Hi Gang, A professor friend (from India) and I are talking over small business ideas for people in rural India. The idea would be to provide seeds and a bit of start-up money (less than $100) for a few families to grow a specialty crop that can be sold to people in the cities of India, or perhaps overseas. There are many questions to be resolved before such project could begin: Internet access, Web site construction, start-up monies, etc. The project seems to depend upon selecting a crop that will do well with monsoon rains as a basic assumption-supplemental irrigation might be irregular. Naturally, I'm in favor of bulbs, especially types that are suited for warm climates and which have reputations for being "bullet proof." Many parts of the project can be taken care of by people in the USA, e.g., building a Web site, providing an email account, arranging a small amount of seed capital, etc. But, other parts will have to be arranged in India including factors related to marketing, delivery, pest control, etc. I'm in favor of amaryllids because I'm sort of addicted to the plants, and because many are tough plants that resist pests and drough-maybe some will do well with limited irrigation between monsoon seasons. I'm under the impression that Hippeastrum, Amaryllis, Crinum, and other amaryllids are mostly unpalatable to oxen and goats, and thus suitable for yet another reason. Nonetheless, other venues could be employed for microcredit-type businesses including farm animals, sewing, and brick-making, etc. A case for bulbs must be carefully thought out. QUESTION FOR THE IBS MEMBERS: ------------------------------------------------------ 1. What bulbs come to mind for such a project in India? 2. In addition to durability and ease of culture, what bulbs seem to have market appeal? 3. Also, consider finding propagation materials. It might be possible to get 500-1000 seeds of Crinum Jumbo hybrids each year, but it would be a problem to get seeds of some other Crinum? 4. What about Hippeastrum hybrids, are seeds available in bulk? SUMMARY --------------------------------------- My interest is in helping out in a way that uses my background (agriculture, plants, interest in ornamentals). But, I'm confident that I have no sense of what markets are interested in, or other crucial questions. It would be easy to suggest a crop that is of interest to westerners but which is doomed to fail because it just isn't feasible in India. So, if you've got input for me, or know of an existing program that might be a guide, please write to me off list. Also, be sure that there is no large money in the venture my friend and I are talking about. The goal might be to eventually provide $200 a year in extra income for a family. Cordially, Joe firstname.lastname@example.org Conroe TX Light frost is over, but cool weather is forecast for the next few days.