When Left Coast Wholesale teamed up with EcoStadt Technologies to carry their ECOWORKS EC 4-in-1 and ECOMAX Neem Kernel Fertilizer, we were ecstatic when we found out that not only are they wonderful, organic products that worked – but that their creation helps to support a rural economy by providing full-time jobs to individuals in an area where work is scarce.
Ecostadt and Neem
For their products, EcoStadt uses raw materials from the neem tree (Azadirachta indica). The neem tree is considered to be a “Rural Economy Engine” because of its self-sustaining nature and its socio-economic effects on rural Indian communities.
The neem tree sprawls the entirety of India and holds a deep emotional connection to the country’s people. Neem has been used in India for nearly 200 years for its medicinal properties. Almost every part of the neem tree has been used for human consumption. For example, the neem fruit is consumed for its antidiabetic and detoxification properties, and it is used externally on the human body to treat skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. The twigs of the neem tree are used as a natural toothbrush because of its antibacterial properties, and the wood of a neem tree is used to construct combs to prevent dandruff and other scalp problems.
Neem as a Biopesticide and Fertilizer
One of the most widespread uses of neem oil in the modern world - apart from human consumption - is its use in plant protection. The neem fruit and seed produce neem oil, which contains many active ingredients to support its use as a biopesticide. Neem oil based biopesticides function as an antifeedant, insect growth regulator and as a fitness disruptor. The process of cold-pressing to extract neem oil from the neem seed is simple and uses no solvents or extractants. The result of this process is neem oil (the active ingredient in ECOWORKS EC) and neem kernel cake (ECOMAX) which is ground from the remaining pressed seeds, resulting in two useful outputs.
The neem kernel cake is an excellent source of slow-release N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) plant nutrition and provides a number of benefits to the soil. Neem kernel cake and neem oil based biopesticides are growing in their use globally as the demand for organic agriculture only keeps growing. Best of all, this process creates no waste, as all parts of the process are used and sourced sustainably using carbon neutral harvesting and processing methods. (link to interview)
Neem as a Rural Economic Driver
Because of their use of the neem tree, EcoStadt has been able to have a profound effect on the rural economy in India. The neem tree sprawls a vast majority of unpopulated, rural public land as a shade tree due to its deep religious connotations. When the neem fruits fully ripen, they fall to the ground. The fruits are then harvested and picked by rural village resident as a full-time job. At the end of the season, the collected neem fruits are taken by the villagers and sold by the pound for a substantial price to a local trader. The local trader then sells the neem fruit material to a wholesale trading company, who then performs some quality control measures to further refine the material. The wholesale company then sells to companies such as EcoStadt Technologies.
Village residents have seen the entrepreneurial nature of the neem tree and decided to plant neem tree plantations themselves. They then in turn employ many employees to manage and harvest these trees. Likewise, most traders and wholesale companies also employ hundreds of employees in rural regions. As a result, neem-based products are able to provide a wonderful means of generating income for rural families.
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