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Published: January 16th 2013
Mangalore 1000 pillar temple
Fully hand carved from granite!
Upon arrival in Mangalore we are taken on a city tour and learn about the temple which Mangalore derives it’s name from – Mangaluru Temple and we learn a lot about the Hindu Gods. There are so many to pray to for different traits that it gets a little confusing at times, but the temples are very tranquil places and we spend some time sitting and reflecting on life before leaving each one (usually through the door backwards so you don’t turn your back on the Gods). We are also taken to the impressive 1000 pillar temple which is contructed completely of granite.
Devdas (our GSE Coordinator here in Karnataka) and his wife Reika host us for lunch (along with Devdas’s Mum and Dad) in their apartment and put on a wonderful spread of food. They are strict vegetarians and have taken great care over preparing food without milk products for Nicola.
I am staying with Anil Gonsalves and his wife Bina and their 13 year old daughter Kavya. The family have 2 dogs: 1 is a Dachshund called Toby and the other is an 11 year old retriever called Elise who is nearly blind. Yet another interesting host
Devdas Kamath and family
Devdas is our GSE coordinator here in India and done a fabulous job of arranging our programme!
experience as this time I am living with a Catholic family and spend a long time looking through Kavya’s First Communion photos, which were really interesting. Anil works in pharmaceutical distribution and his is conveniently located underneath the house. They are from Portugese orgin and have travelled the world a lot on family holidays, including a trip to Bethlehem at Christmas to visit the Church of Nativity, as well as Italy, USA and UK.
My vocational visits took place on Tuesday 8th
January and I was well looked after by Herman Cornelius Joseph Farrar – amazing name!!! First of all we went to meet Dr Geeta who is an expert in coffee cultivation and studied her Masters in the USA at Pennsylvania. We had a long chat for nearly 2 hours about the markets for coffee here in India and how producers could come together and market direct to customers. It seems to me that we don’t see enough Indian coffee on our shop shelves and yet there are many benefits the coffee grown here could be sold for i.e. the environmental benefits of the multiple crop cultivation over that of the African and South America coffees which tend
7to7 coffee branding
Women owned coffee growing cooperative
to be grown in a monoculture. I learnt about a group of women coffee growers who have started selling their own product under the brand “7to7” and would like to find out more about this project once I am back in the UK.
I gave Dr Geeta a copy of Northern Farmer as I thought she might be interested to read about the agricultural sector in England and she was very kind and gave me a lovely silk scarf. I also tasted my first cup of coffee in about 2 years and it was rather delicious!!! It was made with Arabica beans from her own family coffee estate and had a little milk and some sugar in it – don’t think I could drink it every day, but I was glad I tried it!
Next we head to Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) where Nicola also joins us for the tour. This is a privately funded, cooperative milk processing company and are shown the fully factory from milk tanker arrival to final product. I was really interested to learn about the different products which have much higher milk fat content than in the UK. KMF produces 4 main milk
Death by butter!!!
Nicola couldn't resist a little nibble, despite her lactose intolerance!
products ranging from 3% fat to 6.1%. The plant has the capacity to process 480,000 litres per day and can pasteurise 30,000 litres of milk every hour. At present there is a milk shortage in Mangalore (as it’s a coastal region and more crops are grown than cattle farms) so the milk has to come from slightly further away and at the moment not producing to full capacity. After the tour we got the chance to meet the Managing Director and I didn’t stop firing questions at him!
Farmers are paid approximately 22.7 rupees per litre of milk received at the plant (based on 3.1% milk fat and 8.5% solid fats) and this equates to roughly 3p per litre! 634 farms supply KMF and the Government adds a 2 rupee subsidy to each litre processed and the company only keeps 4 rupees per litre of milk for overheads and business development to fund the cooperative in the future. I think this is a good system and what makes it even more intriguing compared to the UK is that the other subsidies available to farmers are funded by the cooperative itself – cattle feeding troughs, building loans and machinery purchase.
Kalbavi cashew factory
A lot of work goes into producing cashew nuts and I will never complain about the price again!!!
This is all funded via the cooperative mechanism and farmers need to supply KMF with milk for at least 180 days in the year to remain members.
Maria and his wife kindly took me for lunch at a lovely Chinese restaurant called Hao Ching and we shared chicken chow mein and BBQ pork. It was yummy...........
Afterwards they took me to the final visit at the Karnataka State Horticultural Board where I got to ask lots of questions about the subsidies provided to farmers. The “programmes” usually last for 12 months, whereas in the UK we normally have 3 – 5 year schemes. The intervention rate is usually 80% (35% from state and 45% from national government) which is a lot higher than our farming grants in the UK, which are usually around 40 – 60%. Mechanisation and irrigation seem to be the most popular types of grants as a lot of the fruit crops require a lot of labour to harvest and a continuous supply of water. The monsoon season here in South India lasts for 2-3 months during June – Sept and then no rain at all for the rest of the year. Capturing rainwater and re-using waste water are big priority for all businesses, not just agricultural based ones. We have seen a lot of solar panels on properties and energy saving posters on the roadside.
I also found it interesting to learn that the Indian Government farming subsidies provide 50%!o(MISSING)f funding in first instalment and then 50%!a(MISSING)fter completion of project or purchase of machinery , whereas in the UK farmers often have to pay out the full costs and only get reimbursed afterwards. Karnataka. There is also a push here in India to increase the size of organic land as well as encourage biogas plants and bio-digester systems.
So much more has happened in Mangalore that I can’t fit it all into one blog and some of the activities have been mentioned in other blogs, but in summary I’ve also experienced:
- riding a jet-ski on Mangalore beach
- Moodibidri Rotary meeting and then tour of University of Bangalore research farm
- Ice cream at Babba’s
- drank cardamom tea
- tried eating “ice apple” fruit for the first time
- riding passenger on a scooter
- eaten a lot of cashew nuts!!!
- successfully delivered our 3rd
presentation (after we had to borrow a travel adapter for my laptop from the hotel!!!)
- drank whiskey and apple juice for the first time
A lot of the things we have seen or talked about in Mangalore have really made me think more about where the products we buy in the UK are from. I will never moan about the price of cashew nuts again after seeing how hard everyone in the factory works!
Will catch up on other blogs ASAP! Take care, Emily X
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