With A Yearly Turnover Of Rs 3.5 Crore, Ex-Techies’ Farming Organisation Has Increased Marginal Farmers’ Income By 20-30%

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Have you thought of investing your hard-earned money in farming, a business which is prone to losses due to weather conditions, price fluctuations, heavy labour cost and returns are not guaranteed? You may ask me, “How can you even ask us this question?”  But former corporate employees Vijayakumar and Vasanth Kumar Mani, who started ‘I Support Farming’, are changing the farming game with guaranteed profits; conditions applied though, for investors in farming.

Efforts For Good spoke to Vijayakumar Mani to know more about the initiative and how it is increasing farmers revenue by 20-30% and delivering profits to investors.

How and when ‘I Support Farming’ started

“I am an engineering graduate and my brother, an agricultural graduate. We both worked in corporates before founding ‘I Support Farming’ in 2016. Along with our corporate jobs, we were doing farming in a 7-acre land in Cuddalore for 15 years. Due to this, we were regularly in touch with farmers was aware of their struggles,” shares Vijayakumar.

During weekends, he and his brother used to travel to Cuddalore to manage the farm. They used to do three cycles of farming – two paddy cycles and one for black gram. But the other nearby farmers were doing only one or two cycles.

I Support Farming

“When we inquired, the farmers said that they do not have enough money to afford more than that. To cultivate paddy it costs Rs 25,000 per acre for a span of three months. Either the farmers get money from a lender at higher interest rates or pledge their jewellery. After harvesting, the farmers get a profit of Rs 10,000 for three months of hard work. That is the reason many marginal farmers are quitting farming and working in cities for a daily wage of Rs 300 which fetches them a decent income every month,” he informs. There is also the issue of middlemen after harvesting.

In addition, the farmers fail to adapt to new technology or practices. Cuddalore is a flood-prone area and every year farmers lose their farms due to submerging of their paddy fields. While Vijayakumar adopted Samba Sub, a variety of paddy introduced by Tamil Nadu agriculture department, which can withstand flood water for over two weeks, the other farmers did not adopt.

The idea of ‘I Support Farming’ sparked during 2015 floods in which Cuddalore is one of the worst flood-hit places in Tamil Nadu.

Vijayakumar narrates, “We sent a message to all our friends saying that we were going for relief work to Cuddalore. If you want to help kindly let us know. The very next minute, we got calls from many cities across India. The support we got was overwhelming. The problem we faced is that donors came till Pondicherry and Cuddalore to drop relief materials but the real people who needed help were further 10-15 km away, in villages. We realised that there are people who want to help but they are not aware who needs help. That’s when we thought of building a platform which connects people from the city and the farmers.”

The first two farmers

After the floods, the brothers brainstormed ideas on how to solve the farmers’ issue. They approached two farmers near their farm and started working with them on six acres of land. It wasn’t an easy task to convince the two farmers to collaborate with them.

“Though The farmers knew us for so long they thought that we have ulterior motives to grab their land or to evade income tax. To get their confidence we paid the lease amount in advance and also we promised them 60% of the profits,” he reveals.
Vijayakumar then reached out to their relatives and friends to invest in farming. They happily agreed to invest in the idea after having an interactive session with the participating farmers.

“We started off with the paddy crop, which gives 100% profits. The initiative got good results. The first produce was directly sold to the bulk buyers who quote a higher price,” he shares.

From 2 to more than 200 farmers

‘I Support Farming’ follows an approach called ‘Lead Farmer approach’. Influential farmers are first on-boarded and then through them, the other farmers are convinced to join the organisation. The ‘farmers’ score’, which evaluates the farmers based on a checklist. Today the organisation works with 200+ farmers in 700 acres of farmland.

Operation model

The organisation follows a farmer-first approach. In the event of calamities insurance covers the losses but in the event of pest attacks, the investors and the organisation gets profits only after paying to the farmer. This is made clear to the investors before they invest in any crop.

“The key thing is we get the money only if the investors get money.”

Farmers are given the required inputs, seeds, fertilisers and machinery instead of money to make sure all the money is utilised to grow the crop. Labour charges are directly paid to labourers via the organisation.

Field team visit the farmers regularly and give necessary inputs. Every one of them is equipped with a tab and the app, which enables them to record the details from the farm and upload it on the server. The team sitting in Chennai monitors all the inputs and gives required advice.

I Support Farming
Pest monitoring by field operators in the farm

The harvest is sold to the highest bidder, which eliminates two or three stages of middlemen. The profits are shared among farmers, investors and the organisation. Recently, the organisation had started animal farming.

Efforts For Good take

What ‘I Support Farming’ started is a much-needed initiative to help marginal farmers who are exploited by every section of the society of their sweat. It is time we as a nation should support the farmers and bring back the glory in agriculture.

Also Read: She Builds Biogas Plants In Bihar Villages To Provide Electricity, Fuel And Better Crop To Marginalised Farmers

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Emergency funds sent to 250 families
Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

KhaanaChahiye.com Is Distributing 40,000+ Meals Per Day In Mumbai During Covid-19 Lockdown

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Every global crisis affects every country in a different way depending on their socio-economic background. The COVID 19 pandemic hit India straight in its gut. After the lockdown daily wage workers and people who are underprivileged have been rendered out of their jobs. This has ultimately pushed them to an acute financial crisis so much so that even being able to afford two meals a day has become impossible. While we all wait for normalcy to bring us back our sanity, the financially disadvantaged people on the streets are fighting both the pandemic and hunger. 

KhaanaChahiye.com

In a scenario like so, a number of social groups have come forward to help in whatever way they can. One of the worst hit cities is Mumbai, where 5 lakh migrant workers, the homeless and underprivileged residents of slums and chawls, waiting endlessly for normalcy to return. KhaanaChahiye.com, an initiative by is cooking food and delivering them to those in dire need, every single day.

“khaanachahiye.com” that was launched in the city of Mumbai on March 29th, is one of its kind people-driven movements that has been running hall and hearty by the people coming from all across. It is that classic example of solidarity where people from all backgrounds, cultural and social has come together to ensure that every mouth is fed.

Brains behind KhaanaChahiye
Top : Pathik Muni, Ruben Mascarenhas. Below: Munaf Kapadia, Shishir Joshi

How does KhannaChahiye.com work

What’s different you ask? KhaanaChahiye.com has built a capacity of preparing over a whopping 50000+ meals on a daily basis by activating the closed kitchens on several Mumbai routes. Pathik Muni, who has been particularly invested in the mission says, “ We crowdsource demand on hunger pockets and then map it to supply-side by activating closed kitchens. Our partner NGO “Project Mumbai” with reach to the relevant stake holders in Government departments helps us facilitate permissions to activate these closed Kitchens with a turn around of 24 hours. Parallelly we raise funds to map the demand.”

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Emergency funds sent to 250 families

Areas of food distribution in Mumbai

The food that is prepared is not just hygienic but also fits the calorie count that is sufficient for a person to get him through the day. Every meal consists of daal-rice, aloo-sabzi, chole rotis, veg pulav etc.

KhaanaChahiye.com

KhaanaChahiye.com has a volunteer-driven collective drive in various areas of Mumbai where people in large numbers have come forward to contribute in the many ways possible. So far the initiative has covered the Bandra to Dahisar route on Western Express Highway, Sion to CST and underprivileged pockets between Mankurd to Kurla on Eastern Express Highway, Juhu to Dahisar on Linking road, a cluster of 1100 labor camps near Mumbai Central and a part of Dharavi Slums.

If you want to volunteer in Mumbai kindly reach out to [email protected]haanachahiye.com

Food distribution areas  in Mumbai by KhaanaChahiye.com

  1. To beggars & homeless
    • below the flyovers between Bandra to Dahisar on Western Express Highway,
    • between Juhu to Dahisar on Link road
    • below the flyovers between Ghatkopar to CST
    • under privileged pockets between Mankurd to Kurla.on Eastern Express Highway,
  2. To labour camps
    • a cluster of 1100 labour camp near Mumbai Central
    • a cluster of 3000 labour camp near Govandi
    • a cluster of 2000 labour camp near Mahul
    • a cluster of 750 labour camp in Colaba
  3. Parts of Dharavi Slums towards Cotton Green.
  4. Over 5000 meals in labour camps at various location identified and provided by the Assistant Commissioner,
  5. Serving food to over 5000 meals in Worli and Bandra on request of the local MLA and Corporator.

Immense demand of food in next 10 days

The intent of the movement is to continue the drive of feeding the needy in these difficult times at least until the lockdown is lifted by the government. However, as the days are proceeding, khaanachahiye.com initiative has identified more and more hunger pockets as a result of which the demand for food is just rising since the time it started. To give a perspective of the recently emerged roadblock, Pathik says, “Nine days back, we started with 1200 meals and we are already catering a demand of 40,000+ as of today. We have corporate donors for most of our requirement, but as the demand for food is rising, we are now looking to feed 5000 people in next 10 days, which turns out to be 1,00,000 meals. Therefore we need to now raise a sum of Rs 25,00,000/- which is huge and we really need the support of more people.”

KhaanaChahiye.com

To raise the funds, khaanachahiye.com initiative has come together with Efforts For Good and The Logical Indian to share this concern with our community members because as a citizen-driven movement, the khaanachahiye.com initiative needs more and more people to come forward and a set a sum aside to keep the initiative going in its full glory so that there are no impediments coming in the way of feeding every mouth in these difficult times. Additionally, one can also contribute by sharing the word with friends and families. COVID 19 is difficult for all, the least we can do is to contribute so that the struggle to cope up with the pandemic does not add up to the struggle to cope up with hunger as well.

Website: https://www.khaanachahiye.com ; FacebookInstagram , Twitter

If you’re an institution, donor, supply partner, the press who would like to partner with KhaanaChahiye.com, shoot a mail at [email protected]

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Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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