India is one of the largest exporters of Lentils, but it is an unfortunate truth that the cultivators of Lentils live a life of drudgery. They seldom got profits for their produce and were often subjected to exploitation.
With the start of the Lentil processing mill by Seva Mandir in Medi village of Kotra region, the farmers are able to draw returns of their labor and produce in a fair mechanism. Today, 10,000 farmers of southern Rajasthan are connected with the Lentil processing mill.
A farmer at the village says, “Today every farmer in Kotra is pretty confident that his produce will get a fair price in the market.”
Naresh (name changed) is a farmer in Medi village with a small piece of land; like most others in this area, his main produce is lentils. In fact, his family has worked in the fields here for generations, cultivating this staple crop.
Compared with many others in his community, Naresh tried always to invest in good quality seeds and regular irrigation. But despite his best efforts, his family income remained low, mainly because of a lack of proper storage for his crops and problems with transport.
Every time he wanted to sell some of his harvest, Naresh had three choices: he could travel to the market using local transport, which raised his costs; he could walk the several miles there; or he could sell his lentils through middle-men, in which case he would not receive a fair price.
Over time, the financial position of his family worsened until some were forced to leave the village in search of laborer work. But even this radical step didn’t protect them from hunger.
The solution for this family's increasingly unstable situation came with Seva Mandir’s agriculture programme: Naresh and others from his community were given support and proper training to become co-owners of dal (lentil) mill.
The principal aims of the project are to operate along ethical lines, guarantee proper storage for the harvests and ensure fair prices to the farmers by cutting out the middle-men. The farmers who are part of the cooperative are now able to control the process of dal (lentil) making and selling, they are guaranteed a fair market price for their crops and they receive a share of any future profits.
Thanks to the generosity of Seva Mandir's supporters like you who made this project possible, the economic situation of Naresh's family continues to improve. As one of the farmers participating in the dal mill cooperative, he is able to support his family and provide them with a decent standard of living.
His initial contribution to the project was 100 rupees ($2). This investment, and the support of Seva Mandir in enabling the farmers to realize the scheme, has given Naresh assurance that his efforts will bring him appropriate rewards. Indeed, with time he will be able to cultivate a little more of the land and further ensure that his large family's finances are stable. The future is now brighter for them all.
Naresh says “The lentil mill gave farming a new vision.”
It is because of your support we have been able to help increase profits of these poor farmers. Thanks to your trust and support. We look forward to your support in running this mill so that the farmers eliminate drudgery from their lives.
I am also thrilled to share with you that one of our photo has been selected among top 15 in its category to feature in the Global Giving Photo Contest 2016. The organization whose photo has the most votes by noon EDT on July 22, 2016 will win and receive a prize of $1,000. Voting began on July 18, 2016 and will end on July 22, 2016. Please confirm your vote to help our project “Send a Child in India to School for a Year” by clicking on the below link:
Your one vote to this photo can bring change in the lives of many more children. Please do share this information with your Friends, Family members and colleagues.
Atul Lekhra and Seva Mandir Team
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