Since 1959, over 100,000 Tibetans have moved to refugee settlements in India where use of monocropping and chemical fertilizers was the norm. In partnership with the Tibetan Government in-exile we introduced sustainable agriculture and green energy production to Tibetan refugee settlements in southern India. After a successful three-year establishment period from 2009 to 2012, these efforts have taken root and are now fully managed by the local Tibetan settlements.
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Demonstration farms and nurseries were planted in each settlement to facilitate education and outreach. Farmers were able to see firsthand the benefits of organic crop diversification and the impact on environmental regeneration. This motivated them to implement these methods on their owns lands, resulting in improved soil quality, greater yields, and more financial stability.
These efforts began by introducing the Pongamia pinnata tree, a valuable cash crop, which has the unique ability to revitalize depleted soil and produce biofuel. Demonstration plots and nurseries were planted with thousands of Pongamia pinnata seedlings in order to showcase the concept from seed to tree. Mature Pongamia pinnata trees stand up to 50 feet high and sport hearty dark-green leaves that retain moisture under intense heat. When mature, the tree produces seed pods which can be pressed for oil to be used as biofuel to power pumps, generators, and even heavy machinery like tractors, cars, and trucks