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Prosopis Juliflora - A Case Study

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Kothur village is located in the semi-arid area, Midjil Mandal, Mahabubnagar District,Telangana State, India. The study is done on energy and livelihoods aspects related to Prosopis Juliflora, which is growing abundantly in this village.

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Prosopis Juliflora - A Case Study

  1. 1. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-1/20 PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy saibhaskarnakka@gmail.com
  2. 2. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-2/20 INDEX INDEX .............................................................. 2 1. INTRODUCTION.............................................. 3 2. BACKGROUND................................................ 3 3. OBJECTIVES.................................................. 6 4. METHODOLOGY.............................................. 6 5. STUDY ANALYSIS ............................................ 6 5.1 Agricultural background and evidence of increased climate variability and Prosopis Juliflora........................................................................................................................................6 5.2 Options for Prosopis Juliflora based Livelihoods ..............................................................7 5.3 Charcoal Production Method in Practice..........................................................................8 5.4 Quantity of charcoal production ......................................................................................9 5.5 People involved in charcoal production ...........................................................................9 5.6 As fuel wood consumption per year ...............................................................................10 5.7 The reasons for increase in price is due to ....................................................................13 6. DISCUSSION .................................................13 6.1 Positive aspects of Prosopis Juliflora.............................................................................14 6.2 Negative aspects of Prosopis Juliflora............................................................................14 7. SUGGESTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ................18 8. REFERENCES ................................................19
  3. 3. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-3/20 PROSOPIS JULIFLORA AND CLIMATE CHANGE Kothur Village, Midjil Mandal, Mahabubnagar District, Andhra Pradesh, India Key words: Prosopis Juliflora, Energy, Fuel Wood, Charcoal, Livelihoods 1. INTRODUCTION Kothur village is located in the semi-arid area, Midjil Mandal, Mahabubnagar District, Andhra Pradesh State. The study is done on energy and livelihoods aspects related to Prosopis Juliflora, which is growing abundantly in Kothur village. In the Kothur Village, Midjil Mandal, Mahabubnagar District, about 30% of the area is covered by Prosopis Juliflora. As a source of energy and livelihoods, this weed has been adopted as an opportunity by the Kothur people. This adoption practice is able to control the menace of Prosopis Juliflora to some extant. Kothur village has a total of 830 acres of land, of which about 250 acres is occupied by Prosopis Juliflora. As Kothur village has a large percentage of alkaline soils, Prosopis Juliflora is growing very well and highly adopted, as compared to many other types of plants. 2. BACKGROUND The ‘Prosopis debate’ has become an important topic of discussion and policy in India during recent years, primarily due to Prosopis juliflora becoming an aggressive weed in several states, , though the plant had earlier, in the late sixties/early seventies been introduced by state Department of Forest activities for greening degraded land and as fencing material. Now 30-40 years later Prosopis Invasion of grasslands, protected forests and nature reserves has alarmed ecologists. Invasion of irrigation channels and arable land has affected the agricultural community, and landowners and large commercial farmers have seen their income threatened. Over four decades Kothur village was progressively occupied by Prosopis Juliflora. Before the advent of this weed in their fields, people were cultivating Jowar, Paddy and Raagi crops. In the 12 Rs. 8 is the price at which the villagers sell 1 kg of charcoal to outsiders by the villagers.
  4. 4. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-4/20 year 1962 for the first time, Prosopis Juliflora seeds were brought to the village by Mr. Ramesh Reddy, a farmer for vegetative fencing, as a protection measure for his crops from wild animals. Later Mr. Ayodya Ram Sharma also bought ½ kg of Prosopis Juliflora seeds @ Rs. 18 from Jadcherla and has grown the plants. In the next 5 years Prosopis Juliflora spread to about 30 acres of land. The reasons for spreading of the plant is due to ruminants like sheep, goats, and cattle, which liked eating the pods and spread in the area through their movement and excreta. Other important reasons for spread of Prosopis Juliflora is the existence of Alkaline soils and increase in fallows in this village. In the last 4 decades, the Prosopis Juliflora plants spread into 250 acres of the total geographical area of 830 acres. Otherwise majority of these waste lands would have been under paddy cultivation. MAP 1 Map showing Prosopis Juliflora covering about 30% of the geographical area in Kothur Village. (Latitude: 16.69 N Longitude: 78.31 E degrees). Not to scale. Although Prosopis Juliflora was existed in this village since 1962, the commercial exploitation of Prosopis Juliflora was started in the year 1986. Based on various field visits and subsequent interaction with the villagers (especially in Kothur) it is apparent that initially, the village was not troubled by the expansion of Prosopis Juliflora but now the population considers it as a menace. Only in course of time the village has realised how seriously and adversely too it has affected their lands and agriculture. Cultivation of unirrigated land during the "Kharif" and the Rabi has dropped. When a person called, Mr. Nageshwar Rao hailing from Nalgonda District visited this village and explained the villagers, that cutting and making charcoal from these plants has value. The villagers felt very happy, as the plants have grown everywhere and they were not sure on how to
  5. 5. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-5/20 use this biomass for purposes other than fuel wood. By participating in this activity of charcoal making the villagers felt that they would get employment and also would be able to reclaim the lands back for cultivation after clearings. Mr. Nageshwar Rao from Nalgonda District who made a fortune with in next 10 years, through charcoal business, is still an inspiration for many of the villagers. Extensive Prosopis Juliflora in Kothur village A farmer involved in cutting Prosopis Juliflora as an additional income activity Farmers selling wood to the broker who is behind The Prosopis is kept ready for the making charcoal
  6. 6. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-6/20 Women are also involved in charcoal production activity Charcoal produced from Prosopis Juliflora 3. OBJECTIVES • To understand the dynamics of Prosopis invasion into livelihoods of people now reluctantly dependant on use of Prosopis Juliflora biomass for fuel wood or production of charcoal. • To discuss coping mechanisms and response measures. (note: The intention of this intervention is not to propagate the cultivation of Prosopis Juliflora but to deal with the landuse with the existing Prosopis Juliflora stock in a meaningful manner and to prevent further expansion particular into the irrigable lands. 4. METHODOLOGY For the study focused group discussions were held with the primary stakeholders involved in production of charcoal and fuel wood from Prosopis Juliflora. Information was also collected from the immigrant families involved in charcoal production. Using Google Earth imageries and GIS, mapped the Prosopis Juliflora areas and assessed the extent. Visited the charcoal production sites and interacted with people involved, for understanding the existing process of charcoal production. 5. STUDY ANALYSIS 5.1 Agricultural background and evidence of increased climate variability and Prosopis Juliflora In Mahabubnagar District in the past 40 years, the annual rainfall has decreased from 80 cms to 60 cms. As a result the farmers cultivating Paddy in Kothur village were affected. Due to decrease in rainfall and semi-arid conditions most of the soils in this village have turned alkaline. The consumption of complex fertilizers and use of meager groundwater
  7. 7. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-7/20 resources has also contributed to the alkalinity of the soils. The prosopis juliflora which was introduced in this village for fencing about 40 years back is very much adaptive to the growing alkaline soil conditions and decreased rainfall situation. By now about 30% of the common, waste and private lands are occupied by Prosopis Juliflora. Another reason is that the goats, sheep and cattle which liked the nutritious pods of the plant and started eating – their excreta contained the seeds of the plant and which were spread where ever they went. In this way large scale propagation of the prosopis happened. The meager groundwater resources were also exploited for Paddy cultivation. The high temperatures, less rainfall and meager groundwater resources, agricultural practices and leaving the lands fallow contributed for the suitable conditions for the Prosopis Juliflora propagation. In the year 2006 the monsoon rains have arrived late a climate variability factor. The people have shifted to cutting the prosopis, otherwise they would have migrated in search of work. The landless and farmers have adopted to cutting wood and making charcoal. During this drought period they earned more than what they were earning daily through agricultural activities. A new livelihood opportunity has emerged in the energy sector, which is more promising and also a solution for mitigating the excess prosopis existing in this village. The prices of wood and charcoal are escalating exponentially in the last 5 years. A new opportunity in energy sector and as a coping or adaptation is existing for the people of Kothur village for sustainable livelihoods, where climate change is one of the factors of influence. 5.2 Options for Prosopis Juliflora based Livelihoods The day since charcoal production activity was taken up in the village, landless, small and marginal farmers were getting additional days of employment especially during the agriculture lean season. Last year very few local people were involved in the charcoal production activity because of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP) going on in the village, which assures 100 days of employment. For cutting wood and charcoal production, people from Guntur, Nellore and Prakasham Districts are seasonally migrating to this village. There are presently 8 such families residing in this village. The major reason for migration of labor from far off places is because, they were being paid only Rs. 70 per bag of charcoal produced in their respective areas as compared to Rs. 120 being paid per bag of charcoal in this village. During Dasserah festival period majority of Kothur villagers participate in cutting Prosopis Juliflora and sell. This is because of plenty of Prosopis Juliflora available during that period of time and also to make some quick money for better celebration of the festival.
  8. 8. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-8/20 5.3 Charcoal Production Method in Practice About 4 kgs of Prosopis Juliflora wood is required to produce 1 kg of charcoal by ‘Earth Mound Kiln method, which is in practice in Kothur village. Before processing, wood is first cut into about 1 meter in length and sorted into similar diameters. Wood is stacked in the shape of a mound by placing sticks vertically. There should be very little space between the sticks. The stack is then covered with paddy straw and then with soil. Few holes are made at the bottom against the wind direction for the escape of some volatiles and wood venigar, which are released during the process. The mound is lit at the top by removing some soil and covered after the fire is started in the mound, which burns very slowly for several days depending on the size, condition of the stack and site. After about 8 to 10 days, the stack is opened and the charcoal is removed and allowed to cool, graded and bagged up for use or for sale. The process is explained below in steps for better understanding the charcoal production: 1. Cut wood 2. Select the thick wood and trim the wood to the required length. 3. Bring wood, straw and earth to a point 4. Prepare the earth mound kiln o Sort and arrange the wood vertically in the shape of a mound with little void spaces o Cover the mound with straw o Cover the straw with clay (leaving the small portion at the top open) 5. Lit the mound at the top 6. Once the fire is started cover the top of the mound with earth 7. Create opening for escape of some volatiles and wood vinegar on the sides of the mound against wind ward direction 8. Monitor the mound to prevent accidental fires – use fresh wood / soil to prevent such accidental fires. 9. Remove the charcoal from outer side towards inner side slowly 10. Sort the charcoal and pack in bags and remove un-burnt wood. 11. Unburnt wood is burnt again for charcoal – a small earth mound kiln is prepared for this.
  9. 9. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-9/20 Photo 1 The earth mound kiln under preparation – Straw layer is being covered by earth. Small and large scale production of charcoal is in practice in this area. In small scale production, about 5000 kgs of charcoal is being produced by a group of people per batch. In large scale production the mound size is 5 meters in diameter and 2 meters in height, which can produce about 10,000 kgs of charcoal per batch. In small scale production process the risk is less, the quality of charcoal produced is good and there won’t be any wastage, so majority of people in this village prefer small scale production method. 5.4 Quantity of charcoal production On an average every year about 24 truck loads of charcoal is being produced and marketed in other parts of the State. Which is about 240 tons of charcoal produced from 960 tons of Prosopis Juliflora wood considering 25 kgs of charcoal is produced from every 100 kgs of Prosopis Juliflora. Since 1986 about 462 trucks of charcoal was produced and exported from this village. The current wholesale price of one truck load of charcoal is Rs. 80,000. i.e., @ Rs. 8 per kg. The coal is being exported to the factories, hotels and wholesale dealers who in turn would supply for domestic energy needs in Hyderabad and parts of Andhra Pradesh. 5.5 People involved in charcoal production There are 7 households from Kothur village and 8 households consisting of 32 people from outside this village are involved in Charcoal Production. About 2250 (i.e., 30 members involved in
  10. 10. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-10/20 charcoal production for about 75 days) person days of employment is created per year by the Charcoal production sector in this village. Seasonally about 50-55 people from Kothur village are engaging in cutting prosopis juliflora, between October and May months. On an average each couple was able to earn about Rs. 150 to 200 per day which is more than what they would earn from agricultural labor work (i.e., @ Rs. 100 per day). Under the employment guarantee scheme the removal of Prosopis Juliflora was taken up in the lands of 20 farmers covering an extent of 25 acres of land. So far the Prosopis juliflora trees have been removed from the lands of government, assigned and private. At present Kothur village people are coming forward to produce charcoal on their own and the involvement of the outsiders has come down. The villagers are also planning to start the fuel wood selling business, which would provide additional employment to the villagers. About 320 acres of government land in Sy.No.311 is available in between Kothur and Mallapur villages, a chance for both the villagers for production of fuel wood and charcoal. 5.6 As fuel wood consumption per year As fuel wood for cooking needs, the amount of fuel wood consumed per year is about 273 tons (@ 5kgs x 150 households x 365 days = 273750 kgs). This is a rough estimate considering seasonal migration of families, small and big families, children and old people, and some families having alternative sources of energy. The quantity of charcoal produced in the last 21 years is equivalent to about 5040 tons of charcoal from 20160 tons of Prosopis Juliflora wood harvested and used from about 200 – 300 acres of area. In the last two months the ongoing charcoal production activity in the village is as follows. # Name No. of kilns No. of bags x weight in kgs Total production (in Kgs) 1. Vema Reddy 5 1200x50 60000 2. Anantha Reddy 2 30x50 1500 3. Janardhan Reddy 1 40x50 2000
  11. 11. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-11/20 4. Maisaiah 2 80x50 4000 5. Kavali Anjaneyulu 1 50x50 2500 6. Prathap Reddy 1 30x50 1500 7. Krishna Reddy 1 20x50 1000 8. Musali Reddy 1 15x50 750 9. Total (in Rs.) 73250 In the last two months the value of charcoal produced is Rs. 5,86,000/- (i.e., 73250 kgs x @ Rs. 8 per kg of charcoal)2 . The quantity of wood harvested and used is about 293 tons. 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Year (inRs.) Rate of wood (for 100 kgs of wood) Cost of selling 1 bag (~ 50 kgs) of charcoal produced by individual household to the broker at village level (in Rs.) Cost of selling 1 bag (~50 kgs) of charcoal in the wholesale market by the broker (in Rs.)
  12. 12. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-12/20 From the above graph it is very much evident that the market value of charcoal is increasing every year as compared to the cost of production. Therefore in the coming years it would be more attractive for many villagers to be involved in making a livelihood out of Prosopis Juliflora. Year Price of wood in Rs. For every 100 Kgs. (in Rs.) Cost of selling 1 bag (~ 50 kgs) of charcoal produced by individual household to the broker at village level (in Rs.) Cost of selling 1 bag (~50 kgs) of charcoal in the wholesale market by the broker (in Rs.) 1986 7 10 15 1987 10 14 25 1988 12 25 50 1989 20 50 60 1990 25 55 70 1991 30 60 100 1992 30 60 100 1993 35 65 110 1994 35 65 110 1995 40 60 130 1996 40 60 130 1997 40 65 150 1998 45 65 150 1999 45 70 200 2000 50 70 200 2001 65 75 200
  13. 13. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-13/20 2002 65 75 220 2003 65 75 220 2004 70 75 230 2005 70 80 230 2006 80 90 280 2007 85 100 280 2008 100 120 320 5.7 The reasons for increase in price is due to 1. Increased consumption of charcoal in hotels for making traditional dishes. 2. The commercial cost of LPG is high and also often there is shortage. 3. There is a demand from factories and industries for various purposes. 4. Demand from sponge iron plants for production of steel. 5. Consumption for cooking, iron boxes, etc. 6. DISCUSSION The Prosopis Juliflora provides many of the needs of populations living in tropical dry zones the world over. Over time, Prosopis Juliflora exhibits the ability to improve soils via biological nitrogen fixation, leaf litter addition and incorporation, nutrient pumping, changes in soil structure and in soil fauna and microbial populations. Charcoal is consumed mostly in urban areas and is often produced considerable distances from the point of consumption. Prosopis Juliflora wood burns evenly and hot. Goel and Behl (1992) stated that the good heat of combustion of Prosopis Juliflora wood is due to its high carbon content and high levels of lignin. The wood has a high calorific value, estimated at 4216 kcal/kg by Khan et al (1986). The positive qualities as firewood are present even in juvenile wood, and Prosopis Juliflora wood burns well even when green. This is a benefit as firewood does not require storage and drying, avoiding losses from theft and decay. Moisture and ash content of one year old Prosopis Juliflora were estimated at 39% and 2.2% respectively (Goel 1987). All data for physical and mechanical properties of Prosopis Juliflora wood fall well within acceptable limits.
  14. 14. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-14/20 Wood of Prosopis Juliflora is a very important source of domestic fuel for millions of people in many arid and semiarid zones of the world. 6.1 Positive aspects of Prosopis Juliflora. 1. Prosopis Juliflora is playing a vital role in sustaining the livelihoods of the rural poor, including the landless, small farmers and artisans. These groups of people also want a means to increase the value of this tree. 2. Prosopis Juliflora is the major source of fuel wood and dry season fodder, and provides additional income for some of the families. 3. The wood does nor spit, spark or smoke excessively, and the smoke is never unpleasant. 4. Its popularity is linked to its ubiquity, i.e. that where trees are present they are generally present in large numbers and are often found on common land and are, thus, freely available to all sections of society. 5. All the villagers are getting fire wood for cooking purpose, which is free of cost 6. Large branches and trunks yield a high quality timber, comparable in colour, finish and physical attributes to Indian rosewood and other commercial hardwoods. Also used for posts and poles, the wood is also called ‘wooden anthracite’ in some areas. Useful to build cattle sheds with the big size poles. 7. Fruit pods are high in sugar, easy to digest, high protein content and are a rich food source for livestock like sheep, goats and cattle. The yield of milk is relatively high if consumed by cattle. 8. Prosopis products have added value if processed, by turning firewood to finished timber, and even more if manufactured into furniture. 9. It is useful as vegetative fencing to protect the lands. 10. Additional employment opportunities are created and livelihoods are sustained during agriculture lean season. 11. Charcoal is used for cooking, iron boxes, etc. 12. Charcoal + amendments help in reclaiming degraded acidic or alkaline soils. 6.2 Negative aspects of Prosopis Juliflora a. In India, Prosopis Juliflora is an exotic plant, native to a region from Mexico to Peru. There, the people have developed local economies based on this tree and its products. They use the timber and the pods stored year-round for fodder and are an important item of trade. The tree has been introduced in parts of India, but the ‘indigenous knowledge’ surrounding its use has not percolated.
  15. 15. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-15/20 b. In Kothur village, lands have become alkaline over years and they are left fallow, of which about 250 acres of land is occupied by Prosopis Juliflora. c. Difficult to walk on the tank bunds because of the presence of Prosopis Juliflora. d. Covered fully in tank sikham, therefore the storage capacity of the tanks is gradually decreasing. e. Removing trees is very costly i.e., @ Rs. 10000/- per acre as a JCB should be used for extradition, because it is almost impossible to eradicate Prosopis Juliflora manually, as it has a deep root system. f. It spreads in all conditions, due to deep roots leads to depletion of local groundwater resources. g. The thorns of Prosopis Juliflora cause lots of pain when accidentally people get pierced by them and sometimes some people were hospitalized. h. Under the shade of Prosopis Juliflora tree no other plant thrives well, therefore no other biomass is cultivated under this tree. i. It is a deep rooted plant depletes soil moisture and makes water less accessible to other shallow water plants. This biomass does not create a micro-environment to attract rains. Case Study 1: Name: N. Vema Reddy, Kothur Village Midjil Mandal, MBNR District. Mr. N. Vema Reddy aged about 60 years is a farmer, having 3 family members. He is having seven acres of land, earlier he used to cultivate Paddy as the main crop. Because of less yield of water from his borewell, he is presently cultivating less extent of area under paddy. Earlier he was not having any experience in charcoal production and he was also not interested. Then about 10 years back a person called Mr. Nageshwar Rao came to this village and met him and asked for his support in charcoal production from Prosopis Juliflora which was abundantly available in the village. He joined him as one of the partner and got involved in the production of charcoal. Initially, they engaged local people for cutting the wood and production of charcoal, but because of lack of experience the efficiency was less, so sometimes they incurred losses. Having worked with him, he gained experience in production of charcoal on his own. Instead of engaging local people, he started hiring experienced labor from Nellore, Guntur, Kadapa and Prakasham Districts. The work of cutting the wood and production of charcoal was completely done by them and they would sell charcoal to him. As a broker he provides them water for drinking, domestic use and for charcoal production apart from providing space for production of
  16. 16. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-16/20 charcoal. He also gives them loans as advance payment and deducts the amount while purchasing the charcoal in installments. In this way apart from making his own livelihood, he is also able to provide livelihoods for many people. Because he is providing all types of facilities to the people who have come to work in this village, it is attractive for people migrating from far off places. Currently each family (one couple) is earning about Rs. 8,000 per month. Payments are made by him weekly or monthly for the quantity of charcoal produced and supplied by the families. Presently they are being paid about Rs. 120 per bag of charcoal produced. Till 5 years back the local people were participating in large numbers in cutting the Prosopis Juliflora. Presently the local people’s involvement has come down, in this activity. Only 10 families are involved from Kothur village. According to him this trend is because of the ongoing National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP), where majority of the local people are getting assured income and they are not interested in the charcoal production activity. Usually the wood available in the waste lands or common lands is exploited first and then they shift to private lands. The private fields having high density and good quality of Prosopis Juliflora is let to cut for a nominal charge i.e., 10% of the value of the wood cut and sold. The normal cycle of production of charcoal is about 1 month, that is 15 days spent for cutting wood and 15 days spent for producing charcoal. He sells the charcoal in Hyderabad. Each truck load weighs about 10 tons and values about Rs. 80,000, excluding all expenditure like payment made to the charcoal makers, transportation, handling, permit fees, etc. He makes a profit of about Rs. 30,000 from each truck load of charcoal sold. For transportation of one truck load of charcoal requires a permit costing about Rs. 2800/- and for charcoal kilns they have to pay Rs. 3000/- every year to the Forest Department. As per his opinion, as long as there is Prosopis Juliflora existing in the village, there is scope for additional employment. Vema Reddy is an inspiration for many villagers in production of charcoal. The fuel wood and charcoal produced in this village is being exported to Hyderabad and different parts in the State. This activity is generating additional employment for the villagers. In the last 5-6 years the people from Prakasham, Nellore, Guntur and Kadapa Districts have been migrating here apart from local villagers engaged in the process of collecting fuel wood and production of charcoal.
  17. 17. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-17/20 The profit margin from sale of fire wood is less because of high transportation and handling costs. Charcoal is a value added high value product. So the producers prefer to make charcoal and sell instead of fire wood. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA OCCUPIES KOTHUR VILLAGE This is the story of a remote village called Kothur (meaning Kotha+Vuru) = New + Village located in the semi-arid part of the interior peninsular India. This village in the past was well known for paddy cultivation, there used to be water, all year round surrounding the village i.e., because of meandering Dundubi stream and hence attracted the cranes and egrets. Especially during and after the rainy season all the trees in the village were occupied by the birds and their nests. Then this village was popularly called as ‘Kongala Kothur’ or Kothur with cranes. People also strongly believed that if the cranes have not appeared, there will be less rainfall that year. Due to climate change and variability the rainfall has come down from over 800mm to less than 600 mm in the last 50 years. As a result the traditional paddy cultivation area has come down, and people started more and more dependant on the meager groundwater resources. The present scenario is unimaginable and contrasting; most of the paddy growing fields are left fallow and the soils have turned alkaline. In these soils Prosopis Juliflora is growing abundantly. Now we can see that Prosopis Juliflora covers about 30% of the common lands and cultivable fallows. This present situation is the result of Climate Change and human interventions. The people from far of coastal districts having seen the abundant Prosopis Juliflora in this area, have migrated to this area and started making charcoal with the support of local people. Soon local people have also learnt the method of charcoal production and are able to cope by producing charcoal during the recurring drought conditions, prevailing in this area during agricultural lean season. In the year 2006 Kharif period, there was drought in this part of the district. People have also not sown any seeds and it was imagined that there could be migration of people from this village to other places for work. But it was observed that during the peak of drought, none of the people have migrated and they were engaged in the Prosopis Juliflora harvesting and charcoal production acitivity, and they were very happy for the remuneration they could get,by engaging in this activity. The reason is because of unprecedented demand for Prosopis Juliflora wood and charcoal from Industries and urban areas. They were earning 2 to 4 times more by being engaged in Prosopis Juliflora activities, as compared to their earnings from doing agriculture labor. Within no time about 30 % of the Prosopis Juliflora was harvested. Even the people who have left their lands fallow, over time occupied by Prosopis Juliflora, were also benefited by getting about 10%
  18. 18. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-18/20 of the total earnings from the wood harvested by people from their respective fields. The climate change, energy crisis, new energy demands, and the adaptations by communities to the changes is a reality. This is the new situation prevailing in this remote village, only since last 20 years. Charcoal production has become a very popular activity and numbers of kilns are increasing in this part. In this context any day reclaiming the soils and using for agriculture production is advisable. Although, it is not sure whether to encourage community to continue to produce charcoal efficiently and make a livelihood. This case study stands as tip of an iceberg for the changes that would happen in the environment very fast due to climate change, energy crisis and other human factors. 7. SUGGESTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 1. There is a need to form national, regional and local Prosopis committees to discuss the issues, including all stakeholders; farmers, Forest Officers, elected public representatives, private entrepreneurs, NGOs and research institutes, etc., 2. There is a need to assess Prosopis juliflora using remote sensing, GIS and GPS tools and plan for employment opportunities regionally. 3. State Governments should create facilities for purchase of Prosopis pod flour and should facilitate as subsidized livestock fodder, Prosopis is cheaper and more nutritious than the alternatives, and is locally available thus stimulating rural economy and employment generation. 4. Joint management of Prosopis Juliflora trees in common pool resources and along roadside between community and forest department. Forestry Department should pay villagers for thinning, pruning so as to generate employment for villagers. 5. Encourage State Forestry Departments and State Forest Development Corporations (SFDC) to promote and market Prosopis tree products. 6. Establish independent funds for credit for commercial processing, as lending technology for Prosopis-based business. 7. Guarantee a market price for an initial period to stimulate management, production and processing of new products such as Prosopis timber or pods. 8. Promote farmers’ cooperatives to increase the collective bargaining power among producers. 9. Educate the villagers, especially women, on the value of Prosopis tree products, which should become an integral part of all rural extension activities. 10. Organize training courses in all districts in the semi-arid areas where Prosopis Juliflora is common.
  19. 19. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-19/20 11. Demonstrate and introduce cheap, simple improved kilns for charcoal production and small scale pod processors. 12. Establish demonstration farms or model Prosopis villages, either on state land or with the support of progressive farmers to implement and demonstrate management and utilization. 13. Promote a Technical Manual, and translate and distribute in the vernacular languages to the community. 14. Developing a national, integrated research programme on management and utilization of Prosopis Juliflora. 15. Need to develop economic models for Prosopis-based systems, under different site/ market conditions. 16. Local people should learn the method of charcoal production and are able to cope with the recurring drought conditions prevailing in this area. This adaptation method could arrest migration of people to some extant, other wise this District is well known for migration of people to far of places. 17. The villager’s opinion about charcoal is that in the future there would be a huge demand for the charcoal and in the last two years there is a great increase in price. 8. REFERENCES 1. MISSION DOCUMENT in evolution, NATIONAL MISSION on DECENTRALIZED BIOMASS ENERGY for Villages and Industries, Prepared by a Team led by Shri. A.M.Gokhale, January, 2006 2. INTEGRATED ENERGY PLANNING MODEL FOR THE RURAL RESIDENTIAL SECTOR (IEPMRRS), Calvin Sophistus King and M. Ramachandran 3. http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/pdfs/international_programme/Prosopis-PolicyBrief- 2.pdf 4. http://e-charcoalmaking.blogspot.com/
  20. 20. PROSOPIS JULIFLORA, ENERGY AND LIVELIHOODS Page-20/20 Study was done by: Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy, CEO, GEO

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