Farms n Farmers : Cultivating A Change In The Farms
There are probably a hundred ways to earn money but in a country with about 50% people employed in Agriculture and more than 68% living in rural areas, how do you bring about a change in the lives of the people? How to you talk about the indices of Gross National Happiness and quality of living when educated and bright ones decide to move from rural to urban areas only to come back on vacation? Does it matter then to talk about suicides by farmers and blaming the Government? Does it help? No.
It was questions like these which bothered the two determined minds so much so that they started a journey back to the grassroots of India not to only talk about a change but actually bring it. It was not easy for Shashank Kumar and Manish Kumar to choose a profession of helping farmers to select better crops and sell them to markets at right price. Not because they did not know much about it or they were incapable but because no one believed them at first.
Over a period of 6 months they met as many farmers as possible to get aware with the ground realities and what problems the farmers faced. Soon they formed a team of advisors which consisted of professors and agriculture scientists from IIT Kharagpur, IIM A, RAU Pusa, BAU Ranchi and Farms and Farmers Foundation was set to toil and perspire in the fields of Bihar and Jharkhand.
Shashank being in the field of supply chain had seen the peril of people at the ends of it, the producers and the consumers. The team came up with a model to provide 360 degree services to the farmers from soil analysis to marketing and selling or the crops. Through their approach they are trying to bridge the gap between market, knowledge, technology and farms and farmers.
Core Team <-> Local Centres <-> Clusters
Local Centre Representative Conducts survey of farmers and conveys what FnF does. Then profile of farmers is analysed by the core team and segregated on parameters like total land holding, historical cropping pattern and affordability of cost of cultivation. In a cluster farmers of similar profile are grouped so that same cropping pattern and same farming schedule can be planned.
Cluster head is appointed which is responsible for information flow from local centres to the farmers and conducting weekly meetings.
Training camps are also conducted in the clusters and at district levels to teach farmers about better farming methods and spread awareness against malpractices and advantages of using a scientific approach.
The organization which started in 2010 with one cluster of 14 farmers has now spread to over 8 districts of Bihar. Products that they cover include papaya, litchi, medicinal herbs, basmati rice, maize (corn), baby corn, mushroom, turmeric, mangraila, rajma, moong, gram and seasonal vegetables.
Shashank Kumar, B.Tech IIT Delhi: After working for two and half years as an Associate in a Management consulting firm, he has been working in the agriculture sector. He has worked in areas of Supply chain, Retail, FMCG and Sales Strategy, Distributor and Vendor Management, Management Information System (MIS) etc.
Manish Kumar, 5-Years Integrated M. Sc., IIT Kharagpur: He has been very passionate about social service right from his school days and has worked for many NGOs. He also co-founded a society “Sambhav” at IIT Kharagpur which works in the field of employment generation and primary education in nearby villages of IIT Kharagpur.
Dr. Mini Thakur, Professor, Political Science, Mithila University; President, Aprajita Society: Her major research areas include “Women Empowerment” and “Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI)”.
Amrendra Singh, B. Tech., NIT Jamshedpur: Passionate about social reforms. Very enthusiastic & energetic towards grassroot-level works. Has been involved in many social organizations since his college days.
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Spark the Rise : Driving efficiency in agriculture: Farms and Farmers (FnF)
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Contact Farms n Farmers at:
Manish Kumar: +91-9973678929
Shashank Kumar: +91-8757912744
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