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!