Provide Enough Food for Poor Farmers in India

by Seva Mandir
Dalu with her coriander crop
Dalu with her coriander crop

Dear Friends,

Happy Holiday Season!

Hope you are enjoying the holiday season. This year the winter started a little later here but it is pleasantly cold right now. We hope it is also nice weather where you are.

Thank you for supporting the village farmers and families becoming food-secure in our region. The farmers we work with are mainly dependant on agriculture and animal husbandry. These tribal farmers own very small pieces of land i.e. less than 1 ha. Udaipur is a dry and drought prone area with an average annual rainfall of 625 mm.

However, with little encouragement and support, farmers can produce vegetables all round the year. Vegetables can be cultivated on small plots of land with very little inputs. Seva Mandir is encouraging farmers to grow vegetables on both small and medium scale.

In small scale initiative we promote vegetable nurseries. A number of farmers pick healthy vegetable saplings from the nurseries. For the medium scale production, the farmers are trained to grow vegetables on an intensive and professional way, called as sabji-wadi technique (Vegetable Field). The story given below – is of an explanation of the vegetable cultivation activity.

We are also very happy to share with you a detailed report on this program. Please find enclosed a midyear progress report on Vegetable cultivation program.

It is exciting for us to share the progress with you at the time of holiday season. Thank you for being an incredible partner to us. Please consider donating again to this program at this festivity and also tell about it to your friends.

Many thanks once again. Happy Holiday Season to you once again from all of us here.

With warm regards,



Dalu Bai and her husband are residents of village Majera of block Kumbhalharh. They are very happy and proud farmers because they underwent training last year and subsequently cultivated coriander in their fields. Dalu Bai and her husband used to cultivate mainly the field crops for subsistence, such as Maize or Wheat if there was enough water. Dalu Bai in one of the meetings conducted by the CIG (Common Interest group) learnt more about the vegetable cultivation.

Earlier, she and her family didn’t know that it could be possible in their region as well. A technical training on vegetable cultivation organized and supported by Seva Mandir helped them know more about the various aspects of vegetable cultivation. After the training Dalu was provided with one kg of coriander seeds. She and her husband sown the seeds on 0.1 hectare of their land. Dalu Bai was able to produce 400 kg of coriander leaves. She sold her produce in the vegetable market of Udaipur and Rajsamand for Rs. 55 per kg. In the end, she earned Rs.22,000/- (USD 489). She and her family is so very happy at this income.


better crops
better crops

Dear Friends,

We want you to know that we are truly grateful to you for your generous support to us every time. In this letter you will find out why we are so grateful to you.

One of my colleagues Niranjan has shared a beautiful story of two villages where the rural tribal farmers are producing the organic compost and you can see the ripple effect of it. Before I share the story I would like to share with you the good news of this year’s monsoon. The monsoon has been great so far. It rained almost every day this year which is unusual to this region. Usually we receive 20 rainy days in the monsoon. Just yesterday one of the most popular lakes in Udaipur city – Fatehsagar has got filled up fully with lots of rain water. Hundreds of people are gathering around the lake to enjoy the water spill over. In villages too some of the streams are flowing and everyone is very happy with the monsoon and greenery everywhere.

In village Gadunia and Babri we initiated the vermi-composting with some farmers. Last year, three farmers in these villages produced 110 kg of worms (earth worms to help de-compost the bio-degradable matter). These farmers had attended the trainings of Seva Mandir. After producing the compost and worms they sold one kg of worms for Rs. 100 to another 55 farmers who were interested in taking up this initiative too. The three farmers together earned Rs. 11,000 (USD 245). The 55 farmers produced between 1.5 to 5 quintals of vermin-compost early this year. One of these farmers Bhimaji was able to produce 155 kg of compost which he sold to other farmers at Rs. 9 per kilo. He earned a profit of Rs. 1395 (USD 31) which is three fold; for not only what he produced but also for all his labor and time that he invested in this entire activity.

The farmers make the earthen pits for vermin composting. The main biodegradable matter for decomposing is cow dung; agriculture waste, twigs/leaves and the earth worms decompose it into fertile dark earth. However, the earthen pits have their own limitations and termite problems. In view of this Seva Mandir supported these farmers to build cemented pits. Each farmer was given Rs. 1200 to build the cemented pits. Today these these farmers are producing even more compost and using it for their various crops – Maize, black gram and cotton. Needless to say, the production of their crops goes much higher with using the locally produced organic manure.

You have added to these farmers’ happiness. We are most grateful to your continuing support to this program. Not only these farmers are earning more money, but their crops are being grown with organic compost that they themselves produce. Many thanks from all of us here for being with us throughout.

It would be very encouraging if you could provide us with your comments on our feedback reports that we post on Global Giving in addition to your continuing support.

We will keep you posted on our progress. With warm regards,



The surplus is sold in the local market
The surplus is sold in the local market

Dear Friends, First of all, many thanks 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 brief overview of the progress we have made in this covering letter however; a detailed report on the same is enclosed herewith for your reference.

We have been working with 5000 farmers for improving their food and income security. The farmers we work with are mainly dependant on agriculture and animal husbandry. These tribal farmers own very small pieces of land i.e. less than 1 ha. Udaipur is a dry and drought prone area with an average annual rainfall of 625 mm. There are many challenges with farming, as we all know. In view of the harsh geographical and climatic condition of our region compounded with low productivity of natural resources, our response has been mainly two fold. On one hand we focus on improving the overall productivity of the natural resources (land and water) and on the other hand we address the immediate needs of a farmer in terms of improving the agriculture productivity and training the farmers to make optimum use of available resources.

Therefore, the programs that focus on the long term gains are – water and soil conservation, planting trees and growing grasses, ground water and moisture retention activities as well as water harvesting programs. These programs together add up to improving the overall quality of the land and soil (in terms of nutrients and moisture) and also help recharge ground water tables.

In the meanwhile we focus on improving the agriculture production for food and income security. It is done through 3 main activities as-

1) producing and using organic manure to help increase the agriculture production; 2) planting fruit trees for income generation and self subsistence and 3) cultivating vegetables as cash-crops and self subsistence

These activities allow farmers to utilize their resources like land, water, labor and time to their full potential. In addition, the increased production is useful for their own subsistence, improving their nutritional inputs and earns them more cash. The population we work with is very poor and their nutritional levels are also very low. Therefore even a small increase in their income can help them go a long way. “According to a survey conducted by the Poverty Action Lab (of MIT) in 2007, the monthly per capita consumption (MPCC, the total value of all goods and services consumed by an individual in the course of a month) of the population in Seva Mandir's work area stands at Rs.578.2, (USD 13) equivalent to less than Rs.20 a day. On average 70% of MPCC is composed of food, fuel and lighting”. The report enclosed gives a full picture of these various programs and also explain how your support to this program is benefitting hundreds of farmers.

Following are some snapshots of this program from 2008 to 2010– • 10,507 fruit trees have been planted with 591 farmers • In the current year we will be planting 13,000 fruit trees. • 677 families have been supported with vegetable cultivation program, earning from USD 5 to 16 per week for a couple of months. This income was additional to what they usually earn. • 235 farmers have adopted vermin-composting practices

The following story is very inspiring –

“In village Kojo ka Guda we are working with 41 farmers, of which we supported 9 farmers with vegetable cultivation program who have access to marginal irrigation. These 9 farmers were given seeds of Okra, Eggplants and Bottle guard. They cultivated these seeds on a piece of land around 0.05 ha. These farmers were able to produce adequate vegetables. After their own consumption they sold the surplus in the local market earning Rs.200 (USD 5) per week for two months. Dholaram and Gangaram from the same village planted vegetables in 0.10 ha of area and earned Rs.750/- (USD 16) per week. The results have boosted confidence and all farmers are very positive about the vegetable cultivation program”.

This progress is a result of your continued support to this program. We would like to extend our gratitude to your support and faith in this program. We very much hope that the enclosed report will provide you with some more details, figures and stories. We are very excited to share with you these details because with your support we have made progress to this far. A very big thanks to you once again.

Please do share your thoughts on this We hope that you would be able to visit us someday. Thank you for all your significant support.

With warm regards,




December 7, 2009

Dear Friend,

Greetings from Seva Mandir!

Many thanks to all of you for responding to our call of support during ‘Give More and Get More’ Challenge. We did quite well in the challenge and you would be happy to note that we stood third with receiving over $35,000 across various projects.

The funds are always helpful in continuing our work but that we can write to this community of supporters and rally support is very morale boosting. Thank you for your trust in us. We are truly grateful.

With best regards for the Holiday Season,



It’s the season for Thanks and Giving…and we hope very much that you will continue your support to Seva Mandir.

We wanted to let you know about an exciting opportunity that we are participating in through our partners, Global Giving. A donation made to any of our projects, on Global Giving between November 10 and December 1, will be matched.

Total donations up to $2,500 will be matched at 30%. Donations in the range $2,501 - $7,500 will be matched at 40%. Donations above $7501 will be matched at 50%. However, please note that only donation amounts below $500 will be eligible for matching – any donation above $ 500 will come to us, and make us more eligible for bonus awards but without the matching amount. SO GIVE MORE – GET MORE!

And if we raise the most money or get the most donations, we are eligible for bonus awards. First place for both categories will each receive $5,000, second place in each will receive $3,000 and third place in both categories will each receive $1,000.

Seva Mandir’s page at Global Giving lists 7 projects. Please see

Matching funds are limited, so we request you to act as quickly as possible. You can give and also persuade friends and family to give. Minimum donation is $10 and donations are tax-deductible!

Would you consider giving and also sharing this email with others?

Thank you for anything that you are able to do to support Seva Mandir.

With Greetings for the season, Seva Mandir


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Organization Information

Seva Mandir

Location: Udaipur, Rajasthan - India
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Priyanka Singh
Executive Director
Udaipur, Rajasthan India

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