Daimler and Caritas International intend to cooperate for the next three years on water projects in semi-arid regions in India, Brazil and Mozambique.
"Our goal is to improve life in these regions and open up new perspectives," says Ingmar Neumann, responsible for corporate cooperative ventures at Caritas International. He was on the ground in India with a 25-member project team. The selected project sites of "Water for Life" are the Jhabua district in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, the drought region in northeastern Brazil, and the Tambara and Guro districts in the Manica Province of Mozambique.They all have one thing in common: they are semideserts.
Survival is only possible if all inhabitants of the region, be it man or animal, adapt to the existing conditions. Among other things, this means living with the unpredictable rainfall and the extended dry periods. Doing so requires knowledge about semi-arid climates. On average, semi-arid regions see rain three to five months out of the year, while the rest of the time the evaporation exceeds the precipitation. The fields must be cultivated differently that in regions where there ground is irrigated sufficiently. The project regions in Brazil, India and Mozambique are also among the poorest of their countries and thus require special vigilance about sustainable farming.
One of the three projects is the so-called "drought polygon" of Brazil. It covers an area of about 1.1 million square kilometers with more than 1,300 districts and over 28 million inhabitants. Drought periods that can last for years severely threaten the water supply. The El Niño phenomenon hits this region especially hard. Because it is so difficult to cultivate the fields, this region suffers from severe poverty. However, the slums of the cities are no alternative for the people living here. The objective of the "Water for Life" project is to teach the small farmers in the region what they need to know to be able to plant tamarind or passion fruit, which do not need additional irrigation.
Independent production of honey and fruit juice concentrates
The project calls for founding twenty small-farm cooperatives with six families on average. One student from each cooperative is to attend agricultural school to teach the knowledge acquired there to others. The plans call for producing honey, medicinal plants and fruit juice concentrates. Government subsidy programs help the farmers to market the manufactured products and thereby be able to feed their families better with an additional income.
This is just one example of the three projects in all. The Jhabua district in India presents challenges for the "Water for Life" project to overcome that are similar to those in Brazil. More information about this in our blog post about the visit to the India project by Ingmar Neumann, Caritas International, Link Blog Daimler.com or in this blog post Water for Life