Welcome To Tree Of Life Centre Foundation
Tree of Life Centre Foundation is a section 8 social enterprise that is dedicated to empowering women farmers in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal who are either Tribal or Dalit with training and marketing of farm related and fabric products. Getting them ready to supplement their income with the skills taught by our centre.
The Foundation trains them in entrepreneurship and skill development for manufacturing farm produce related products, such as millet and millet value added products, peanut butter, cold pressed oils, organic sattu making, vermicompost, deshi bilona ghee, white butter, gobar products, fabric related tribal design products such as wall hangings, appliqué making, handpainted cushions, sarees, tribal dolls.
Tree of Life Centre Foundation is a training organization that provides farmers/artisans and artisan organizations with management, product design and development, and marketing assistance. By providing jobs and skills for women farmers they are able to improve the women’s standard of living and improve economic status.
The women are paid a fair wage, offered training in farm related startups, designing, quality awareness, marketing and gender equality. Most of the women trained by Tree of Life Centre Foundation are the heads of their households because they have been widowed, divorced, or separated, they have little or no income, are landless with few or no assets, and are primarily rural based.
The organisation works with the objective of a holistic development of the trainees and the projects include awareness programmes, confidence building, leadership training as well as designing, costing and marketing training and training in entrepreneurship. Tree of Life Foundation believes that sustainable livelihood and financial literacy are necessary to eradicate gender inequality..
Through incorporating the region’s natural resources and reviving traditional arts and crafts, Tree of Life Centre Foundation has been homogenizing effects of globalization and has promoted sustainability. It has enabled the women to use technology to explore their entrepreneurship potential and improve their skills while keeping their endangered crafts, seeds, culture, and traditions alive.
Tree of Life Centre Foundation approach minimizes negative impacts on the environment and reduces the carbon footprint and provides sustainable livelihoods to marginalized women farmers mainly tribal and Dalit.
The projects and programmes undertaken by Tree of Life Foundation are based on ‘Thinking Globally Acting Locally’ suggesting sustainable solutions to critical environment related issues.
The existing laws are either not suitable enough or implemented well. Of course, the government has a pivotal role to play here but it is also the responsibility of the people to conserve the planet. Keeping this in mind, Tree of Life Centre Foundation has decided to follow the three R principles: Reduce – Reuse – Recycle and the ‘Waste to Wealth’ concept which has become very successful because it has created jobs and also facilitates taking care of waste in a responsible and sustainable manner.
Some of Tree of Life Centre Foundation activities include
- Encourage, motivate and train farmers to enhance growing of millets organically
- Provide much needed digital assistance to farmers
- Identify foreign buyers for marketing locally grown millets
- Make heritage seeds available to farmers
- Encourage farmers to conserve and store heritage seeds
- Propagate eco-technology to enhance efficient resource use and promote community action for socio-economic and eco-development
- Undertake pilot projects for demonstration of viable development in millet farming
- Organize and conduct seminars, workshops, conferences, media-events cultural events and disseminate information on farm related products and value adding
- Showcasing innovative craft projects which are eco friendly and environmentally conscious emphasize conservation and sustainability
- Conducting research, surveys, educational programs and conduct/celebrate and disseminate information, knowledge through national/ international festivals workshops, seminars conferences
- Connecting and interacting with ecologically-minded people and organizations globally and collaborate with likeminded institutions in creating opportunities
- Removing gender disparity, child labour,promote equity and social harmony.
- Promoting and encouraging knowledge, understanding and appreciation of value adding to millets
- Assisting farmers to form Farmer producer organizations
- Assisting farmers to gain Participatory Guarantee System (Decentralized Organic Farming Certification System)
- Identifying and forming SHG clusters for organic farming and millet growing.
Promoting the advantages of millet production
Millets have often been called the coarse grains, however, because of their nutritional contributions they are now being referred to as ‘nutria-millets or nutria-cereals’. Given below are some of the advantages of Production of Millets in India.
- Millets are termed as the ‘miracle grains’ or ‘crops of the future’ as they can not only grow under harsh circumstances but are drought-resistant crops that require fewer external inputs.
- Millets are dual-purpose crops. It is cultivated both as food & fodder, thus providing food/livelihood security to millions of households and contributing to the economic efficiency of farming.
- Millets contribute to mitigating climate change as it helps reduce the atmospheric carbon pressure CO2. On the contrary, Wheat being a thermally sensitive crop and Paddy is a major contributor to climate change through methane emission.
- Production of millets does not depend on the use of chemical fertilizers. The millet crops do not attract pests and are not affected by storage.
- Millets are remarkable in their nutritive value be it vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre or other nutrients. It is nearly 3 to 5 times nutritionally superior to wheat and rice. Sorghum (Jowar) is an important source of polyphenols, antioxidants, and cholesterol-lowering waxes.
- Millets help in curbing obesity, lowers the risk of hypertension, CVDs, T2DM, cancers as well as helps in preventing constipation due to their high dietary fibre content coupled with low glycaemic index.
- Farming of milletsdeserves encouragement especially in view of their climate resilience, short cropping duration and ability to grow on poor soils, hilly terrains and with little rain.
- Because of their accessibility to the poor, they can play an essential role in providing nourishment to people across all income categoriesand supporting climate adaptation of rainfed farming systems.
Current situation of millets in Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh (UP), the second largest millet producing state is looking to expand their exports. The UP government is now taking proactive steps to increase the acreage of millets by reviving the traditional and indigenous crops under the rain fed farming system.
Millets provide a spectrum of low risk crops, which are resilient to climate change. The state government has planned to promote the cultivation of such nutritious cereals in rainfed areas.
Some of the major millet crops grown in UP are jowar, bajra, kodo and sanwa.
UP produces 5 million tonnes (Mt) of millet which is 20 percent of India’s annual output. India is the world’s fifth largest millet exporter with exports rising at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3 percent. Shipments from India were valued at $27 million in 2020-21.
What the government has done to promote millet growing
The Government has taken several steps for promotion of Millets. To create domestic and global demand and to provide nutritional food to the people, The National Year of Millets was celebrated in 2018. 2023 was declared as year of millets at the behest of India.
In view of the nutritional value of the millets, the Government also notified Millets as nutri-cereals in April, 2018 and Millets were included under the POSHAN Mission Abhiyan. Over 500 Startups are working in Millet value chain while the Indian Institute on Millet Research, has incubated 250 Startups under RKVY-RAFTAAR. More than Rs.6.2 crores has been disbursed to over 66 Startups while about 25 Startups have been approved for further funding. Indian Institute of Millet Research in Hyderabad will be transformed into a centre of excellence.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her Budget 2023 speech, said India is the largest producer and second-largest exporter of ‘Shree Anna’ or millets in the world, and that the government aims to make India a “global hub for millets. Millets are of two types – ‘Major millets’ (jowar, bajra and ragi, which constitute 80% of millets grown in India) and ‘minor millets’ (foxtail, little millets, barnyard, kodo and brown-top). The current market for millets, according to the Indian Institute of Millet Research, is $9 billion. It is expected to touch $25 billion by 2025. India produces 15.53 million tonnes of millets annually, contributing 10% to the country’s food basket. It exported close to $26 million worth of millets in 2021. The much-smaller branded millet food market is worth ₹500 crore, but with growing interest in millets, it is projected to touch ₹10,000 crore by 2025.