1. Agriculture World

Meet Two Agripreneurs who are Helping, Training and doing Business with Adivasis in Dang, Gujarat

Amit Bhatt
Amit Bhatt
Dhannalal Jat
Dhannalal Jat

Hasmukh M. Patel is the CEO of Dangi Adivasi Mahila Khedut Utpadak Producer Company Ltd., based in Ahwa District Dang in Gujarat, released a video on Krishi Jagran. He shared the platform with Dhannalal Jat, Agriculture Program Specialist again with  Dangi Adivasi  Mahila Khedut Utpadak Producer Company Ltd.

Firstly Dhannalal introduced himself in the video. He has been associated with  Aga Khan Rural Development Program (India) for last five years and with their support, they started the Dangi Adivasi Mahila Khedut Utpadak Producer Company and registered it in July 2019. We are established in the Dang region as a farmer producer company and so far we have 850 shareholders.  Each share has been bought at Rs.500, by shareholders. 

Dang is a backward tribal region of Gujarat. They grow nagali, chavai and paddy, as their main crops. The type of nagali and chavai that grow here are of a different type and higher quality than other regions. These crops and their products are popular in the premium markets but the rural farmers do not have access to this market. These farmers sell their produce in the local markets where the prices are too low. The purpose of us starting this farmer producer company is to provide the right prices to the farmers. He said that the farmers should get the MSP (Minimum Support Price) decided by the government. 

All the farmers associated with the company are women, i.e. this is a 100% women-only company.  All the shareholders are women. This company was started after a number of discussions and meetings with the local women farmers, to find solutions to the problems that they were facing and on how to find new markets for their products. For this purpose, we visited some companies, with the farmers, which buy crops from farmers in bulk. The farmers were not organized and we decided to get them organized.  Aga Khan Rural Development Program (India) helped us in registration and has helped over 28 companies across Gujarat to get registered.

Women Farmers Meeting
Women Farmers Meeting

We collected the harvests of nagali and chavai crops, packaged and graded these and marketed them at premium markets. The company has bought a grading machine, which is not available to the local farmers who sell ungraded products at low prices. The farmers require inputs like seeds, manure as fertilizers and pesticides to complete their farming activities cycle. Dang being a backward rural area, the farmers do not have easy access to such inputs and that's where their company comes in. The company buys these inputs in bulk for their shareholders and distributes these to them. The cost of the inputs for them is low because it is bought in bulk and these have had good affect on their productivity. Since most of the local farmers own very small farms and hence their cost of crop production goes up. For example to reduce labour-intensive tasks they need to hire machinery, cost of which can be very high for the small landholders. We visited a number of farming equipment manufacturers and bought the right equipments for the local farmers. The money for these investments came from our shareholders who have bought the company shares. 

Recently they invested 2 Lacs in purchasing equipments, for small farms, which are being shared by the shareholders. These equipments have proved useful as less time and lesser labour is required to complete farming activities with these. 

Women Farmers at Work
Women Farmers at Work

Also in last 4-5 years lots of poultry farms have come up in Dang and these are being encouraged by the  Aga Khan Rural Development Program (India). These have become a source of income for landless farmers. The organization has helped establish 250-300 poultry farms locally in Dang. Most of these farmers raise 100-200 chicks at a time. So, poultry feed has been in demand and most of this have to be bought from other regions. These farmers met and decided that we must produce our own poultry feed. So, a poultry feed machine has been bought which provides feed to the poultry farmers. Hence poultry feed is being produced and sold locally.

To improve farm output and soil quality we are focusing on organic farming. We are also producing organic manure and organic pesticides. We have had a turnover of 5 Lacs, from this company, in it's first year. We have distributed seeds to farmers in the Kharif season this year and are hoping for a  turnover of 50 Lacs this year.

Then Hasmukh Patel introduced himself as a resident of Navsari district in Gujarat. He has been associated with Aga Khan Rural Development Program (India) for the last 10 years. Under their guidance, he has been managing the  Dangi Adivasi  Mahila Khedut Utpadak Producer Company Ltd. since 10th July 2019. Board of directors of the company meet at 5th of every month and make a list of tasks-to-do and we set targets. These are reviewed every month. We work towards maximizing the profits of our shareholder farmers. 

The Adivasis are about 9 percent of total population of Dang and believe in living closely with mother nature. The inputs for farming or other goods are not easily or readily available to them, and for buying such items, they have to travel 50-60 Kms. They have not organized themselves and we help this Adivasis by buying the items for them and distributing evenly among them. This saves the time and transportation costs for farmers. On average every farmer saves about Rs 200. Our organization aims to make the farmers financially independent.  

Now Dhannalal continues that they aim to be associated with 10,000 farmers and their association with us will be profitable for them. He requests for more farmers to join their organization as it will benefit them tremendously. We can even help in arranging loans for farmers and also impart technical training to them.

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