Provide Enough Food for Poor Farmers in India

by Seva Mandir
Lady picking okra from her farm
Lady picking okra from her farm

Dear Friends,

Hope you are well. I am writing to thank you for your most generous and regular support to tribal farmers of our region. Here the winter is all set to say us a good bye for this year.  The farmers are eagerly waiting for the harvesting of their wheat crop very soon.

Since last year, it rained fairly well, resulting into a better crop this year. You would be delighted to note that more than 440 farmers were benefited with your support during all this time. These farmers have, cultivated Kharif (winter) and Zaid (summer) crops (including vegetables).

In the reporting period (From April 2011 to September 2011), these farmers have grown a number of vegetables such as bottle guard, ridge guard, okra, cluster beans, chilly and coriander. These vegetables allow these farmers to make some money as well as cater to their nutritional needs.  I take an immense pleasure sharing a half yearly report on this project you are supporting. These farmers with your support have made more than Rs. 500,000 (around $ 10,000 ) by producing vegetables. There is an inspiring story of a village in the report, which you will enjoy reading. I am also copying that story below my letter, in case you open the report at your leisure.

The story details as how with little help these farmers are able to grow vegetables in small farms that they own and help their families.

Once again, a very big thank you for your valuable support. We hope you will continue supporting these farmers and helping their families have better food and income.  Please also share your thoughts on this feedback report. We hope to see you here some day.

With warm regards,



Story of Village Peepad

Some farmers in village “Peepad” were enrolled for vegetable cultivation program of Seva Mandir. Some other farmers also had shown interest after seeing the progress made by these farmers. . These farmers too decided to grow vegetables on their farms The 37 farmers out of 42 requested for good quality seeds of Cluster Beans. With Seva Mandir’s help 3 farmers who were representing the entire group (42 farmers) went to Udaipur City in order to explore various kinds of seeds available for the Cluster Beans. After close research the farmers selected the “Sarit Soumya 700” variety. It was bought and distributed to selected farmers (39 who showed interest in growing cluster beans).

The total farming area is 21.5 bighas that these farmers cultivated on. In the beginning, the farmers didn’t receive a fair price for their crops but later, as their total produce increased as a result of better rainfall. The farmers were able to make good income. A total of 13,300 of cluster beans were produced from the total 4.59 hectare of land. They sold their produce between Rs 10 – Rs 25 (below $1) stabilizing the price at an average of Rs 18 per kilos.

 In total they all earned an income of more than Rs 236,800 (USD 5,262). Apart from cluster beans, the farmers also  grew other vegetables like Ridge Guard, chilies, coriander, pumpkin, lady finger (okra), tomatoes, moong (Green gram) and  earned Rs 711,00 (USD 1,590).  

Farmer taking care of his farm
Farmer taking care of his farm


Wish you a very Happy New Year 2012!
Wish you a very Happy New Year 2012!

Dear Friend,

I very much hope that you are enjoying the holiday season. From all of us here at Seva Mandir, a very Happy and Prosperous New Year to you. May 2012 brings peace and success to you and to your family. We thank you for your kindness that you gift us always. With this letter, we love to share some key highlights of year 2011.

For Seva Mandir, the year 2011 has been a year of changes and success. Ms. Neelima Khetan stepped down after 12 years of her excellent leadership (total 25 years of association with Seva Mandir) in March. Ms. Priyanka Singh became our new Chief Executive in April 2011. Seva Mandir is ready to see many more years of its successful engagement with rural communities in Southern Rajasthan in her leadership.

In October, Seva Mandir became the implementing agency for the MNREGA projects for 32 sites in rural Udaipur. It is a significant achievement as well as an indicator of the faith of the 74 Panchayats in Seva Mandir’s work. These Panchayats have endorsed us to be their implementing agency for MNREGA. Of these 32 sites that were sanctioned, the work has begun on the 22 sites. Most of these sites of pastureland development and currently the building of boundary wall is going on.

In 2011, Seva Mandir has been included in two working (sub) groups –  {i) Child Survival & Development and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and ii) Girl Child} constituted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to review the existing priorities, policies, strategies, programs and their implementation for fulfilling the rights of children to survival, development (including early childhood care, early learning, elementary education). Also, to highlight emerging issues and recommendations, resources allocation and utilization for Twelfth Five Year Plan of Government of India.

Several of Seva Mandir's programs have seen a maturing in the last years. For example, in the villages where Seva Mandir organized regular immunization camps, the complete immunization of children is 60%, while in comparison villages it is only 35%.

Similarly, the work on Natural Resources is yielding a lot of benefits to the poor. Every year grass worth Rs. 52 lacs (5.2 million rupees) is being harvested from the common lands developed under this program.

In April 2011, Champa Devi from Vassela village was awarded the "Woman Exemplar Award 2011". It is another reason to look back and feel joyous to see that a community member of Seva Mandir was being recognized by rest of the society for her selfless services.

We are privileged to experience exciting stories of women like Champa Devi. A big credit goes to friends like you for this. Your support has always been the source of our emotional strength. It helps us keep going with our work. It is gratifying that with your support we have been able to create spaces where ordinary people can exercise truth force to bring about social and political transformation.

We hope you will continue to be with us in future too. Your faith and untiring support is very critical to us at the moment. Especially, when national and international scenario is changing rapidly for civil societies and the definitions of ‘development’ are being re-explored.

We believe that the full and deep impact of Seva Mandir's work lies not so much in the tangible development activities that it promotes, but more in bringing the poor and rich together and enabling them to  work for the commons of building more just  and oppression free communities.

We look forward to your continuing contribution in the year 2012 too. Wish you a very bright and successful New Year.

With warm regards,


Okra grown and now selling
Okra grown and now selling

Dear Friends, Greetings from Seva Mandir! Hope you are well. Thank you for supporting the improving food security project. In a year with your support and all the other donors we have reached out to 5,000 farmers with a variety of agriculture related projects. Enclosed please find a copy of annual report for the progress we made last year in this program. Below is the snapshot of some of the achievements - 1. 648, farmers planted 10,169 fruit saplings. The planted saplings included fruit species like mango, aonla (goose berries), guava, lemon and sapota (cheeku). 2. 253 farmers in 18 villages built vermin composting beds and used the organic manure on their farms. 3. 1,019 farmers received quality seeds for growing a number of vegetables and grains. 4. In one of the blocks over 100 farmers made Rs. 35000/- (USD 750) through sale of vegetables. 5. 22 women produced 3,440 kg vegetables in one of the blocks. They sold 1,321 kg of vegetables and made Rs. 26,420 (USD 590). There more such examples in the report enclosed. 6. 60 seeds banks were established. The seeds banks have been very successful in terms of accessing quality seeds for all the farmers. The monsoon was wonderful this year. It rained a lot every where in Udaipur and the lakes filled up pretty quickly. As you know Udaipur is the most famous tourist attraction of Asia. Therefore, good rains assure a good tourist year. The program you are supporting enables many traditional farmers in Rajasthan to grow more food. The more food means - more income as well as access to better food. Thanks once again for your generous support. It goes a lone way here in Rajasthan. We very much hope that you will continue supporting this project and will consider to talk about it to your friends too. Shortly we will come to you for more stories and updates. In the meanwhile, please do contact us for any questions or clarifications. Once again, thank a lot for helping the farmers of Rajasthan. With warm regards, Deepti


Business planning at community level
Business planning at community level

Dear friends,

Hope you are well. Thank you for your continuing support. We are very grateful to you donations and inputs .

Every time with our letter to you, we wish to acquaint you with Seva Mandir a bit more. In this letter, you will get to know about the process of our business planning.

Seva Mandir focuses on communities rather than on individual/s. The belief is that in order to bring about the durable changes in the society; the constructive work involving all the community members is important because social problems are complex. It therefore, takes longer but the outcomes are more sustainable and long lived. Therefore, Seva Mandir has a three pronged strategy –

1)      To create and strengthen institutions for development (at the village, organization and society levels)

2)      To enhance people’s capabilities for self-development (both at individual and community level); and

3)      To create sustainable improvements in the livelihoods base.

Our bottom-up approach allows creating stakes for every section of society to participate in their own development. We very much hope that you will enjoy knowing about our business planning phase that we are going through right now.

It has been a very hot summer here in Rajasthan this year. We are now all prepared to welcome the monsoon which should be here in the next week and half. Gradually it is getting humid day by day and we are trying not to let the rising temperatures effect us and are currently in the midst of the exciting organization wide planning process to develop our 7th Comprehensive Plan.

The Comprehensive Plan outlines the strategic direction and action-plans for Seva Mandir over the next three-year plan period (2012-2015). 

Seva Mandir has been preparing Comprehensive Plans since 1990 as a way to systematically review and evolve its near-term strategic priorities across all programmatic areas.  The process of putting together the Comprehensive Plan also serves as an opportunity for Seva Mandir to reflect upon the work we have done, examine the environment we work in and evolve our strategies accordingly, within the context of past lessons learnt and the overall long-term vision of the organization.

The process for creating the 7th Comprehensive Plan began in late 2010 and includes all levels of Seva Mandir’s tiers viz. - from the villages where we work all the way up to the Chief Executive Officer.  The Comprehensive Plan process is consistent with Seva Mandir’s bottom-up approach, with the kick-off meetings taking place at the village level with the Chief Executive present.  After these initial meetings, the staff members at the zone and block offices had an opportunity to share their thoughts, observations and information.  Using the information gathered from the field, the Programs devised their strategies for the upcoming years.  These were presented to the organization as a whole, where debate, discussion, criticism and suggestions took place.

We are now headed into the final stages of this exciting process.  Programs are incorporating the comments and suggestions into their reports, and putting the final touches in to the operating frameworks. This is an exciting time at Seva Mandir and we are really looking forward to the next few years when we can put these strategies into effect and watch the change they make.

The integrated approach allows all our partners, friends, donors and well wishers to contribute to the holistic development of our communities. Any project/program that you support for Seva Mandir is a part of this comprehensive plan. Thank you so much for regularly supporting our cause and making a difference.

We will soon be providing you with an annual report of our programs you are supporting on Global Giving. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

With warm regards,

Metal boxes to store seeds/grains
Metal boxes to store seeds/grains

Dear Friends,

I am so happy sharing this piece of report that my colleague Niranjan has put together for you. It is a great way to end my day here in India today. One it is so very kind of you to consider making a donation to this project. I thank all of you who have just made their contributions to this project in order for it to win the Top 10 Wins challenge on Global Giving UK. We are right now on the fourth position with 13 donors. We need another 12 people to help us out. I request you to please consider supporting this project and please help double our happiness on the festival of Holi (is on 19th & 20th March this year).

The other reason of ending my day with a great reason is to read the report Niranjan has just shared with me. I am just copying his report below my letter and would encourage you to see what great work these farmers have done to deal with their food security issues in their region. It is really surprizing that most of these farmers hold very small pieces of lands but with some support and trainings from Seva Mandir and freinds like you they have made really amazing progress.

Here I end my letter and let you read the report.

Once again for all your support. Please do consider making another donation and help this project win £500 with this Top 10 Wins challenge. We need another £200 only. Please help these farmers a bit more.

With best regards,



Community seed bank


The seed bank program of Seva Mandir aims at improving the “Seed/food security” of the farmers in villages of South Rajasthan. The main idea is that the farmers don’t have to pay for the seeds provided to them by Seva Mandir under this program however each farmer needs to return 1.5 or 1.25 times more seeds from what each of them had borrowed from the seed bank.

From these Seed Banks the farmers are able to receive improved and climate variation resilient crop seeds for all cropping seasons such as kharif, rabi and zaid.

The farmers can have access to maize, wheat, black gram, sesame, rice, mustard, wheat, bengal gram, green gram and vegetable crop seeds. The seed banks once set up are being managed by the village development committees. These committees are being set up by the villagers only.

Each farmer’s share of returned seeds is stored in the seed bank in large metal drums/boxes. To keep the seeds safe some treatment is also used.

Therefore, the villagers are trained to keep records for loaning out and collecting back the seeds, keeping and storing the seeds safely and distributing them at the time of sowing etc. After sometime each seed bank becomes a grain bank due to each farmer returning back their share (1.5 to 1.25 times more) and therefore it ultimately enhances the ‘food security’ in villages.

At present there are 52 seeds bank in all the 6 blocks of Seva Mandir. For example in Jhadol Block the village Kitavato ka vas has a community seed bank. Seva Mandir has provided the village with good quality seeds of Maize (48 Kg), Black Gram (28 Kg), Wheat (150 Kg) and Bangle grane (60Kg)

After harvesting of the both the seasons’ crop the farmers have returned their share of seeds in their seed bank (1.5 times more). The details of which is as under -


  • Wheat (220 Kg)
  • Black Gram (38 Kg.)
  • Bangle Gram (90 Kg.)
  • Maize (70 Kg.)
farmers with their share of seeds
farmers with their share of seeds



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Organization Information

Seva Mandir

Location: Udaipur, Rajasthan - India
Project Leader:
Priyanka Singh
Executive Director
Udaipur, Rajasthan India