Driving in Tiron village for the first time, I didn't give a second thought to the lumper yard and rock quarry humming with loud whirs of diesel engines. A newcomer might assume that such enterprises had always existed in the village, regarding them as persistent fixtures in rural life. I mistakenly made that same assumption.
Hiking past the roadside businesses, I discovered a network of footpaths criss-crossing into rolling hills of mango trees. Without roads, only foot travel provided access to the mangos that grew naturally and organically in the hillside. After some informal interviews and some reflection, it became apparent that drastic environmental changes had begun.
In Tiron village, where the prominent mango variety does not command a substantial portion of the fresh market, the mango price drops dramatically during the peak of the mango season. When the price drops there is little incentive to travel the footpaths into the hills to harvest the mangos. Consequently, mangos rot on the trees, resulting in millions of tons of losses. Worse, the tree's value to the farmer drops, erasing any incentive to care for and cultivate the trees.
Enter a mining company, whose interest has to do with the rock, not the mango trees, which is convertible into construction materials. Extracting companies offer to rent the land for five years. At the end of the contract period the land is utterly unusable.
Small, weak and poor people have little choice than to accept the short term benefits offered by mining concerns, which consist of the rental fees and some menial jobs, like creating gravel. Joblessness creates desperation for short term income. What was once tree-lined hills now resembles the landscape of the moon.
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A Snack With Impact.