The Hazira Group of Companies (HCG) has decided to implement a novel gift program: to distribute living things by gifting horticulture saplings to the communities of the Hazira peninsula.
This idea emerged after observing the gift distribution by other companies to community members. Generally, most companies distribute the gift items which are relevant to specific occasions e.g. Kites during the Uttarayan , crackers in Diwali etc.
This programme was started in 2006 with 160 saplings and with HGC bearing all the cost. After the success of this programme, the coverage increased rapidly every year. The horticulture saplings activity allows us to broad base benefits to all communities in the Hazira peninsula. It enables us to have a direct impact on livelihoods as well as on health by making available fruits in every home in the villages of Hazira.
The horticulture sapling given in Aug 2006, almost all trees are now fruits. The image shows live example of impacts of this programme.
This year during the monsoon season, we have distributed and planted 3716 horticulture saplings ( Mango, Chiku, Coconuts ,Lemon) to 743 houses. Under this programme, a maximum 5 saplings provided to each household . So far , we have covered 80 % of households of four villages.
The Hazira Social Performance team took the lead on this project design, strategy and execution, with active support from a local NGO, Kantha Vistar Satatyapurna Vikas Samiti (KVSVS) and respective Gram Vikas & Paryavaran Samities. As result of this partnership, the community realized the value for money and long term benefit from this sustainable gift .Today the community & HGC have each contributed 50% towards the cost of sapling and support. Since the last five years the total number of trees planted which are now flourishing are 17500 live fruit trees.
In an effort to develop the ecology and environment of the villages, the Hazira Group of Companies undertook the Coastal Area Eco-Restoration project, a community centric mangrove restoration project initiated in the four villages of the Hazira peninsula through a participative model. Funded and supported by the Group Companies over a period of five years, the programme has resulted in the development of 1100 Ha of mangrove plantation and 1100 Ha of non-mangrove plantations all of which have brought bio-diversity to the area.
The program which has seen plantation of 6,000,000 mangrove and 35,000 non-mangrove saplings has impacted four villages with a total population of some 26,000 people. Today, just in the Hazira area, over 1000-fisherman families derive secondary livelihoods from the mangrove plantations.
The objective was to improve the ecology and livelihoods on the Hazira coast with a core focus on regeneration through ecologically sound use of mangroves and other related resources in a physical and social context.
Over the last seven years HGC has worked with village communities, the Gujarat government (especially the forest department), NGOs and academic institutes to revegetate the mudflats of the Hazira peninsula, including a partnership with Gujarat Ecology Commission for 300 ha of mangrove plantation.
The entire plantation area is also under social fencing with the village environment committees ensuring that no animals destroy the newly planted saplings and no foraging for fuel or feedstock takes place till the forests reach a self-sustaining level of maturity. In order to ensure this, a corresponding effort has also been undertaken on terrestrial resources to develop alternate grazing and drinking water resources.