Increase Profits for 3,500 Poor Farmers In India

by Seva Mandir
Vetted

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir!

Hope you are well. The monsoon has delayed here. The pre-monsoon rain few days ago was very refreshing and we are hoping to have a great monsoon despite that our summer was not too hot this year. We will keep you posted on it.

I am writing to share with you an article written by Program Coordinator Ramkishan Singh, who has been working on this project for the last two years. While reading this article, you will learn recent updates of the Dal Mill and about the challenges faced by his team.

Once again, many thanks for supporting this project. We would love to hear your thoughts on this report.

With regards,

Deepti

………………..…..

An update on Profit for Poor Farmers

Since launching the Dal Mill project in 2007, we have entered a phase where early forecasted challenges have been resolved and new ones have been identified.  For example when we started, we had five purchasing centers in different villages to make it easy for farmers to come and sell their produce within their villages. Later on, we realized that this decentralized system of procurement was not feasible for us, especially due to this stage of the program, due to high costs of transportation and labor involved. It was costing a lot to have two people working at every purchasing centre and also we were unable to ensure the quality control of raw material purchased. To solve this issue we decided to centralize our procurement system and have only one purchasing center, the Dal Mill. This has helped us to lower our cost of procuring raw materials and enabled us to have control over the quality as well. 

Another issue identified was the poor quality of our final product.  We received many complaints from our buyers stating that our dal contains stones in it. To deal with this problem, we have bought a stone separator machine this year. Now, we are able to improve the quality of our product and are making efforts to maintain it.

Given the dynamic nature of business and evolving markets, we face a new set of challenges today.  With only one product, we risk losses resulting from price fluctuation in the market. Without a diversified product portfolio we are at danger of losing demand in the case of high price fluctuation.  To address this risk, we have increased our product portfolio by processing Mung dal in addition to Tuar dal.  We selected Mung dal for the portfolio given the existing demand from Seva Mandir’s preschools, also known as Balwadis.

As evident in the past five years, we have made strides towards improving our Dal Mill initiative and taken the time to address challenges that arose.  As we look to the future, we have purchased new machines with upgraded technology, which will enable us to process different kinds of dal with a fall in operating cost.  Now, our main focus is to streamline our operations in order to optimize our operating costs and we are hopeful that, with dedication, the expansion will bring new success for this endeavor. We thank you for your continuing support to our project and look forward to meeting you some day.

Ramkishan Singh

Farmer working in Dal Mill.
Farmer working in Dal Mill.

Dear Friends,

Hope you are well. Many thanks for your continuing support to our project – ‘Profit for Poor Farmers’. With this letter, I am sharing a progress report on the project you are supporting. For your benefit, a brief summary of the activities carried out so far are given below –

During the reporting period, the farmers acquired 3,099 kgs of raw tuar (pigeon peas) at an average rate of Rs. 34 (US$0.72) per kg. Due to the poor condition of the machinery, it was planned to set the processing target low as compared to the last year. Later, it was realized that profits can be made if processing is carried out. Therefore, out of the total procured Dal, 215 kg was sold as seeds and remaining was processed.

A total of 1,765 kg of Dal was sold at the rate of Rs. 70/- kg and remained byproducts and husks were around 910 kgs, which they sold at the nearest local market. This year we had total sale of Rs. 145,275 (USD 3,027) and registered profit of Rs. 41,738 (approximately USD 870). I hope you will enjoy reading more details in the report enclosed.

Once again, thank you for your steady support. We would be very happy to hear your thoughts and comments on the report, if any.

With warm regards,

Deepti

Links:


Attachments:
Wish you a very Happy New Year 2012!
Wish you a very Happy New Year 2012!

Dear Friend,

I very much hope that you are enjoying the holiday season. From all of us here at Seva Mandir, a very Happy and Prosperous New Year to you. May 2012 brings peace and success to you and to your family. We thank you for your kindness that you gift us always. With this letter, we love to share some key highlights of year 2011.

For Seva Mandir, the year 2011 has been a year of changes and success. Ms. Neelima Khetan stepped down after 12 years of her excellent leadership (total 25 years of association with Seva Mandir) in March. Ms. Priyanka Singh became our new Chief Executive in April 2011. Seva Mandir is ready to see many more years of its successful engagement with rural communities in Southern Rajasthan in her leadership.

In October, Seva Mandir became the implementing agency for the MNREGA projects for 32 sites in rural Udaipur. It is a significant achievement as well as an indicator of the faith of the 74 Panchayats in Seva Mandir's work. These Panchayats have endorsed us to be their implementing agency for MNREGA. Of these 32 sites that were sanctioned, the work has begun on the 22 sites. Most of these sites of pastureland development and currently the building of boundary wall is going on.

In 2011, Seva Mandir has been included in two working (sub) groups - {i) Child Survival & Development and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and ii) Girl Child} constituted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to review the existing priorities, policies, strategies, programs and their implementation for fulfilling the rights of children to survival, development (including early childhood care, early learning, elementary education). Also, to highlight emerging issues and recommendations, resources allocation and utilization for Twelfth Five Year Plan of Government of India.

Several of Seva Mandir's programs have seen a maturing in the last years. For example, in the villages where Seva Mandir organized regular immunization camps, the complete immunization of children is 60%, while in comparison villages it is only 35%.

Similarly, the work on Natural Resources is yielding a lot of benefits to the poor. Every year grass worth Rs. 52 lacs (5.2 million rupees) is being harvested from the common lands developed under this program.

In April 2011, Champa Devi from Vassela village was awarded the "Woman Exemplar Award 2011". It is another reason to look back and feel joyous to see that a community member of Seva Mandir was being recognized by rest of the society for her selfless services.

We are privileged to experience exciting stories of women like Champa Devi. A big credit goes to friends like you for this. Your support has always been the source of our emotional strength. It helps us keep going with our work. It is gratifying that with your support we have been able to create spaces where ordinary people can exercise truth force to bring about social and political transformation.

We hope you will continue to be with us in future too. Your faith and untiring support is very critical to us at the moment. Especially, when national and international scenario is changing rapidly for civil societies and the definitions of 'development' are being re-explored.

We believe that the full and deep impact of Seva Mandir's work lies not so much in the tangible development activities that it promotes, but more in bringing the poor and rich together and enabling them to work for the commons of building more just and oppression free communities.

We look forward to your continuing contribution in the year 2012 too. Wish you a very bright and successful New Year.

With warm regards,

Deepti

Grading Machine - cleaning and repair
Grading Machine - cleaning and repair

Dear Friends, Greetings from Seva Mandir! I hope you are well. Many thanks for supporting farmers living in remote villages of Kotra, Udaipur. This time, I have brought you a letter from the farmers themselves. The letter below accounts the recent happenings at their Dal Mill that you are supporting. At the same time, a small request for you from these farmers - they wanted to repair their machine because they were facing constant problems at the technical end. They got someone to evaluate the status of the machine and eventually got it fixed. However, in their evaluation of machine, it turns out that if they have a stone separator, it will help them produce a better product (final dal) as well as overcome causing damage by the stones in raw tuar/dal. So enjoy reading their letter and please consider to support the farmers in buying the stone seperator. Please write to me if you have any queries. Thanks you again. With regards, Deepti --------------- "Hello, The procurement for raw tuar began early this year. The target was set to procure only 3,100 kg of tuar so that we can process it before the raining season starts in July. However, we couldn't process it entirely and still had 1,000 kg of raw tuar dal yet to be processed, by the time it began to rain in our region. The procurement remained significantly low this year, primarily because we had been facing a number of technical issues with our machine. The milling therefore has been affecting our business a lot. In the meantime, we got an expert from OSAW industries, Ambala, Haryaana to guide us about the technical issues we were facing with our Dal Mill Machine. The expert advised us to either we could get the existing machine repaired and buy a brand new stone separator. Or we buy the entire machine altogether. The technician couldn't himself repair the machine because he didn't have sufficient knowledge and tools to repair a machine of a different brand. It was decided that we contact our manufacturer who has originally built this machine. After much persuasion of two months the company sent their technician from Sri Ram Associate, Akola, Maharashtra. The same person came who had come in the past to install the machine for the first time. He examined the machine and gave recommendations with costs as under - Work to be done: Expected cost Replacement of the Roll (Stone) Rs. 6,500 5 filters (Jaali) Rs. 3,000 8 bearings Rs. 600 2 eccentrics Rs. 400 1 Stand for the vibrator (18*12) Rs. 300 Expected service charge (TA, DA) Rs. 5,000 Others Rs. 2,000 Rs. 17,800 (USD 400) We also hired a welder for a day for quick fix some problems. However, the technician suggested to buy a stone separator for separating the stones from the dal while milling. Even though the raw dal is manually cleaned and sieved before processing. He explained that sometimes iron particles and stones cause damage in the machine. The roll which splits the tuar into two pieces has been causing problems. He showed these to us and we observed ourselves the marks made by the stones and iron particles on the filters (Jaalis) which cover the roll. He strongly suggested us to have a stone separator so it saves our machine and also saves stones to go in our final product. The expected cost of a stone separator would be around Rs. 50,000 (USD 1,000). Ultimately it was decided to get the machine repaired first and later around the time of procurement in December 2011 onwards, if we secure enough funds, we will buy a stone separator. In August the technician came and repaired the machine. If the machine is ready we could go for the increasing our product portfolio. We will also have the Green Gram and Black Gram coming in October and November. So our machine in good condition is the need of the hour. This is all what is happening Nala Dal Utpadak Sangh. Till now we have sold the entire final product (Dal) that we had in our stock from previous harvest. We are receiving more demands which is a good sign. Around July-August, we also did some plantation in our premises of Dal Mill. In total we planted 50 saplings with the staff of Seva Mandir. The team at Nala Dal Utpadak Sangh"

Dal Mill Repair Work
Dal Mill Repair Work

Links:

Processing is on
Processing is on

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Seva Mandir!

Hope you are well. The monsoon has come to Rajasthan last week. Everyone is excited to have clouds in the sky and hoping to have a good monsoon year. I am sharing the annual report of Dal Mill program that you are supporting.

The report accounts detailed information on the current status of the mill, their produce and the challenges faced in running the mill. As you know almost all farmers grow tur (pigeon pea) and sell it in raw form to earn cash. The average productivity of tur in the region is 2.5 – 3.0 quintals per bigha. Official figures show that the total production of tur in Kotra block is around 650 metric tons. As a study states, a processing unit of the capacity of 2, 40,000 – 5, 00,000 kg in a year can serve the purpose, by easily sustained through production from the region and having sufficient room for further expansion if successful. Therefore a mill (Nala Dal Utpadak Sangh) was set up in 2008.

Last year the total production of raw Tur was 12,954.5 kg of which 7,381.8 kg was processed and sold at different prices in the market. The procurement began in January 2011 with Rs. 41 per kilo. Subsequently the prices fell upto Rs. 25 per kilo. In early 2011, a Dal fair was organized to sell the stock of dal previously procured and processed. In December last year on the 20th the Sangh distributed the profit of the year 2008 and 2009 among the member farmers of the Sangh.

In addition, the spillover effect of the Mill is that the local traders also began to buy the produce for the right price. This has been the biggest achievement of this program. This has all been possible because of your sustained support to this program. Even though last year was tough for the farmers because the prices for the Dal fluctuated heavily, this meant that the dal was procured at a higher rate, but later the prices in the market gone down heavily. It inflicted some losses to the farmers. However, the mill is creating enough market pressure on the local traders who procure the dal at low prices and also cheat the farmers on the total weight of their produce. It incurs double loss to poor farmers. Now the equations are changing. Having an access to a mill which pays the right price to the farmers is forcing the local traders to also pay the right prices. Please do have a look at the report enclosed for more details.

Thank you very much for all your help. I hope that you will enjoy reading all the progress these farmers are making. Do write to us if you have any queries. We will keep you updated about the progress of this program as well as about the monsoon.

With warm regards,

Deepti


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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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