Looking beyond the Lockdown: Updates from Sunderbans

Here are some updates from our partners working in the Sunderbans:

Vegetable supplies:  Vegetables are becoming rotten in the fields since there is no scope for marketing or wholesale distribution due to the transportation shutdown. Our partners are trying to restore the supply of organic vegetables to Kolkata (the police is requesting us to go after April 14th). The same transportation issues are seen with the fisher folk both for inland fishing in ponds, fisheries or in the river.

Food and job security: Adivasis who depend on catching crabs, rickshaw and van pullers, as well as daily wage labourers are now getting affected due to the lockdown. We are trying to take vegetables that farmers are not harvesting and giving it to daily wage earners. There are also some people who can afford to pay for the vegetables but have no access; we are trying to get them the vegetables as well. People in Kolkata who buy from the farmers in Sunderbans have come forward to help. They have promised to get gloves and sanitizers for those who will get the vegetables from Sunderbans.

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Preparing for the kharif season: Farmers are not preparing their land for the next Kharif season because (a) they have not harvested the current crop since there is no wholesalers. (b) seeds are not available in the village market due to lockdown. We are raising awareness with farmers, encouraging them to prepare for the Kharif season. Otherwise there will be food insecurity. Also we are working with those in the village who sell seeds to see if they can procure seeds for the farmers.

Humane lockdown conditions: Our partners have also taken a lead on making the lockdown humane and effective. They are distributing masks and encouraging people to maintain physical distancing and social unity. They are raising awareness about COVID using the vehicle that was supported by AID.




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