nilesh TelangField Assistant

·       Gram sabha organised in Bidgaon on Dr Shyamaprasad Mukherjee Jan Van Yojana
·       Solar fencing demo arranged in Bidgaon to reduce crop depredation by wildlife
·       Set up stall at ‘BE Organic Expo 2018’ for sale of lantana products
·       Set up lantana craft stall at Van Bhavan on International Forests Day 2018
·       Prepared  3 Azolla fodder supplement cultivation tanks through voluntary work project in three villages
·       Hydroponic fodder cultivation technique taught to villagers of Bidgaon
·       Organised one training programme on scented candle making for women’s self-help groups from Bidgaon

Activity details:

On March 22, Satpuda Foundation along with Maharashtra Forest Department organised a gram sabha (village meeting) in Bidgaon village of Saoner taluka to promote awareness about the Dr. Shyamaprasad Mukherjee Jan Van Yojna. This scheme was earlier intended only for villages of buffer areas of Tiger Reserves. Now, however, the scheme can be implemented in the villages of designated wildlife corridors in Maharashtra State. During the sabha, Nilesh Telang and Bandu Uikey read the government resolution for the scheme and explained to the villagers the benefits of implementing this scheme in their village. 48 villagers attended the meeting. Mr Pache, Forest Guard, Khapa Range (Saoner) was also present.

On March 17, we organised a demonstration at Bidgaon of solar-powered fencing for protection of crops from damage by wildlife like wild boar and nilgai. Bidgaon is part of the 'wildlife corridor' connecting Pench Tiger Reserve in Nagpur district and Bor Tiger Reserve in Wardha district. In 2017, many tigers had died due to electrocution. Along with this, many other wild animals and people also lost their lives due to electrocution.

Satpuda Foundation's Conservation Officer Mandar Pingle and Field Assistant Nilesh Telang demonstrated the working of solar fencing to farmers. The financial benefits of this solar fencing, which is cheaper than wire fencing or chain link fencing was explained to the farmers. In wire fencing, there is a possibility of entanglement of wildlife causing injury or death. The farmers were convinced that this risk was not present in the solar fencing. During the meeting, the villagers were also provided information regarding Dr. Shyamaprasad Mukherjee Jan Van Yojna.

We set set up a stall to promote lantana crafts at ‘BE Organic Expo 2018’ held at Chitnavis Centre, Nagpur on 09-11 March. During the exhibition, our staff showcased the products prepared by villagers of Bidgaon, Umri, Lohgad (Pench-Bor corridor) and Chargaon, Suwardhara (Pench Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra). Our Foundation had provided training to these villagers in making products from lantana wood. The villagers had prepared various utility items like chairs, corner tables, magazine stands, hair pins, pen boxes, flower vases, and more. Our team is not only providing training but also assisting the villagers to sell their goods.

On March 21, on the eve of International Forests Day 2018, we set up a lantana crafts stall at Van Bhavan, Nagpur. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Maharashtra State Forest Department Shri A K Mishra inaugurated the stall.

Various utility items like chairs, coffee tables, corner tables, shoe racks, hair pins, cloth hangers were prepared by villagers living close to wildlife areas were put up for display and sale at the stall. Shri A K Mishra praised the efforts made by our Foundation and the villagers.

On March 15, Mandar Pingle and Nilesh Telang prepared a tank to cultivate Azolla fodder supplement in Telgaon. The tank was prepared in the farm of Mr. Rakesh Kale, a resident of Telgaon who owns 3 milch cows. In order to improve the milk production, Satpuda Foundation team provided training on cultivation and use of Azolla. Azolla is a supplement fed to milch animals which improves milk production by 15-20% and also improves fat content in the milk. The feed can be given to goats and poultry as well to improve the meat. 

Azolla is also used as a means to reduce weeds in horticulture and is used to improve nitrogen content of soil.
The Azolla culture was acquired from Maharashtra State Animal Husbandry and Fisheries University, Nagpur. 2 similar tanks were prepared through voluntary work projects at Mr. Amol Gawande’s farm in Lohgad and Mr. Kamlakar Sarode’s farm in Bidgaon villages. Upon follow-up, the Azolla culture was successfully cultivated within a week and the beneficiaries had started its use in cattle feed.

On March 25, Mandar and Nilesh organised a meeting with villagers of Bidgaon to teach them techniques to cultivate fodder using the hydroponic system. During the summer season there is a scarcity of green fodder for cattle. It is also not economical for the villagers to buy green fodder. Some villagers also graze their cattle on the fringes of the forest area which sometimes leads to cattle kills by wildlife. To address these issues, the hydroponic technique to grow green fodder all year round was demonstrated to the villagers of Bidgaon. A sample tray was prepared prior to the demonstration by our team at our office in Umri, using corn seeds. Mandar explained to the villagers how, by adopting this method, they will be able to reduce the wastage of fodder seeds, save water and reduce the amount of land required, compared to the conventional way of growing fodder. He also explained that by adopting this method, they will be able to cultivate good quality green fodder all year round, irrespective of the weather conditions.

On March 26 we organised a programme at Bidgaon to train villagers to make scented candles. The programme was run for the benefit of a women’s Self-Help Group (SHG) -- Rani Durgawati Bachat Gat. 10 women were taught how to make scented candles as a means to start gruhudyog (micro enterprise). These scented candles are in demand in restaurants, resorts, spas, salons, offices and in homes. Taking into consideration the low investment, low manufacturing time and high returns, this can prove to be a profitable venture for the women to earn a better livelihood.

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