The Great Pied Hornbill, an iconic species of the forests of India’s Western Ghats, is a bird that mates for life. Every year the female finds a large hollow in a tree in which to build her nest; when she’s ready to lay her eggs she seals herself in by building a wall of faeces and bark. For the next four months she relies entirely on the male to feed her – and her chicks – by tirelessly flying back and forth feeding fruit through a a small crack in the wall. It’s this trust and longevity that we’re working towards in these forests with our FairWild certified programme.
One of the only trees big enough to provide a suitable nesting site for the Great Pied Hornbill is the bibhitaki tree. It is also the source of one of Ayurveda’s most valued ingredients: bibhitaki fruit – one of the three fruit used in our Triphala formula [Tri = three, Phal = fruit].
Unfortunately many of the most precious bibhitaki trees in the Western Ghats are under threat as they produce valuable timber and can be a tempting source of income for local landowners. The fruit, which offers an alternative – and more sustainable – source of income, is rarely collected – mainly because the market is either too far away or the price is too low.
This is where FairWild comes in.
By providing a reliable market and a premium price for the fruit, the local villagers are given a genuine incentive to protect these majestic bibhitaki trees. A fair price for sustainably collected wild fruit is a win-win situation for all; the local people benefit, the bibhitaki trees are preserved, and we at Pukka can offer you the finest quality ingredients in our Triphala.
And let’s not forget the Great Pied Hornbill. This is a bird that spends its life collecting fruit and distributing seeds around the forest through its droppings. As such it is a central thread in the web of life within the forest ecosystem. By helping to protect its fragile home, our efforts to promote FairWild certified bibhitaki fruit has the potential for unusually far-reaching effects