What is the Marcus Fund?
Climate Change has a significant impact on agricultural activities in semi-arid drought prone regions of India. In the State of Karnataka, the monsoon has failed several consecutive years, creating significant problems for peasants. With no rainfall, Field Crops fail and poverty and hardships increase for the peasant families.
The Marcus Fund has been set up by Alf Bjørseth of Scatec AS, Norway, to specifically support small and poor peasant families switch over from risky, rainfall dependent Field Crops, to more hardy Tree Crops that do not need timely rains. In particular, the Marcus fund will support planting of trees which may bear fruit for a long time, creating income for peasants, independent of weather conditions.
Each family will plant about 260 Tamarind or Mango trees on 1 Hectare of land, and water the saplings during the hot and dry summer months for 3 years. They will each receive € 1,430, over a 3 year period, to prepare the land, dig pits, place Rockwool, haul Red Earth & Sand, plant Saplings, build Field Tanks for water, assistance to haul water to their Field Tanks, and provide annual Labour Compensation for watch and ward.
Investment needed on a 1 Hectare Plot
|1st Year||2nd Year||3rd Year||Total|
|1||Cost of pitting, burning, red earth and sand for 260 pits per hectare family plot @ Rs 20||5,200||5,200|
|2||Cost of 260 saplings of tamarind, mango, teak, neem, etc. per hectare family plot @ Rs 60||15,600||15,600|
|3||Cost of 260 pieces of Rockwool per hectare family plot @ Rs 110||28,600||28,600|
|4||Cost of replacing 52 saplings per hectare in the 2nd year @ Rs 60||3,120||3,120|
|5||Cost of replacing 52 saplings per hectare in the 3rd year @ Rs 60||3,120||3,120|
|6||Cost of 2 x 6,500 litre pre-fabricated PVC Field Tanks on each hectare family plot @ Rs 7,500 x 200 hectares||15,000||15,000|
|7||Planting agave on the boundaries of each hectare family plot||500||500|
|8||Field reimbursement of Tractor Hire for hauling water to fill the tanks @ Rs 6 per plant x 260 plants x 7 months every year x 3 years x 200 hectares||7,280||7,280||7,280||21,840|
|COST PER HECTARE FAMILY PLOT||Rs 72,180||Rs 10,400||Rs 10,400||Rs 92,980|
|€ 1,110||€ 160||€ 160||€ 1,430|
Progress to date
In the last 3 years, from April 2007 to date, Alf Bjørseth has granted the Marcus Fund a total of Rs 31,784,331 as grants.
154 families from 32 villages have planted 32,051 saplings on their lands in 2008 and 2009. Of these, 21,735 plants survived (26% Survival Rate)
- A total of 154 families from 32 villages are participating in the Marcus Fund Project (against the planned 85 families from 15 villages).
- They have planted on 285 acres (against the planned 212.5 acres/85 hectares).
- A total of 32,051 saplings have been planted
- Survival Rate is 26%. This is an acceptable figure and the Fund is working hard to improve this number by better planting technology.
- 105 tub-type open top water storage Field Tanks of 2,600 litres capacity have been procured.
You can participate in the Marcus Fund with any contribution. However, support of € 1,430 will assist a single Coolie family to switch over from risky Field Crops to hardy Tree Crops on 1 Hectare of their land holding. Please click here to contact Alf Bjørseth.
Please click here for a full description of the ADATS organization, which is Marcus Fund's partner in India. ADATS has for more than 32 years assisted Coolie cultivation in this region.