“I gave them some fertiliser to give them a good start and watered them. Look how tall they have grown”, he said.
Mr Chand said that he had planted the other saplings around his seasonal vegetable field but they had died because they could not be watered there. He said he would be interested in fruit trees, especially limes as he said that they could provide him with a regular source of income through sales at the local market.
Navin Narayan is a Leader Farmer. Besides producing cane (he produced 100 tonnes last year and expects more this year); he has 20 goats and intercrops his cane with vegetables which he sells for extra income.
He participated in the Fairtrade training on “Best Cane Management Practices” where he learned the importance of timely operations and early maturing varieties. This year, he will be receiving a government cane grant to boost his production. He wants to establish a firebreak on his farm.
“In this area there are so many fires that get out of hand; we have already seen several this season”, he said.
“It was a very suitable area with a shallow hollow that is often moist,” he said.
Unfortunately, a wildfire swept through his farm destroying the seedlings. He says that he would like to receive another batch of saplings, especially Sandalwood, saying that he would plant them around his house where they would be safer.
“We farmers should support your work; you are doing a lot of good work and we really appreciate it,” Mr Aniz said.
He also said he would like to receive a new mix of saplings to plant in the same place but requested that they be distributed in the rainy season.
Mr Aniz works the farm with his brother Aiyaz and they have 22 years left on their lease. Last year, they harvested 191 tonnes of cane and this year the figure stands at 300 tonnes. He also has a field of groundnuts and grows vegetables in the season.
Mr Chand said that he had planted his saplings near his pineapple field, and that around half of them had survived and he has Sandalwood growing in his front yard.
“It’s easy. Just dig a hole, put the sapling in and watch it grow,” he says.
When the creek was still running, Mr Kumar had used it to water his trees, but now that the creek had dried up, he has had to improvise and has requested that the next distribution of trees be done during the rainy season. Mr Kumar has another two acres of bushland where he would like to plant more trees. “It will be my children and grandchildren who will harvest the timber as I am already an old man,” he said.
This is because Mr Mati had been unable to water them as he and his wife depend on a seasonal spring, which only flows during eight months of the year.
Now that it has dried up, they are dependent on water being brought in by a government truck. He is finding it difficult to get his name on the water distribution list and the family have hardly enough water to do their washing.
“It is a very good activity but I can only really profit from it if the saplings are distributed at the start of the rainy season,” he told us.