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Terviva: Empowering Tribal Farmers and Promoting Sustainable Agriculture with Pongamia Trees

Terviva was founded in 2010 by visionary Naveen Sikka. It focuses on growing Pongamia trees, a robust plant that produces protein and oil-rich legumes.

Vivek Singh

Terviva, a trailblazing food and agriculture innovation company established in 2010 by visionary entrepreneur Naveen Sikka, has emerged as a global leader in sustainable farming practices and environmental conservation. The company's pioneering work centres around the cultivation of Pongamia trees, a resilient species that yields protein- and oil-rich legumes while promoting carbon sequestration and ecological rejuvenation. Through a transparent and equitable supply chain, Terviva aims to foster global community benefits and contribute to a greener, healthier planet.

The Resilient Pongamia Trees: Guardians of the Earth

Terviva's journey has been defined by its commitment to addressing contemporary environmental challenges. Pongamia trees have taken centre stage in this endeavour, showcasing their remarkable adaptability and multifaceted benefits. Beyond their carbon sequestration capabilities that aid in mitigating climate change, these trees play a pivotal role in enhancing soil health and water quality. Furthermore, their ability to thrive in challenging environments helps prevent deforestation, and revitalise agricultural lands and local communities.

From Harvest to Plate: The Saga of Ponova

Over more than a decade of innovation and dedication, Terviva has perfected the process of harvesting and transforming Pongamia beans into a range of wholesome and delectable food ingredients known as Ponova™. This extensive supply chain spans diverse regions, starting with the wild harvesting of non-GMO beans in India and extending to regenerative land stewardship initiatives in Hawaii, Florida, and Australia.

Empowering Indian Tribal Communities

Terviva's commitment to social impact shines particularly bright in its operations within India. Commencing its operations in 2020, the company has already made a profound positive impact on over 50,000 tribal collectors within a mere three years. By procuring Pongamia beans from these communities at fair prices, Terviva has initiated a virtuous cycle of empowerment. The year 2023 saw Terviva sourcing Pongamia beans from over nine states, significantly uplifting the lives of these communities.

Terviva Karanja Sakhi (TKS): For a Sustainable Bridge

Terviva's flagship program, TKS, serves as a critical link between the company and tribal communities. Female entrepreneurs affectionately referred to as "Sakhis" or Friends, play a pivotal role in promoting sustainable Pongamia harvest practices. By offering support, coaching, and guidance, these Sakhis ensure the longevity of sustainable practices, encouraging communities to actively participate in harvesting and tree planting. The program also extends its educational focus to encompass fair wages, gender equality, child education, health and safety, and sustainable forestry.

Celebrating Nature and Fostering Awareness

Terviva's commitment to environmental conservation is vividly portrayed through its celebration of significant environmental occasions alongside tribal communities. Commemorating events like World Environment Day, World Biodiversity Day, and World Health Day, Terviva uses these occasions to underline the importance of forest preservation, impart knowledge about well-being, and foster a deeper understanding of the natural world.

Planting Trees for a Blossoming Future

Undeterred in its mission for environmental preservation, Terviva is gearing up for its next major undertaking: partnering with the forest department of Odisha to plant more than 40,000 trees in the Mayurbhanj district. This ambitious initiative aligns with Terviva's overarching vision of "Planting millions of trees to feed billions of people," marking a significant step towards a greener, more sustainable future.

Empowering Farmers through Agroforestry Carbon Project

In collaboration with Varaha Ag, Terviva has introduced the Agroforestry carbon project program in the Chandauli district of Uttar Pradesh. Targeting degraded areas prone to land degradation and soil erosion, this innovative program aims to restore ecological equilibrium while simultaneously providing income avenues for the local community. With the establishment of trial agroforestry plots spanning 50 hectares in 2023, the program is set to scale to a minimum of 2000 hectares per year from 2024.

Terviva's remarkable journey exemplifies the potential of innovation and collaboration in tackling pressing environmental issues while uplifting communities. Through their dedication to sustainable agriculture, empowerment of tribal communities, and ambitious tree-planting initiatives, Terviva serves as a beacon guiding the way to a more resilient and prosperous future. Their trailblazing efforts inspire others to follow suit, ensuring a healthier planet for generations to come.

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