Greetings from Seva Mandir.
Hope you are well. Today I thought of sharing with you some recent positive developments related to our dal mill project.
As you know that our dal mill was established in Medi village of Kotra block in the year 2008 with the objective of giving back the farmers the benefits of a value chain and removal of middlemen from the same. Our second objective was to provide quality pulses to the consumers at fair price. Till now our objective has been realized successfully and the fact that we have realized a turnover of almost Rs. 7,00,000 for FY ’12-’13 and the largest hotel of Udaipur, the Taj lake Palace being our client bear testimony to the same.
The farmers of Kotra from whom we procure the pulses have never used chemical fertilizers or pesticides for cultivation of crops. The QPS Laboratories of Hyderabad (India), where we sent a sample of our tuar dal (lentil) for testing has confirmed the same. The quality of our dal is such good that for the first time we have received an international order from Japan.
Shiho Yamasaki from Japan is a client of Sadhna Handicrafts (sister concern of Seva Mandir). Last year during the visit she purchased some amount of tuar dal from Sadhna. After going back to her home country she cooked the same and also gave samples to her friends. She was so impressed by the quality and taste of dal that she came for a visit to India last month just to know more about the pulses. She undertook a visit of the dal mill during last month. During her visit we provided her with details regarding the quality of dal and the operational details of the dal mill. She interviewed the farmers regarding their farming practices. During her return we provided her with samples of all three varieties of dal. Shiho had links with some of the largest pulses retailers in Japan. She said that local availability of pulses in Japan is very scarce and prices are quite high. The quality of dal is not very good either. She promised to showcase our dal to the retailers of Japan and emphasize about its quality and certification to them.
As a result of our fine quality of dal, we have received a tentative order of 100Kgs. Of tuar dal from Shiho. We are in the process of sorting out the technicalities of dal export to a foreign country. Once it’s cleared the tuar dal from Medi Village will for the first time land on foreign soil which we are confident will be highly appreciated for its great taste. It’s indeed an achievement for us.
We are very proud of the hard work these farmers have put in to make Dal Mill project a huge success. As you may know the project has helped the farmers receive 30% more income and it is certainly a good news. Much of this success is also due to your untiring support. Please do let us know if you have any questions.
Thank you once again.
Hope you are well. I like to introduce myself to you. I am Atul Lekhra. I have joined Seva Mandir early this year and I will now communicating with you through these project reports. I am gald to be a part of this program and look forward to talking to you about all these wonderful projects you are supporting.
We are in our monsoon season currently. Though the rains have not been so good, the area is covered with greenery which makes village visits these days very picturesque. In early July, Mrs. Kamala Shankar and Ms. Emily Mitchell visited village Medi where the Dal Mill is located. They both enjoyed their visit and learning about the Dal Mill program.
Emily took several pictures of the area, people and of Dal Mill. Mrs. Shankar was very curious to understand everything about the project, how Dal gets processes and the impact it creates on people’s lives in Medi.
The person In Charge of Dal Mill Mr. Sanjay Vakode, for its day-to-day functioning explained the project and also gave heads up which I enclose below for your reference -
1) The mill has been able to acquire new clients and diversify its buyers including hotels like Taj Lake Palace, retail store in Gujarat that promotes unpolished dal. Having these buyers makes sure the farmers have a regular income for their produce.
2) The mill had sent a sample of Tuar dal to QPS laboratories, Hyderabad in order to test if there is any chemical (urea and pesticides) present in it. The laboratories declared that the produce is completely free from any pesticides and chemical. This is exciting news as it makes the Taur Dal of this mill even more attractive.
Seeing the mill Emily said “It is clear that this mill has been a very important resource for the local community.” Mrs. Shankar said, she will be talking about the progress of this project to her friends when she goes back to home in the US.
We are very proud of the hard work these farmers have put in to make Dal Mill project a huge success. As you may know the project has helped the farmers receive 30% more income and it is certainly a good news especially in the times of tough economy. Much of this success is also due to your untiring support. It is a great partnership and we hope to continue having you by our side. Please do let us know if you have any questions.
Thank you again.
To all our supporters,
Below is an update on the Dal Mill project. We reached out to Ram, the ambitious Seva Mandir staff member who’s out to prove that “business can be both socially responsible and profitable, even in the most remote and disadvantaged locations”, to ask about how the past year has gone for the Dal Mill Project. We hope you’ll find his response as inspiring as it was for us:
Dal Mill Annual Report
The last year has been a great success for the Dal Mill. The following are some of the highlights:
There have also been major changes to the infrastructure of the mill. A de-stoner machine was purchased in order to remove grit and small stones from the product. We also bought a new processing machine in order to increase the mill’s efficiency and reduce the cost of production.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, our work to get the mill hooked up to the electricity grid has finally been completed and the mill should be electrified by the end of June. This will drastically cut the cost of electricity over the current diesel generator and lead to a significant increase in profits.
We are now in the final stages of implementing a partnership between the Dal Mill and Sadhna, a fair-trade social women enterprise initiated (in 1980s) and developed by Seva Mandir (www.sadhna.org). In end of 2004 Sadhna has become an independent mutual benefit trust.
Collaborating with Sadhna would provide the Dal Mill with a well-known and reputable branding and visibility. It would also mean that the mill would be legally registered, meeting the requirements for it to continue operating.
Overall, last year has been very eventful for the mill. Your support has been instrumental for us to achieve these targets. Please take a look at our program page to see how we are trying to spread our reach from 20 to 300 villages, and help about 180,000 people in the process. Once again, thank you for all your support!
Tessa from the UK who is volunteering with us currently on this project that you are supporting. She has written a small note to share with you. I hope you would enjoy reading the progress the farmers are making with your support. Thank you for helping these farmers.
In the last year the Dal Mill has acquired new clients from the commercial sector, most notably the Taj Palace Hotel – a high end hotel based in Udaipur. Over the last 3 months Taj has requested over 1,400 kg of dal and remains a loyal customer. By attracting and retaining new commercial businesses, like the Taj we have ensured that there is constant demand for the pulses.
2012 also saw the introduction of two new products in the form of green and black gram in recognition that an over reliance on one dal product (tuar) leaves the dal enterprise vulnerable to market price fluctuations. By diversifying our product portfolio we have countered this risk and responded to a demand in the market. The sourcing of different dal pulses also means the Dal Mill functions throughout the year as each pulse has a different harvesting time, increasing the processing period across the majority of the year as opposed to just three months.
With more villages now being involved in the Dal Mill a new collection centre was set up to make it more accessible for farmers to deposit their raw produce. This has meant that farmers do not waste unnecessary time and money transporting their goods which has in turn encouraged more farmers to get involved in the project.
With a steady increase in dal production, a result of new pulses being introduced and more farmers becoming involved in the project, the Dal Mill has become more sustainable, reaching out to more farming communities and ensuring a greater share of profit reaches local farmers and their families.
I am here again to share with you happiness, light and tranquility on this Diwali from all the 3,500 farmer families you are helping through this project.
Diwali is a festival of lights and candles. It symbolizes the fact that there is more good in us than bad and that we all have to keep working on it. This is what you have been doing for all these farmers. The problems in this world are endless, the struggles break us down everyday and yet we all come together to support each other. This is the message we bring from all the farmers from our area who are happier on this festival, all because of your support.
Happy Diwali to all of you and we also wish you a great year ahead.
With warm regards,
P..S. Find more about Diwali here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali
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