The Tamrakar Project was initiated by an email from Anand Tamrakar to Professor Robert H. Giles, Jr. in February, 2005. Mr Tamrakar was starting a horticulture clinic in Bhilai, Chhattisgarth, India. As I first understood, he conducted a kitchen-garden and seasonal- flowers consultancy from his clinic. His customers seemed to want pictures of new gardens. He sought software relating to landscaping and general improvements, especially for the betterment of horticulture.
Anand explained in his second correspondence that he graduated from his studies in agriculture science in 1998. He was very much interested in working with the tribals' and farmers' communities. As all of us, he admitted need for support from many hands who really want to work as he did. His interest and reaching out pleased me and I decided to try to be of help.
As I explained in a subsequent letter to him, I hoped that we could work together. I wanted no money, only to learn that some ideas have been put to good use and that my web site is being seen by students and people interested in improving natural resources in India (and elsewhere). Though I was a student of botany and a home gardener, I knew that my specific knowledge about horticulture would not compare to his. I knew from past experience that there would be may things to share. I knew I would learn much from the interaction. The Internet offered a great opportunity.
I sought to assist and since I believed Rural System concepts were widely relevant, perhaps part of India's golden revolution, I suggested that we work together for our mutual education, interests, and hopefully for his financial benefits. I was also hopeful that other relations might be developed, especially with EarthQuilt.
Robert H. Giles, Jr., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus
College of Natural Resources,
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
504 Rose Avenue
Blacksburg, Virginia, USA
email Bob Giles, R. H. Giles, Jr.
Ignorant of the specific details of the ecology of Bhilai and aware of the limited time to be spent, I intend to concentrate on the principles of s system for raising and managing plant crops for profit. It may be modern "horticulture" but there is not time for discussing that term and its definitions. The work here within this project may provide the basis for (and demonstration of) a system aiding in achieving sustainability of small holdings, increasing human health through nutrition, increasing employment, improving environment, and providing an export potential. It is a worthy endeavor and participation by others is very welcome.
It is clear that India now has substantial horticultural research being carried out at eight ICAR institutes (with 26 regional stations), 10 National Research Centres (on major crops) and a Project Directorate on Vegetable crops. Area specific, multi-disciplinary research is also being conducted under 14 All India Coordinated Research Projects each on Tropical, Subtropical and Arid Fruits; Vegetables, Potato, Tuber Crops and Mushrooms; Ornamental Crops, Medicinal and Aromatic crops; Palms, Cashew,
Perhaps The Tamrakar Project can tap the results of these projects and programs with over 700 scientists to provide clear returns from these efforts and funds in this one place for its people.
Its challenges, as elsewhere in India, probably can be seen in gaining the resources and time for using biotechnology, protecting cultivation, using computer-aided land and crop system management, integrating nutrient management, using leaf nutrient standards, using biofertilizers, developing integrated animal and plant damage management systems, and using mycorrhiza innoculants.. Perhaps research can be taken up in partnership with the private sector to sustain cost-effective studies long enough to yield conclusions on topics like producing hybrids, producing green house flowers, adding value, and exports with significant local benefits.
Paddy is the principal crop and the central plains of Chhattisgarh are known as rice bowl of central India. Other major crops are coarse grains, wheat, maize, groundnut, pulses and oilseeds. The region is also suitable for growing mango, banana, guava & other fruits and a variety of vegetables with 44 percent of its area under forests it has one of the richest bio-diversity areas in the country. It has abundant minor forest produce like Tendu leaves, Sal seed, etc. Medicinal plants, bamboo, lac and honey are other potential money earners for the state. Chhattisgarh has embarked on a concerted plan to increase double cropped areas, diversify the cropping pattern and improve incomes from agro-based small-scale enterprises.
Much of this site will be devoted to notes that I have made as I learm about Mr. Tamrakar's business, Chhattisgarth and its ecology, and horticulture as it may relate to the Gardens Group of Rural System
Preliminary Ideas and Suggestions From Giles
February 28, 2005
I try to get a business started here and one part is a tourism group. I think we may be of mutual help as I consider and develop more, and perhaps work to get tours to your area and gardens.
I promote the concept of ranging, a new world for outdoor sports as well as sightseeing and ecotourism. Visiting your clinic, as well as the cultural sites, the jewel mines, your gardens and the forests can make an excellent ecotourism attraction.
My notes on soils, hopefully are directly related to your work, probably not at all related to rice growing.
|Daylilly in Giles' yard|
|Local daylilly farm (Craig County, Virginia, USA) with small on-site sales center|
I do not know about earthworms in India. I imagine they can be cultivated and can be used to make good garden soil. We need to discuss that. I have hope of developing alpha earth for gardens. Such "earth" may be a good sale item for you, a medium for your plants that you can demonstrate and sell, and by having different species of earthworms in separate units, can make claims about the differences --- diversification is good for business. Perhaps it can be used in mined land reclamation. I learned that there is much mining there.
My ideas about the gardens are available. I hope some will be useful.
Perhaps there is a publisher there who will print my book called Forest Faunal Systems - it is a book about wildlife management in the forest and it is on the web.You can sell it out of your gardens, perhaps with your native plant cultivars being raised by you for commerce.
We need to discuss reducing wildlife damage to crops. Work with tribals should supply much common sense and old techniques for protecting crops and reducing losses.
I think we need to emphasize reducing loss as much, or more, than increasing production.
My ideas on the total system , Rural System I call it, all (I think) are related to your garden and horticulture interests.
I think we can develop with you computer maps of the entire state, maybe just your area near Bhilai, and then make specific maps of where different plant communities grow best. Each species has its own ecological requirements. If we have most of the major ones in a computer, we can map the places where the plant is likely to be successful. You can then sell these maps or at least give specific advice about growing season, insects, disease zones, and plant stress. Computer students there may be interested in GIS (geographic informations sytems). My students have been very successful in using computer maps (GIS).
Maybe we can discuss species of bamboo (if grown there ) and their uses. What varieties? here the price is high and there are collectors of species. Perhaps we can study an export market for you, at least sharing of possible uses of different species.
I struggle to get this thing, this enterprise, that I call Rural System started. I have taught most of the concepts behind it in a university class in systems ecology and elsewhere, developed computer systems, done research, but learned too late that to get sustained natural resource management it must be done by business and with a profit incentive.. That is why I continue. Perhaps we can join forces, you can make some money and develop your clinic, but maybe by finding helpers and contacts some of the ideas and effects can be felt.
I shall gladly work with you and large land owners who may see the advantages of Rural System and a cooperative, coordinated project among us.
[ HOME | Lasting Forests (Introductions) | Units of Lasting Forests | Ranging | Guidance | Forests | Wildlife Law Enforcement Systems | Species-Specific Management (SSM) | Wilderness and Ancient Forests | Appendices | Ideas for Development | Disclaimer]
You are encouraged to assist with and participate in this growing effort to develop a working part of Rural System or to improve the horticultural and other natural and agricultural resources of this important part of India. Send an email to Bob Giles, R. H.
Return to top of page.
Last revision: March 3, 2005