Babu, along with his parents, wife and children, lives in Medi village. The region is inhabited by tribal people living in extreme poverty. Babu is a farmer 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, Babu managed his finances well and he 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, Babu 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 labourer work. But even this radical step didn’t protect them from hunger.
Several years ago, the solution for this family's increasingly precarious situation came with a Seva Mandir agriculture programme: Babu and 86 others from his community were given support and proper training to become co-owners of a dal 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 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 who made this project possible, the economic situation of Babu'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 (£1 or $2). This investment, and the support of Seva Mandir in enabling the farmers to realise the scheme, has given Babu 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.
We wish to thank you for your continued support.
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