Greetings from Seva Mandir!!
I have three things to say before we talk about the project you are supporting.
One -we recently participated in a fund raising event on Global Giving UK. The challenge Top 10 wins challenge (1st to 14th March) required the participant projects to raise at least of £ 500 with minimum of 25 donors. Seva Mandir participated with its project “Improving Food Security for Tribal Farmers in India”. This project helps 5000 poor, marginalized farmers in rural Udaipur to have better crops and thus earn more money/food. This is done through a variety of programs including – seed bank program, using organic manure prepared with the help of earth worms (vermin-composting), growing cash crops like vegetables (preparing nurseries) for self sustenance and income generation. You would be very happy to note that this project raised £705 from 31 donors in the Top 10 Wins Challenge and therefore it won a bonus prize of £300. It is a perfect gift on this Holi for our farmers.
Secondly, on the 19th and 20th March we celebrated our festival Holi (festival of colors in India http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holi). The festival is also a symbol of celebrating the harvest of winter crop in our region. This festival signifies the end of our winters and beginning of summer. March is also our financial year end and therefore it is wonderful to end our year with lots of support from people like you and having a good harvest at this Holi. And
Finally, this year, at this point of time, Seva Mandir is going through some change. Our ex Chief Executive Ms. Neelima Khetan has stepped down on March 31st. She has spent 25 years with Seva Mandir and the last twelve years as the Chief Executive. The organization excelled during her time and with her leadership marked a number of achievements. Though she has left us due to our constitutional norms, we are very happy to have her as our Trustee on Seva Mandir Board. Her continuing association with Seva Mandir is very assuring for all of us.
Ms. Priyanka Singh has taken over as Chief Executive of Seva Mandir from April 2011. She has spent over thirteen years with Seva Mandir heading Education and Health program and leading Badgaon Block (a geographical unit for our work). She has a post graduate degree in rural development from the same institute as Ms. Khetan did. She is very capable and a great person to work with. With her deep understanding of issues in rural development and support from all our friends like you, we are very much looking forward to seeing Seva Mandir keep doing its good work in the next years to come. At this point of time, we all look for your continuous support and faith for many more years of working together.
Mr. Kanti Lal Pargi President of Nala Utpadak Sangh (Dal Mill Federation) has written a small note on the program you are supporting. It is given below (translated into English from Hindi) my letter which we hope you will enjoy reading.
Thank you so much for supporting this project. It is your support that helped these farmers to sell their produce at better prices than market and you will read in Kanti Lal’s email that due to this program, the local traders are now buying their produce at better prices which never happened before. Though there are still challenges but we hope to overcome these with your conituing support.
Thank you once again. We are grateful to your donation and hope to receive a continuous support from you in the future too. We hope that you will be able to visit/write to us. Please do consider to encourage our new team and leadership.
Happy Holi to you and your family from all of us here.
Letter from Kanti Lal -
It has been three years since the dal mill has been operational. Not only the benefits of the mill are being enjoyed by its 86 members, but fellow farmers are now enjoying greater profits. Kanti Lal Pargi, President of Nala Dal Utpadak Sangh (Village Medi), shares with us his insights on breaking monopoly
We are operating this Dal mill and trading center for last three years and if we talk about our success than we should talk about the benefit which all the farmers of Medi are getting not us 86 members. In earlier days when dal mill was not there the farmers need to bring their produce to nearby town in Gujarat to sell or they had to sell it to the local trader who paid them very little price for their produce . Situations worsen if the farmer has marginal quantity (Generally less than 10 kg) to sell .In such cases the local traders take advantage of the fact that the farmer will not prefer to go to the town to sell this little quantity and incur a substantial amount of traveling expenses which is even more than the value of the produce to be sold. In this situation the local trader pays them just half of the price.
But when we at Nala Dal Utpadak Sangh started buying the tuar (Pigeon Pea) directly from the farmers at the same price being offered by the Mandi (market), these local trader were left with no option other than buying the tuar at the same price from the farmers. And this year we are witnessing of a strange situation these local traders are now paying even more than the mandi price. This has happened just because of our presence as there is an alternate option to the farmers to sell their tuar and creating a perfect market.
However the situation for other produce of the farmers is same as it was earlier because the local traders are still enjoying the monopoly for these produces like Black gram, Green gram, Gram, maize, wheat etc.
To combat monopoly for other produce we are also planning to start trading for Black gram, Green gram, Gram etc. also. The brainstorming is going on and let’s sees what best we can do to overcome this situation.
Nala Dal Utpadak Sangh Medi
Wishing you a very happy, prosperous and wonderful 2011. Thank you friends for extending peace, love and support to all of us in 2010. We look forward to another great year with you. Year by year, our association is getting stronger. Thank you very much for adding happiness to our lives.
A small drawing made by Durga Kumari is presented as a token of our wishes to you.
Have an awesome year ahead.
Happy Holiday Season!
Hope you are enjoying the holiday season. This year the winter started a little later but it is pleasantly cold right now. We hope it is also nice weather where you are.
Many thanks for supporting this significant program. The program has made a lot of success and has changed many lives in our region. I am writing to share with you the half yearly progress report of the Dal Mill Project that you are supporting. The report covers a very detailed description of the Mill program and how it is benefiting several farmers in the most deprived region of Udaipur District.
As you know that the farmers in Kotra (the remotest and greener region of Udaipur District) grow various kinds of pulses and lentils but the production for Tur Dal (Pigeon Pea) is much higher in this region. The Dal Mill Program provides these farmers with a profitable livelihood option by milling their raw produce and making it much more marketable and profitable product. The half yearly report enclosed gives a very nice step by step description of the raw Tur Dal that is being processed by these tribal farmers. I would like to quote those steps in my cover letter for you. But I do hope that you will take a closer look at the report enclosed and get a full picture of the progress made in the last six months –
• First, procuring the raw Tur from the farmers
• Putting the raw tur into a grading machine which separates it into three grades A, B and C. And this grading machine also separates the dust, stones and other unnecessary things from the Tur.
• Tur of “A” grade is believed to be of the best quality and grade “C” is the least. When the grading is done the upper cover of the tur is removed with the help of water and then it s left in the sun to dry.
• It is put into another machine which has different kind of filters to separates the husk and besan (the flour/powder) from the Tur.
• The tur is greased with mustered oil to remove the remaining cover of the tur and is left in the sun to dry.
• Now the refined tur is taken to another machine called “Fadka” which supposed to break the tur into two parts but it doesn’t do it in a single go. Therefore, the output is again taken to the previous machine which has filters to separate the remaining tur, besan, husk and the final dal.
• This is how the cycle goes on and on until the whole tur has been broken into two pieces which is considered as Dal.
• Now after weighing the dal, it is taken to the packaging centre, where it is packed in three kind of bags viz 1 kg, 2 kg and 5 kg bags.
• The Dal is ready to sell now.
• The other by-products like besan and husk are also sold in the local market as supplement food for animals. These two by-products are sold between Rs. 8 to Rs. 10 per kg.
These farmer’s group called Nala Dal Utpadak Sangh has recently participated in a trade fair organized by the District Authority for Development of Handicrafts and Small Scale Industry Udaipur. It was held in the town hall, from October 2 to October 11 2010. The group also displayed their stall in this far with the purpose of the sale of their Dal and to make the civilians of Udaipur aware of their organic, good quality, locally produced product. During the current year, 12954.5 kg of raw tur was procured. About 10,000 kg of tur has been processed and almost all the processed dal has been sold by the end of November 2010 this year.
The farmers are all vey excited and happy at this progress. This has all been possible because of support from people like you. We would like to thank you on behalf of all the farmers of Medi Cluster and from everyone here at Seva Mandir.
Please have a look at the report enclosed. Please consider supporting this project again during this festivity and also tell your friends about this project.
Thank you once again for all your support and faith. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season.
With warm regards,
Thank you very much for your continuing support to the rural farmers of our region. With this letter, I would like to share with you a small talk one of our colleagues had with one of the member farmers Narayan Lal of Dal Mill.
However, before I share Narayan’s talk with you, I would also like to share with you some good news. You will be very happy to note that the monsoon has turned out very good in Rajasthan this year. It has rained almost every day this monsoon which is unusual to our region. Usually we receive 20 rainy days in the monsoon. One of the most popular lakes in Udaipur city – Fatehsagar has filled up fully with lots of rain water and is currently over flowing. In villages too some of the streams are flowing and everyone is very happy. Hopefully we will have a good harvest of crops this year. The maize is the major crop and is currently growing in all the fields.
Bhanwar Lal Pargi who works in Kotra Block office of Seva Mandir recently spoke with Narayan Lal during his visit to Dal Mill in Medi village. He has recorded what Narayan has to say about his experiences about the Dal Mill program. The notes that Bhanwar Lal recorded of Narayan Lal are presented below for your reference –
“Naryanlal has been associated with the Dal mill for months now. Earlier his fellow villagers were hesitant to join hands, but with time, today more and more farmers are selling their produce at the mill.
Before the Dal mill was set up farmers were traveling to nearby market situated in the village Kherbrahma. Along with the profit that they incurred, they had to bear expenses such as traveling cost to the village and also on selling their produce, they received the payment in installments. Farmers also faced problem of their produce being weighed incorrectly , leading to lesser return on the produce.
Narayn Lal is very happy with the setting up of the Dal mill. This year he produced 230 kilos, off which he sold 190 kilos to the mill, kept remaining for personal consumption and 8 kilos as seed for the next year crop. The profits are larger than before as he is saving on paying the middle men and traveling cost to the village Kherbrahma. Also the weighing machine at the Mill is good, hence he is getting the right price for his produce.
With more farmers now selling their produce at the mill, the turn over from the mill has increased and Medi village is gaining popularity for its being a self-reliant mill. The issue of payment being made in installments has completely been solved. All the farmers receive the payment straight away. Much excitement is visible in the village, for farmers today are free of external sources for selling their produce”.
As the talk above indicates that these farmers are happy for the right prices they receive for their dal. You have added to over-all happiness of these farmers. Many thanks to your support. Please provide us with your comments on our feedback reports that we post on Global Giving in addition to your continuing support.
Thanks and regards,
First of all, a very big thank you for your continuing support to this program. I am writing to provide you with a brief description of what we have been doing all this while in this project you are supporting. I will attempt to give you a short overview of the progress we have made in this covering letter however; a detailed report on the same is enclosed for your reference.
The farmers in Kotra (the remotest and greener region of Udaipur District) grow various kinds of pulses and lentils but the production for Tur Dal (Pigeon Pea) is much higher in this region. These tribal farmers traditionally would sell their raw produce to the middlemen who then subsequently sell it to the market (aggregators, traders, millers, retailers etc.) for processing, polishing and packaging of the Dal. In this value chain the farmer who produces it, earns a very small part of the profit as compared to the retailers/processors. We did a study a couple of years ago to assess the profits earned by these farmers and the value chain that exists. We realized that setting up a small mill for these farmers could help take away the middlemen/traders in the value chain and the farmers could earn the larger part of the profit. In this view the Dal Mill Program started to provide a profitable livelihood to these farmers. Following are
some snapshots of this program –
• In the region – Kotra – the production for Dal is around 1,200 – 1,500 metric tons.
• The farmers typically receive Rs.25-30 per kg on their Dal (raw) depending on the quality of their produce.
• These traders typically further sell the produce at Rs. 30-35 per kg to the market from where the raw dal is transported to the processing facilities.
• The dal mill was set up in 2008 by Seva Mandir with the support from you and other friends.
• 50 farmers became the member of the Dal Mill Program. The mill was purchased in mid 2008.
• Early 2009 the construction for the Mill house started. Today it is a nice building with one wide hall with two windows. In front of it an altar has been built to dry their produce or for other processing purposes.
• To date the 8 villages in Medi region together form a group for the Dal Mill Project.
• Today there are 111 tribal farmers are the members of the Dal Mill project.
• Their group is called Nala Dal Utpadak Sangh, Medi.
• This year the total Tur Dal they have processed is nearly around 10,000 kg.
• Around 2,500 Tur dal has been sold so far and some placed an order to purchase more.
• Now the farmers earn Rs. 70 per kg for the processed organic Dal they produce.
This has all been possible because of support from people like you. We would like to extend our gratitude to your support and faith in this program.
Recently we had organized a fair to promote the product among other citizens of the District. All the hotels, local traders and friends were invited. My colleagues and I have been also purchasing the dal as well for our personal use and we are really proud of these farmers’ product. For the marketing of their product a brochure has also been developed and we are also looking into ways that would help market their product and connect these farmers’ local, organic produce with the common man of Udaipur city.
Please have a look at the report enclosed herewith; it will give you a brief idea of the overall program. We would be very happy to receive feedback from you in case of any.
Thank you once again for all your significant support. We hope that you would be able to visit us someday.
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