Increase Profits for 3,500 Poor Farmers In India

by Seva Mandir
Vetted
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.

To all our supporters,

Below is an update on the Dal Mill project. We reached out to Ram, the ambitious Seva Mandir staff member who’s out to prove that business can be both socially responsible and profitable, even in the most remote and disadvantaged locations”, to ask about how the past year has gone for the Dal Mill Project. We hope you’ll find his response as inspiring as it was for us:

 

Dal Mill Annual Report

The last year has been a great success for the Dal Mill. The following are some of the highlights:

  • There has been a significant increase in the quantity of dal processed, up from 1,750kg in 2011-12 to 9,346kg in 2012-13.
  •  Much of this has come through diversifying our client base. This year, hotels in Udaipur bought half of what we produced.
  • Efforts are being made to establish new partnerships with various retailers and wholesalers in Udaipur. In this regard, we are currently creating partnerships with Banyan Roots (a retail store that promotes locally grown organic produce) and Udaipur Sahkari Upbhokta Bhandar (a govt co-operative store).
  • This year we diversified our brand by introducing two different types of dal: Moong and Urad. The current demand for Moong dal is as high as the demand is for Tuar dal, our most common product.
  • Overall, this success has led to an average increase in annual income of Rs.1,192 ($22) for each of the 200 farmers selling their dal to the mill.
  • Additionally, the opening of the mill and the competition it presents to traders has also lead to a 30% increase in the value of dal in the villages where the dal is purchased.
  • As a result of this competition, the total income for farmers (not directly affiliated with the mill) in the region increased by approximately Rs. 3,500,000 ($64,815) in 2012-2013.
  • A new procurement centre was opened in the village of Cheekhla, which has expanded the procurement area from eight to twenty villages.
  • This means that the mill is now reaching an additional 100 farmers and benefitting hundreds more by creating a positive pressure on local traders to also offer a fair price to farmers.
  • Through the opening of new procurement centres over the coming year, we hope to significantly expand the reach of the mill.

There have also been major changes to the infrastructure of the mill. A de-stoner machine was purchased in order to remove grit and small stones from the product. We also bought a new processing machine in order to increase the mill’s efficiency and reduce the cost of production.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, our work to get the mill hooked up to the electricity grid has finally been completed and the mill should be electrified by the end of June. This will drastically cut the cost of electricity over the current diesel generator and lead to a significant increase in profits.

We are now in the final stages of implementing a partnership between the Dal Mill and Sadhna, a fair-trade social women enterprise initiated (in 1980s) and developed by Seva Mandir (www.sadhna.org).  In end of 2004 Sadhna has become an independent mutual benefit trust.

Collaborating with Sadhna would provide the Dal Mill with a well-known and reputable branding and visibility. It would also mean that the mill would be legally registered, meeting the requirements for it to continue operating.

Overall, last year has been very eventful for the mill. Your support has been instrumental for us to achieve these targets. Please take a look at our program page to see how we are trying to spread our reach from 20 to 300 villages, and help about 180,000 people in the process.  Once again, thank you for all your support!

 

Links:

Packing Dal for Hotel Lake Palace
Packing Dal for Hotel Lake Palace

Dear friend,

Tessa from the UK who is volunteering with us currently on this project that you are supporting. She has written a small note to share with you. I hope you would enjoy reading the progress the farmers are making with your support. Thank you for helping these farmers.

With regards,

Deepti

.............................

In the last year the Dal Mill has acquired new clients from the commercial sector, most notably the Taj Palace Hotel – a high end hotel based in Udaipur.  Over the last 3 months Taj has requested over 1,400 kg of dal and remains a loyal customer.  By attracting and retaining new commercial businesses, like the Taj we have ensured that there is constant demand for the pulses.

2012 also saw the introduction of two new products in the form of green and black gram in recognition that an over reliance on one dal product (tuar) leaves the dal enterprise vulnerable to market price fluctuations.  By diversifying our product portfolio we have countered this risk and responded to a demand in the market.  The sourcing of different dal pulses also means the Dal Mill functions throughout the year as each pulse has a different harvesting time, increasing the processing period across the majority of the year as opposed to just three months.

With more villages now being involved in the Dal Mill a new collection centre was set up to make it more accessible for farmers to deposit their raw produce.  This has meant that farmers do not waste unnecessary time and money transporting their goods which has in turn encouraged more farmers to get involved in the project.

With a steady increase in dal production, a result of new pulses being introduced and more farmers becoming involved in the project, the Dal Mill has become more sustainable, reaching out to more farming communities and ensuring a greater share of profit reaches local farmers and their families.

Cleaning the product before packing
Cleaning the product before packing

Links:

You ensured 30% more income to us :)
You ensured 30% more income to us :)

Hello Friends,

I am here again to share with you happiness, light and tranquility on this Diwali from all the 3,500 farmer families you are helping through this project.

Diwali is a festival of lights and candles. It symbolizes the fact that there is more good in us than bad and that we all have to keep working on it. This is what you have been doing for all these farmers. The problems in this world are endless, the struggles break us down everyday and yet we all come together to support each other. This is the message we bring from all the farmers from our area who are happier on this festival, all because of your support.

Happy Diwali to all of you and we also wish you a great year ahead.

With warm regards,

Deepti

P..S. Find more about Diwali here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali

Friend us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sevamandir

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sevamandir

Links:

Photo taken taken at Dal Mill
Photo taken taken at Dal Mill

We would like to thank you for your support our project ‘Profit for Poor Farmers’.

With this letter, we have attached the annual progress report of this project, for you to know how exactly your donations are creating real change.

Highlights of this year…

~The stone separating machine has been ordered costing Rs. 150,000 (USD 3,333) which would be installed in March next year.

~The project site is located in Medi village of Girwa block. The village doesn’t have electricity. This year, the village has been included for electrification by the Government under the scheme of ‘Rajeev Gandhi village electrification’ (Government scheme for providing electricity in rural villages).

 ~A permanent worker at the project site was appointed to ensure timely opening of the mill and to perform other daily tasks.

~Training was provided to the worker for operating the machine efficiently in order to minimize the chances of breakdowns and to achieve good quality of final product.

This all progress wouldn’t have been made without your support. Once again many thanks for your continued faith in our work. Please do share your thoughts on this project and feedback report.

With warm regards,

Deepti

Links:


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Organization Information

Seva Mandir

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

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