Under The Mango Tree is a social enterprise founded by Vijaya Pastala that sources gourmet honey and related products from farmers thereby supporting rural livelihoods. Vijaya has worked with rural farmers over the course of two decades helping them search out potential livelihood options, developing village-based business plans and giving them the confidence and training to organize themselves and explore micro-finance options for better business options. As a person who understood the realities prevailing in rural India, she wanted to diversify and come up with a solution that would be sustainable in the long run, and thus was born the Bees For Poverty Reduction(BPR) framework. UTMT trains marginal and tribal farmers to do beekeeping with the indigenous bee Apis cerana indica and supplement their livelihoods by generating a new stream of income from honey and beeswax.
How it all works?
Though various kinds of honey are produced by India’s diverse flora like orange blossom, cardamom, litchi, sweet clover and various other regional honeys, the urban consumer has hardly heard about it, let alone taste. The problem is such regional varieties of honey are produced by small bee-keeping societies in rural areas and there no companies involved in sourcing the honey from reliable suppliers and bringing it to the urban market. This is the gap that UTMT intends to fill.
- Under The Mango Tree Society: a not-for profit that trains farmers add beekeeping with the Apis cerana indica on their farms to addresses livelihood diversification, agricultural productivity and improved income.
- Under The Mango Tree Naturals and Organics Private Limited: a for-profit company that creates direct, fair-trade and sustainable market access from farmers to consumers.
- Trained 1,432 farmers in beekeeping including women, thereby increasing their income by Rs.10,000 -12,000/ annually.
- Provided 1,500 small beekeepers direct market access for their sustainably harvested honey and increasing their annual income by 25%.
- Created 55 Master Trainers to provide support to scale up the BPR model at farm level and by Rs 12,000 per annum.
- Brought over 8 Metric Tonnes of honey and 5 Metric Tonnes of beeswax to the market.
Catering to the requests of various honey lovers and gardening enthusiasts in Mumbai, UTMT has launched an Urban Bee-Keeping program. While urban beekeeping has been a popular hobby in Europe and North America, this trend is yet to make its mark in India and UTMT has kick-started this movement in India and inspire urban Indians to take up the practice as well.
Gift some honey
UTMT sells 100% natural, pure, gourmet honey, sourced directly from over 1500 beekeeper-farmers in some of India’s poorest districts. There are options to gift honey to your family and friends too. Also 10% of all proceeds raised through gifting, will support UTMT Society’s Bees for Poverty Reduction initiative so that it can continue to train poor farmers in beekeeping and help improve their livelihoods. There is no dearth of festivals in India and instead of exchanging sweets, gift some natural honey to your loved ones next time and share your love to our fellow villagers.
What we think of UTMT
UTMT has taken a novel approach to uplift rural livelihoods by harnessing the gift of the humble bees and we applaud Vijaya for building and running such a self-sustaining social enterprise. Currently honey from UTMT can be purchased only from Bombay and Bangalore. We hope the rest of India gets to taste the nectar from as far as the Himalayas soon!