I have recently taken on a new role at Practical Action; Project Assistant. I will be helping our energy and climate change campaigners over the next few months, working on various projects and campaigns. Prior to this role, I worked specifically on energy access and so the concept of working on climate change was a bit daunting…what do I know about climate change? Apparently more than I thought…
I start my blog with a question: what’s your favourite fruit??
A lychee from China?
An ugli from Jamaica?
A baobab from Africa?
Before today, I might have said pineapples or strawberries…however, for the first time (in all of my 23 years), I tried a mango:
I can now safely say that my favourite is the mango from India. With its sunshine yellow flesh and deliciously juicy taste, it is easy to see why it is often referred to as the “King of Fruits” and indeed, my new favourite.
With my new found love for this fruit, I decided to do a bit of a research – where/when can I get my hands on a mango?!
But to my dismay, I found out that all is not well on the mango front…
The Alphonso Mangos are the most expensive fruits imported from India. The best and most exclusive are grown on the small Natwarlal plantation in Ratnagiri, and are hand-harvested.
Alphonso production in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri district has been dropping at a steady pace since 2008 and in March this year (the start of the mango season); farmers accepted the harsh reality of yet another disappointing crop.
“But why won’t the mango grow?!” I hear you ask…
The problem is the changing weather conditions. Alphonso mangos need a very special mix of weather and the perfect soil. This year, due to unexpectedly colder and longer winters, harvests have been low. This unfortunately translates into a huge loss in fruit and trade for the farmers.
Climate change can – and often already is, as demonstrated by the Alphonso mango farmers – affecting the lives of millions of people.
Although not working directly with mango farmers, Practical Action has been working for more than 40 years with some of the poorest communities around the world that heavily rely on natural resources for their livelihoods. The experience we’ve gained shows that even slight alterations in the weather can drastically impact people’s lives.
However, declaring the problem does not help. We need solutions.
Practical Action recognises that small-scale technologies can make a difference, and around the world, we’re working with millions of people to help them adapt to climate change.
I hope that in some small way, my new campaigning role at Practical Action will ensure that my new love affair with the ‘king of fruit’ won’t be fleeting.