UP Mango Fest: Brand building of famed mangoes
Jyotsna Kaur Habibullah, Founder, Lucknow Mango Festival, Awadh Mango Growers Association
Q: What is the main reason for organising a mango fest in Lucknow?
Uttar Pradesh Mango festival aims to capitalize the luscious golden goodness of our famous local mangoes and attract people to join in a gala gourmet experience, cultural and culinary carnival. We endeavour to promote agribusiness supporting farmers and the local economy, ensure the sustainability of our local agriculture and resources, stimulate local economy through culinary tourism and develop Lucknow as the premier national and international culinary tourism destination. Lucknow needs development of tourism as despite our culture, history and heritage we attract a very small number of tourists. Like many cities and towns across France are renowned for their grapes, making them major tourist attractions we would like to build a concept of people coming to experience mangoes in an orchard in and around Lucknow. The aim is also to bring farmers in touch with consumers and find innovative ways to sell directly so that they are not restricted to small margins. The objective is to develop Lucknow's mangoes as a brand and be at par with the best mangoes sold across the world by bringing in technology, know-how and marketing skills and to make the mango season a tourist (domestic and international) attraction. The concept of eating fruit in an orchard is not new but it is something that people have become unfamiliar with and the novelty of the experience will bring people back again and again.
Q: What will be the event this year?
For the fifth year the event is being held at multiple locations, orchards and over the whole mango fruiting period it will be a signature tourism initiative attracting visitors from across the country and abroad in collaboration with different government departments, farmers and corporate. Orchard visit is on June 18 and on the 24 & 25, the fest will be held at Indira Gandhi Pratishthan, Lucknow.
Q: When was your organisation started and why?
Awadh Mango Growers Association was started three years ago with farmers from around UP and we are committed to promoting mangoes and mango by products and ensure the farmersâ€™ sustainable livelihoods through mango.
Q: How did the Habibullahs associate with mangoes?
The story of Habibullah Estate Mango Orchards began when Begum Hamida Habibullah had the mango trees planted in 1965. There were many naysayers in the village and around as there were no roads, water or electricity there at the time. The luxuriant orchard that grows there now producing the most delicious Mangoes in the area is a testament to her efforts. I am proud to continue the family tradition to conserve and build our rich agricultural heritage and provide the best of this natural bounty to more people and to work with more women farmers to give them the opportunities that I have been fortunate to have.
Shashwat Pathak is into bonsai creation
Bonsai is wonder of nature in miniature
Q: What made you opt for bonsais as against more conventional and easy options?
I have been into bonsai gardening since I was in Class IX. I have taken basic/advance bonsai classes from my Guru Mrs Santosh Arora, president, Avadh Bonsai Association. Bonsai is in my blood. I always wanted to take up a profession which was of my interest and I got an opportunity to get into this field professionally. Making of bonsai plants require very specialised materials scarcely available in Lucknow. My firm â€˜The Bonsai Paradise Studioâ€™ is helping the bonsai lovers in meeting their needs and interests.
Q: What is unique about bonsais and why should people have them in their homes?
Bonsai is an art of miniaturising trees aptly called nature in miniature. It is an evergreen eco friendly hobby. Due to ever increasing cost of land, more and more people are leaving their bungalows and shifting to flats, living in unnatural surrounding. Bonsai, the wonder of nature in miniature, is one of the sources to bring natural surrounding indoor in smaller areas.
Q: Vastu says planting bonsais is a symbol of restricted growth? Your take on this?
There are some people who have some myths about bonsai but in my own case bonsai has helped me to grow. The bonsai means tree planted in a pot and shaped to look like a tree in nature. Anyone can learn and maintain bonsai, no mystery or cruelty is involved in the art of bonsai. They are not stunted or starved for water. Wire is applied as a brace and bending device and not as a growing restrictor. In fact, all bonsai are healthy plants receiving ample water, care and attention and love from all enthusiastic bonsai fans.
Q: What care is needed to keep bonsais healthy? How difficult it is to grow them?
As a beginner to the art of bonsai, impatient eagerness for quick result is normal. Often the lengthy process involved in starting a bonsai from scratch can be a hard and frustrating experience. A good idea will be to buy a pre-bonsai material from an authentic bonsai studio or nursery. After that one can slowly move on to start his own trees from touch material. Another good idea would be to join a bonsai club.
Q: Are bonsais very expensive?
According to me bonsai hobby is not expensive. It also depends upon the personal interest and willingness to spend. Though bonsai hobby requires material which is not very easily available .
Q: Your advice to those who wish to venture into similar field?
People who want to pursue bonsai as profession should have deep knowledge and interest of bonsai. Bonsai as a venture requires personal attention, love and care for plants and just by importing or stocking the material one cannot run this business successfully. One should not make faulty statements or try to fool customers. But if you are really determined, and have ample time, space and manpower, then you can go for it.
March â€“April 2017
Neelima Tripathi is into organic farming
Organic means honest, transparent & unadulterated
What inspired you to start an initiative to promote organic products?
I was a happy homemaker in Mumbai. One fine Sunday morning I visited Farmer's Market in Bandra. I tasted a plate of idli and chatni that tasted like nothing I had ever eaten in my life. I also bought some veggies from there that were organically grown. They were so fresh and natural. I had never tasted such veggies before. This visit gave me an idea. I thought why can't everyone have the same organic experience and get the same kind of fresh healthy vegetables and fruits. And that's how Freshh Rootz was born.
What is the concept of organic market and how is it useful to the common man?
Food is the basic need of life. Today we all know that our food is polluted. It doesn't matter who has done the mess, it matters who can fix it. What if you can support consumers as well as the farmers? Then they shall willingly adopt the organic way of growing food. This will be possible only if we support them by buying organically grown vegetables and fruits.
What are the challenges you encounter in running this business?
The biggest challenge is the mindset. People think organic food is expensive but it's not. By eating injurious food items you are adversely affecting your health. You think you are eating green vegetables, but grown in unhealthy manner, they are in fact causing you more harm than good. So, add their cost to your medical bill and you'll know I'm right.
What is your advice to those who wish to enter similar fields?
Organic means honest, transparent and no adulteration! You have to give what you promise. The products have to be grown organically and you have to make sure of that before you offer them to the consumers under the â€˜organicâ€™ tag. If you are ready, be positive and go ahead.
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Nature is my biggest inspiration - September - 2016
Q: How did you venture into this field?
I was always inclined towards being creative. My friends and family always loved what I wore and would ask me to source clothes for them as well. Eventually, when I got an opportunity to start my own line in the year 2009, I established my brand, 'Myra by Anju Narain'. To add to this, being married into the city of Lucknow also influenced my thought process and I was drawn to its rich culture and heritage. I have always believed in women empowerment. Working with the chikan artisans, to help them get better remuneration for their craft, has been was my driving force.
Q: What initial challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
It was not easy to create a niche for myself but I always stood firm and faced whatever challenges came my way. The most difficult challenge that I faced was in finding good tailors and craftswomen to work for me. It took me two years to actually start getting the desired results and the 'right' hands. Being a perfectionist myself I had to make sure that each outfit produced by Myra was well embroidered and well finished. Quality check is always a big challenge in this industry. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that I am still overcoming the odds. There are 10 to 12 processes that have to be completed before a garment is ready to be consumed. I make sure each step is carried out properly, under my team's supervision and, if the need arises, tackled and rectified then and there.
Q: What is your source of inspiration?
Nature! It is the biggest source of my inspiration. I am a keen observer and whatever touches my soul inspires me to create an exquisite design. Having a spiritual bent of mind and being a regular spiritual practitioner helps me to enhance my creativity.
Q: What advice do you have to offer to those who wish to join similar field?
Firstly I would advice them to focus and set goals for themselves. The goals may be short term or long term. The moment you know what you expect from yourself and where you want to take your career, your job is done 50%. 2ndly, create a niche for your product by being constantly innovative and attentive. Interning with a good designer always helps to sharpen ones skills and abilities.