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
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