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.
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.