Money from Honey, Livelihood for Elderly, in a Highly Backward Area

Till 2018, Birbhum district in West Bengal was impoverished with malnourished farmers surviving on negligible incomes. Enter Pipal Tree (PT), with its Honey farming initiative, Birbhum today is glowing with pride, thriving with skill, progressing towards sustainable prosperity and happiness.



Pipal Tree believes in achieving “seemingly unachievable” goals through the deployment of scalable processes. Supported by National Stock Exchange to create sustainable livelihoods for the elderly, where traditional farming was physically challenging for the elderly. Pipal Tree zeroed in on honey farming, which created livelihoods for the elderly, with minimal physical challenges.



Birbhum is a tribal area, with high Naxal activity leading to migration of youth, unemployment, absence of livelihood options for the elderly. Pipal Tree zeroed in on honey farming which needs minimal physical work, can be started and grown with little capital and provides a sustainable livelihood for 8 months in a year.

Pipal Tree trained the farmers in simple but crucial techniques of beekeeping. After training them, Pipal Tree donated a beehive to each family. Pipal Tree also created a local market connect for the honey and wax, its by-product. Parallelly, Pipal Tree is exploring market connect for Honey in Metros. Pipal Tree also has plans to create markets for other products from beekeeping such as Pollens, Royal Jelly etc.



Beekeeping has created a positive side effect for the farmers in the adjacent area. Improved pollination by bees, has led to a significant increase in farm production, thereby fetching them higher revenue with zero extra efforts and cost.



Pipal Tree’s beekeeping initiative has many winners, including the consumer. Here, the consumer is getting pure honey without risk of adulteration. Pipal Tree’s honey farming model has ensured highly remunerative income for the farmer eliminating any thought of adulteration.


Pipal Tree made us realise, that the prevailing season of flowering, provides unique flavours to Honey. Pipal Tree team moves beehives to areas that have an ongoing flowering season. Besides the basic variant that comes with a hint of eucalyptus, other varieties include Mango Honey, Mustard Honey and Litchi Honey while yet another interesting variant is Coriander and Cumin Honey.



As these jars of honey, reach various Indian households, a large number of farmers and their families’ dream of sustainable livelihood is fulfilled.



From irregular incomes to highly certain and stable cash flows, from sub-human lifestyles to a life of health & happiness, Pipal Tree has played a pivotal role in Birbhum’s transformation from a “vicious” to a “virtuous” circle of life. 

Led by Founder & CEO Santosh Parulekar and supported by Subhash Pandey along with their entire team, Pipal Tee has been a catalyst for those who needed one, in several backward districts of more than 9 states in India.




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Manish Jain
GormalOne LLP

Delivering Resources to Empower


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GORMALONE March 10, 2021 0 Comments

Accelerating transformation of Rural India – Ambuja Cement Foundation

Over the years, we have visited NGOs doing good work in water management, women empowerment, livelihood development, education, health, skill and entrepreneurship development. Our visit to Ambuja Foundation’s work in Gujarat, astonished us to learn that this NGO encompasses all the initiatives stated above. It has impacted 2.5m people till date. Read on to learn more about this outstanding foundation.
Our Visit to


at Kodinar, Gir Somnath in Gujarat, on 22-24 January 2020.

  From water scarcity, to surplus, for thriving Agriculture  

Over 20 years and at a cost of US$15m (Rs1.1bn) ACF transformed 1200 sq kms in Coastal Saurashtra Gujarat from water scarcity to surplus water. ACF achieved this by linking local rivers with all sources of water in the region, converting depleted limestone mines into water reservoirs, rooftop rain water harvesting, building check dams, restricting saline water ingression through tidal regulator, focus on less water intensive crops, drip irrigation systems. Consistent water availability has ensured farmers ability to grow 3 crops in a year, compared to a rain fed single crop twenty years ago. This has tripled farmers income on a conservative basis.

Significantly growing value of agricultural produce

Cotton, Groundnut, Mango and vegetables are few of the main crops in ACFs area of operation in Gujarat. For Cotton, ACF partnered with Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and is currently reaching 35,000 farmers.  BCI, a global organisation, trained local cotton farmers in best global practices for gaining higher output, superior quality of product, reduced pesticide use and efficient use of fertilizers. Additionally, ACF has started booking contracts on commodity exchange platforms to lock the price ahead of cotton’s harvest. Similar initiatives in Groundnuts through Fair Trade, market linkages for Mangoes and other vegetables have dramatically raised farmers profits from each crop.
ACF, a part of Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), has set-up Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) for the district of Gir Somnath. The purpose of this institution is to build capacities of farming communities through training, demonstrations and on farm research so as to reduce time lag in technology transfer.

Skill development led job placement/entrepreneurship support

ACF provides skill training through its Skill & Entrepreneurship Development Institute (SEDI). SEDI provides courses of 4 to 6 months to rural youth in areas such as  nursing, electrician, welders, BPO etc. The youth are either placed in well paying jobs or are provided all the requisite support to become entrepreneurs.  ACF runs 33 SEDI programs across 10 states in India. ACF has trained over 65,000 youth since its inception 9 years ago.

Locally relevant women empowerment initiatives

ACF has promoted 700 Self Help groups (SHG) with 8600 women from rural areas. These SHGs have constituted the Sorath Women Federation (SWF). SWF has created locally relevant, yet, very powerful initiatives such as savings of few grains per day for creating Food Security during famines or floods. Interestingly, the Group which saved few grains per day, used its reservoir of grains to distribute food to the needy people without any external assistance during the pandemic. Additionally, ACF works on developing financial independence for widows, especially younger widows. At the time of our visit, we saw few young widows being trained to become electricians and nurses.

Creating online access to talent during Pandemic despite no physical access to remote areas

ACF leveraged internet availability across its areas of operation by digitally reaching over 100,000 people during the ongoing pandemic. ACF team organized Webinars with experts for areas such as health awareness including need for wearing face masks & social distancing, sustaining livelihoods during the pandemic, climate change and soil health. All of its 33 skill training SEDI centres are operational digitally. Interestingly, ACF secured jobs for its trainees through digital interviews.

Additionally, ACF`s SHGs made & distributed face masks to local municipalities, sanitation workers and those providing essential services.

 To Conclude

ACF is led by an outstanding and passionate team which is highly mission oriented in its approach. ACF has having achieved superior outcomes by use of highly innovative practices across most of its initiatives, ACF team continues to accelerate transformation of rural India.

 Play a role in India’s development

  • By sharing our newsletters with friends
  • By connecting us to corporates’ who can support our “Sustainable Livelihood” initiatives.

Manish Jain
GormalOne LLP

Delivering Resources to Empower

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GORMALONE September 15, 2020 0 Comments