Increase Profits for 3,500 Poor Farmers In India

by Seva Mandir

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir.

It has been six years since the inception of dal mill. From a mere procurement of 65 quintals to the current procurement of 282 quintals. From simply procuring from farmers to processing and selling of dal through intervention at all stages of the value chain, the dal mill has seen it all. We started selling small quantities of dal to staff of Seva Mandir. From there to tapping clients to the likes of Hotel Taj Lake Palace, Hotel Laxmi Vilas, Banyan Roots and Sahakari Ubhokta Bhandar, the growth has been phenomenal. Last week, the Annual General Meeting of Sadhna (a women enterprise) was held. The chief guest of that meeting was Mr. William, the CEO of Fabindia. He was offered a sample of the dal produced by Nala Bachat Samiti. He cooked it at his home and liked its taste to the extent that he has expressed interest to purchase all the dal in whatever quantities we can provide him for his newly acquired India Organics. This once again testifies to the superior quality of the dal. Now that the dal mill is slowly coming to a sustainable mode, we have decided to massively scale up its capacity. The targeted procurement for next financial year is a phenomenal 800 quintals. Going by the progress its making every year, its not long before dal from Nala Bachat Samiti becomes a household name.

Thank you so much for your support.

Atul Lekhra


Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir.

Here are some recent developments from the project which you are supporting:-

The dal mill started in 2008. It’s been almost 6 years since its genesis. Many developments in the dal mill have taken place over the year. Now is the time to undertake new experiments. The popularity of Nala bachat Samiti’s (Nala Saving Society) tuar dal has crossed inter-state and we have received an order of 1500 Kgs of tuar dal (lentil) from Gujarat. The tuar dal was re-tested for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. A sample was sent to QPS Laboratories in Hyderabad and it passed the test with flying colors. No trace of chemical pesticides or fertilizers was found in the sample which reinforces the quality of the dal which it boasts of. For the first time, the urad dal of the dal mill will be distributed to beneficiaries of immunization camps run by Seva Mandir. The dal mill was visited for the second time by Shiho, a client from Japan. She was so impressed with the quality management of the dal mill that she immediately placed an order for 110Kgs of moong dal. This is a matter of pride for the members of Nala Bachat Samiti who are poor farmers, living in the remote, tribal village of Kotra. For the first time, Nala Bachat Samiti will be procuring and processing chana dal. The best part about this dal is that, it is not only high in nutritive values but also fetches good price in the market. It’s by-products are also valuable in the form of raw materials for sweets and snacks and high quality cattle feed.

The dal mill has reached scale to pursue its long term vision. This is exactly why procedures are set in motion to transform the dal mill into a produce company. Members from Nala Bachat Samiti have been selected and trained to work as promoters and directors of the new entity. A comprehensive study is under way to expand the market both for procurement and sale of dal. This new producer company will have capital at its disposal which will enable it to take more risk and explore untapped markets. 

Thank you so much for your continuous support to this project.


Atul Lekhra 


Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir.

Wishing you a very Happy, Prosperous and Wonderful 2014. Thank you friends for extending peace, love and support to all of us in 2013. We look forward to another great year with you. Year by year, our association is getting stronger. Thank you very much for adding happiness in so many lives.

Today I thought of sharing with you some more positive recent developments related to our dal mill (lentil processing) project.

The dal mill was commissioned with the view of adding value to the pulses, cultivated by the farmers in Kotra and in turn giving maximum returns to the farmers. Over the years, we have taken small steps towards achieving this objective. The past three months have seen many developments in the operations of the dal mill.

The numbers of clients have increased in the past three months. As also, we have started receiving bulk orders from our clients. Sahkari Upbhokta Bhandar, the largest government departmental store in Udaipur has started procuring dal from us. They have already purchased 2000 kilograms of dal from us and we are expecting fresh orders in the upcoming months. The latest addition in our list of clientele is The Lalit Laxmi Vilas Palace hotel in Udaipur. This is one hotel in Udaipur which is frequented celebrities and the affluent class. The fact that this hotel has entered into a contract with Nala Bachat Samiti for purchasing tuar dal testifies to the superior quality of dal produced by the farmers in Kotra. We are also in talks with Hotel Udai Kothi in Udaipur and hopefully we can strike a deal for supply of dal in the coming month.

Meanwhile, changes have taken place at the administrative front in the dal mill. The general body election had taken place after 3 years in the month of December in which a new panel of 11 core committee members were elected who will represent each of the six villages from which they belong. A meeting of the core committee will be held every month and issues related to operations of the dal mill will be discussed. The dal mill after breaking even in the last financial year, is for the first time running at a net profit of almost Rs. 30,000 according to half yearly financial report for FY 2013-14. Accordingly it has been decided to distribute net profit among the farmer members on the basis of their patronage in the dal mill.

A moisture meter will be installed in the dal mill which will enable in accurate measurement of the moisture content of the pulses and help us in ascertaining the correct selling price for the different varieties of dal.

The dal mill has hoisted visits from varied luminaries like Prof. Abhijit Dasgupta, an economics faculty at South Asian University which is promoted by SAARC. He is conducting a research on agricultural interventions by NGOs conducted by IFPRI and the dal mill will appear as a case study in the same. The dal mill was also visited by Mr. John Pheasant, an eminent legal professional from U.K. and his wife, Mrs. Felicia Pheasant, an educationist. The dal mill also hoisted a visit of 26 students from TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India) in the month of January whereby the students came to learn about the impact of livelihoods interventions on the lives of rural people.

Once again thank you so much for your continuous support.

Have an awesome year ahead.

Warm regards,

Atul Lekhra


Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir.

Hope you are well. Today I thought of sharing with you some recent positive developments related to our dal mill project.

 As you know that our dal mill was established in Medi village of Kotra block in the year 2008 with the objective of giving back the farmers the benefits of a value chain and removal of middlemen from the same. Our second objective was to provide quality pulses to the consumers at fair price. Till now our objective has been realized successfully and the fact that we have realized a turnover of almost Rs. 7,00,000 for FY ’12-’13 and the largest hotel of Udaipur, the Taj lake Palace being our client bear testimony to the same.

The farmers of Kotra from whom we procure the pulses have never used chemical fertilizers or pesticides for cultivation of crops. The QPS Laboratories of Hyderabad (India), where we sent a sample of our tuar dal (lentil) for testing has confirmed the same. The quality of our dal is such good that for the first time we have received an international order from Japan.

Shiho Yamasaki from Japan is a client of Sadhna Handicrafts (sister concern of Seva Mandir). Last year during the visit she purchased some amount of tuar dal from Sadhna. After going back to her home country she cooked the same and also gave samples to her friends. She was so impressed by the quality and taste of dal that she came for a visit to India last month just to know more about the pulses. She undertook a visit of the dal mill during last month. During her visit we provided her with details regarding the quality of dal and the operational details of the dal mill. She interviewed the farmers regarding their farming practices. During her return we provided her with samples of all three varieties of dal. Shiho had links with some of the largest pulses retailers in Japan. She said that local availability of pulses in Japan is very scarce and prices are quite high. The quality of dal is not very good either. She promised to showcase our dal to the retailers of Japan and emphasize about its quality and certification to them.

As a result of our fine quality of dal, we have received a tentative order of 100Kgs. Of tuar dal from Shiho. We are in the process of sorting out the technicalities of dal export to a foreign country. Once it’s cleared the tuar dal from Medi Village will for the first time land on foreign soil which we are confident will be highly appreciated for its great taste. It’s indeed an achievement for us.

We are very proud of the hard work these farmers have put in to make Dal Mill project a huge success. As you may know the project has helped the farmers receive 30% more income and it is certainly a good news. Much of this success is also due to your untiring support. Please do let us know if you have any questions.

Thank you once again.

Atul Lekhra 


Mrs. Shanker getting the details of our Project
Mrs. Shanker getting the details of our Project

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir.

Hope you are well. I like to introduce myself to you. I am Atul Lekhra. I have joined Seva Mandir early this year and I will now communicating with you through these project reports. I am gald to be a part of this program and look forward to talking to you about all these wonderful projects you are supporting.

We are in our monsoon season currently. Though the rains have not been so good, the area is covered with greenery which makes village visits these days very picturesque. In early July, Mrs. Kamala Shankar and Ms. Emily Mitchell visited village Medi where the Dal Mill is located. They both enjoyed their visit and learning about the Dal Mill program.

Emily took several pictures of the area, people and of Dal Mill. Mrs. Shankar was very curious to understand everything about the project, how Dal gets processes and the impact it creates on people’s lives in Medi.

The person In Charge of Dal Mill Mr. Sanjay Vakode, for its day-to-day functioning explained the project and also gave heads up which I enclose below for your reference  -

1)      The mill has been able to acquire new clients and diversify its buyers including hotels like Taj Lake Palace, retail store in Gujarat that promotes unpolished dal. Having these buyers makes sure the farmers have a regular income for their produce.  


2)      The mill had sent a sample of Tuar dal to QPS laboratories, Hyderabad in order to test if there is any chemical (urea and pesticides) present in it. The laboratories declared that the produce is completely free from any pesticides and chemical. This is exciting news as it makes the Taur Dal of this mill even more attractive.


Seeing the mill Emily said “It is clear that this mill has been a very important resource for the local community.” Mrs. Shankar said, she will be talking about the progress of this project to her friends when she goes back to home in the US.

We are very proud of the hard work these farmers have put in to make Dal Mill project a huge success. As you may know the project has helped the farmers receive 30% more income and it is certainly a good news especially in the times of tough economy. Much of this success is also due to your untiring support. It is a great partnership and we hope to continue having you by our side. Please do let us know if you have any questions.


Thank you again.

Atul Lekhra.


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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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