Parachute Kalpavriksha – a CSR initiative with compassionate communication

Amul and Arokya (from Hatsun) have gone behind the scenes of cow rearing as a way to endear their brands with consumers.

Now Parachute, from Marico, does the same with coconut trees! This is a vastly interesting move and perhaps the first time in India.

Parachute’s program is called Kalpavriksha (website). The initiative supports coconut farmers to increase their yield by training them on all aspects of farm management like nutrient management, pest management, disease management and water management. The program was started on September 2, 2017, on World Coconut Day.

The program finds mention in 2 successive annual reports of Marico (2017-18 and 2018-19) and should find a mention in the 2019-20 report too, presumably, given the progress.

Most recently, I came across their ‘The Tree Song’ (in Tamil, with English subtitles).

The storyline is simple and uses a child to project the theme of caring for the coconut trees after his father decides to cut them off since they have contracted some infestation. How the child goes about saving the trees, with a little help from Parachute Kalpavriksha, is the plot.

What was particularly endearing is the fact that the plot portrays the 2 extremes—a child and an old man—singing to the coconut tree with the conviction that they hear humans’ singing. Besides these 2 age groups, the rest are too cynical or rational to either believe in such possibilities. But Parachute Kalpavriksha gets more people to believe the child’s method, along with helping the trees on a more practical level, using scientific techniques of disease management.

Marico/Parachute has realized that coconut oil production cannot merely be a business between producers and buyers. They need to go back to the source and help them improve the quality and quantity of their yields. Only then can Marico sustain the production, just like how Amul helps farmers rear cows.

You could also see all this from the perspective of the coconut tree. We do not, as humans, though, in the supreme arrogance that everything in this world is meant for us to plunder and consume. But we can be different and see things with compassion. If we do, we notice how magnanimously great are plants like the coconut tree and the banana tree! Every element of their being is used by us and in so many diverse ways.

The very least we could do is be conscious about how much we depend on them and remember that contribution, instead of taking them for granted because they are ‘mere plants’ and ‘cannot communicate’.

I’d love to know the full credits behind the Tamil song used in the film – the singers, lyricist and composer. It’s a pity those details were not included in the video and are not available anywhere, including the Kalpavriksha website.

PS: On the topic of coconuts, here’s iD Foods’ latest packaging win – tender coconut water and grated coconut in coconut-packaging!!

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