Tag Archives: farm

SHORT STORY: ‘Mansarovar’ narrated by Kamlesh Tripathi

Copyright@shravancahritymission

 

Short story: The farmer and the crane

Copyright@shravancharitymission

cranefarmerfarmer

     Once, a diligent farmer was harassed by the birds when they started attacking his fields. The fields were located close to the nearby forests that happened to be the habitat of many such varieties of birds. The moment the farmer used to sow the seeds and cover it with sand. These pack of birds used to land there and consume the seeds from under the sand. The farmer had gone tired. Trying to keep these birds at bay and was having a harrowing time. Since a lot of these seeds were already eaten away by the birds it was making his farming uneconomical. At last, he had no alternative but to cultivate his land all over again and sow fresh seeds.

    But this time anticipating the same nuisance. He brought along with him a big net and laid the trap of the net over the entire field. Many birds as before came to pick the seeds but got trapped in the net. Along with the birds even one crane got stuck in the net.

    When the farmer started catching the birds in the net the crane implored—‘please have mercy on me. I have not put you to any loss nor have I eaten your seeds. I’m neither a hen, nor a sparrow nor any other seed consuming bird. I’m a crane. I only eat insects that are harmful for crops. Therefore please leave me.’

    Farmer was angry and in his anger he blurted—‘what you say is correct, but today you have been caught along with these birds that have eaten all my seeds. So you are also their friend. And, since you have come with them you too need to face the punishment along with them.’

    The moral of the story is: a person is known by the company he keeps. People who are good but stay with bad people are also subjected to punishment and disgrace. By accompanying the miscreant birds even dutiful crane got trapped and had to pay the price.

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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ARTICLE: LIVELIHOOD SECURITY IN RURAL INDIA – CHALLENGES

Copyright@shravan charity mission


    Livelihood is the means by which a person or household makes a decent living over a period of time. ‘Livelihood Security’ has been defined differently by various institutions, entities, and scholars. In a broad sense, it implies dignity, in a secure and just society. Being able to withstand stresses of death, disease, natural disasters or even economic slumps.

    It means adequate and sustainable access to income and resources to meet basic needs. Including adequate access to food, potable water, health facilities, educational opportunities, housing and time for community participation and social integration. As said by W. Somerset Maugham, ‘There is nothing so degrading as the constant anxiety about one’s means of livelihood.’

    Swaminathan (1991) has defined sustainable livelihood security as, ‘livelihood options that are ecologically secure, economically efficient and socially equitable in order to underscore three aspects- ecology, economics and equity.’

    In simple terms, job and income are the most critical components of ‘Livelihoods.’

CHALLENGES IN FRONT OF INDIA

    With 60% of India’s population employed in the agriculture sector, that contributes only 15% to India’s currently sulking GDP, challenges of livelihood security in India are getting more and more complex each day. Farm based jobs have remained stagnant due to structural changes in the Indian economy. The share of primary sector in GDP has progressively declined from 26% to 15% between 1998 and 2013. While, the share of the rural population, which was dependent on this sector, has reduced only marginally. This means India’s development models have to be robust enough to deliver dignity of life and sustainability of livelihoods at a scale. And in a pluralistic context that cannot be compared to any other country in the world.

FRAGMENTED LAND HOLDINGS

    India is a land of small farmers. According to Agri-Census 2000-01. Out of around 120 million total land households in the country, there are an estimated 98 million small and marginal holdings. The average size of small holdings is 1.4 ha which has squared down from 2.3 ha in 1971-72. The small holding character of Indian agriculture is much more prominent today than ever before. Though from efficiency point of view, small holdings are equal or better than large holdings. Poverty for small holding farmers is much higher than other farmers as small holdings do not raise enough agricultural income, so as to lift the marginal and small farm households above poverty level.

LOW LEVEL OF FORMAL EDUCATION:

    Education and skills are important for improving farming practices, investment and productivity. The low level of farmers’ education limits public dissemination of knowledge. The NSSO Farmers’ survey shows that awareness about bio-fertilizers, minimum support prices and WTO is associated with education levels.

    The literacy rate and mean years of education for unorganized farm workers is 53.4% compared to national average literacy of 74%.

FINANCIAL INCLUSION:

    Access to finance is critical for empowerment of rural communities. Though various initiatives have been taken by the Government and civil society organizations to mobilize the poor into self help groups (SHGs) and provide micro credit, much needs to be achieved. And as per the NSSO 59th round results:

  • 4% of farmer households are financially excluded from both formal and informal sources.
  • Overall, 73% of farmer households have no access to formal sources of credit.

GLOBALIZATION CHALLENGES:

    Increasing globalization has added to the problems faced by the small holding agriculture. The policies of huge subsidies and protection policies by developed countries have negative effects on small holding farmers in developing countries.

INSUFFICIENT CAPACITY BUILDING OF BENEFICIARIES:

    Out of the estimated 70 million rural below poverty line (BPL) households, 45 million households still need to be organized into SHGs. A significant number of these households are extremely vulnerable. In the absence of aggregate institutions for the poor, such as SHG federations, the poor households could not access higher order support services for productivity enhancement, marketing linkage, risk management among others. Most of the SHGs remain crowded in low productivity and primary sector activities.

POOR ABSORPTION OF TECHNOLOGY:

    ICT can play a significant role in taking best livelihood practices to the rural poor. However, absorption of technology remains poor in the countryside primarily due to lack of basic IT infrastructure, poor penetration of the internet and lack of awareness. Though mobile penetration has been robust, rural internet penetration has been estimated at just 6.7% in December 2013. There is a huge scope for open source software technology suitable for low resource settings especially for the under privileged communities.

WOMEN’S OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT OF LAND:

    There are 400 million women who constitute 33% of the total population of India as per Census of India 2011. Land, in a rural agrarian economy is the source of food security, income and credit power. On the other hand, Indian agriculture is being progressively feminized with women doing the bulk of work. While 63% of India’s rural male work force is engaged in agriculture, the figure is as high as 79% for women. Women are increasingly engaging in pre-production, production and post-production activities abandoning the taboo associated with women ploughing the fields. Average farm labour by women in rural production is 55-66% of the total labour.

    In contrast to the large proportion of farm labour contributed by women, only 9.3% of rural women actually own land. In most of the landless and semi-landless families, women and children suffer from acute poverty, malnutrition and illiteracy. 83% of women engaged in agriculture don’t own the land. Since women don’t own land, they are not recognized as ‘farmers’ in Indian agricultural policy even though they are working on it full time- thus labour on their own land.

    HUMAN RESOURCES:

There is extreme dearth of qualified professionals willing to work in livelihood programs. Though management graduates can develop competency to handle livelihood projects. They are generally wired towards running businesses rather than managing livelihood issues which are connected with heterogeneous stakeholders and participants. Therefore, a special thrust to entice skilled professionals to work in this field will be a key challenge for the Government.

    So, it still remains a big challenge for India to uplift the marginal rural poor.

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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Article: Providing gender friendly, low capital and operating cost, farm equipments to our Farm Labour for sustained livelihood and economic freedom.

Letter for #PMO

  • Majority of the Indian farm labour is landless and almost 50% of them are females.
  • For most of them to make two ends meet, is a huge task. Especially women who are paid less basis their reduced output as compared to males; and so there is need to provide them with equipments and tools that can increase their output and thereby multiply Indian labour output in totality.
  • Most women labourers even have children who play around their work areas. With mechanization women will finish their work in a shorter duration of time and will have more time for their children.
  • A major portion of the farm labour, sustains under tough conditions, below poverty line budgets, and earn their living by doing routine farm operations such as land preparation, sowing, spraying, transplanting, weeding, harvesting etc. Most of these operations are done manually where GOI can make a fruitful intervention by providing cheap, economical yet effective farm equipments.

SUGGESTIONS

  • Since most farm operations cited above are hitherto performed manually we would like to suggest that these be done by mechanised farm equipments to increase output, make it gender friendly and decimate seasonality factor.
  • Indian agriculture census 2001 states, the operational land holding has increased from 129.22 million from 2005-06 to 138.35 million in 2011 showing an increase of 7.06%, but the average operated size of holding which was 1.23 ha in 2006-06 has declined to 1.15 ha in 2010-11 at an average all India level, which is below 3 acres. The small and marginal <2 ha operated area has gone up from 41.14% to 44.58% while both semi medium, medium and large holding have come down. And the average operated size of holding in < 2 ha class has gone up from 83.29% to 85.01%. This should ring alarm bells.
  • The above statistics presents a scary picture, both for the farmer and the farm labour.
  • This necessitates a paradigm shift in the way agriculture is done. First the concept of Indian farming, like a ‘nuclear’ family should shift to ‘nuclear’ farming, and the manual farm labour needs to be converted into mechanised farm labour where both male and female could do equal amount of work thereby raising the total Indian farm labour output.

HOW DO WE ACHIEVE COST EFFECTIVE, GENDER FRIENDLY, MECHANISED FARM LABOUR?

  • GOI can achieve the target of mechanised farm labour by introducing the new concept, compact, gender friendly, light weight, multi-purpose, self-propelled, new age- multi functional power weeders in the farm.
  • These multifunctional self propelled weeders can be operated by even females and can do several operations in the entire crop cycle such as tilling, levelling, seed drill operations, spraying of pesticides and weedicides, mechanised weeding, irrigation and water pump operations, harvesting such as potato digger, inter-cultivation and ridger operations.
  • It is also pocket friendly.
  • Mechanised weeder is environment friendly and also helps in the fight against cancer: Since manual weeding has become extremely expensive due to non-availability of farm labour, that has moved to greener pastures; farmers use excessive weedicides to kill weeds, which has spoilt the soil strata and ground water that is becoming prone to cancer. With mass utilization of mechanised weeders we can avoid usage of chemical weedicide thereby helping in fight against cancer.
  • Also we could promote and incentivise e-rickshaws for farm labour during off season

WAY FORWARD

  • GOI should incentivise purchase of such modern multi-purpose self propelled equipments through Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of women welfare.

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ARTICLE: #FARM TO #FORK methodology- IN BIG TICKET #RETAIL

Copyright@shravancharitymission

bigrel

 

 

 

 

BY KAMLESH TRIPATHI- FORMER GENERAL MANAGER MAHINDRA & MAHINDRA LTD., HEAD OPERATIONS MAHINDRA SHUBH LABH SERVICES LTD., HEAD AGRI BUSINESS AND ENGINES. ESCORTS LTD., VICE PRESIDENT RELIANCE RETAIL (FREELANCE JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR)

STATE OF PLAY

How would you like if it was written behind the packet of wheat flour that you just bought, ‘The contents were grown in the farm of Nanak Ram near Saras town, district Sehore, Madhya Pradesh.’ This is ‘traceability’ in agri terms. Sounds like a distant dream. But then the ‘big dream’ of the big ticket ‘Indian Retail.’ Connect the farm-gate to the fork. But before we get into this let us have a flavor of how the current system operates. Indian farming traditionally has been hooked to the mechanics of Artheyas (Grain merchants) Artheyas were created to help farmers with their documents while selling their crops in the mandis. These documents included entry of grain receipts in mandi registers, raising sales invoices and also tax challans. As most of them were illiterates and did not know how to read or write. This created a lifelong bond between the Artheyas and the farmers. The Artheyas initially started as the humble ombudsman assisting the farmers but gradually transformed into strong ‘gaddis’ at the influential grain market. But at the same time the profile of farmers continued to be the same or even declined comparatively, as the number of small and marginal farm holdings only increased and profits dwindled.

Today, a farmer depends on the artheyas for crop finance and finance in case of crop failure. He also treats the artheya as an assured market for his crop. And also depends on him for certain exigency finance which he may require in terms of marriage, illness, festivals thus forging a strong bond. And as compared to banks, their documentation is simple and not cumbersome and so a big convenience. But artheyas don’t forget their pound of flesh; and finance at high rate of interest and in some cases even beyond 24% per annum, and this hits farmer profitability. Even for the grain that the farmer sells through the artheyas, he charges commissions which is the major reason for grain, vegetable and even fruit prices becoming more than double from the farm level. Government in recent times has started warehouse receipt system; a type of finance that is available by mortgaging crop but then it entails a series of documentation.

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FARM TO FORK GENESIS

When the big ticket retail entered India the whole value chain from farm-gate to fork was examined by them in detail. What they found was, if the artheyas were removed from the system, and if they could buy grains, vegetables and even fruits directly from the farmers, a substantial value could be unlocked, saved and this could be shared amongst the three stakeholders; the farmer, retailer and the consumer. And, a lot of ground research has been done in this spectrum since then.

WAY FORWARD AND HOW DOES IT WORK ON THE GROUND:

Most big retailers have aggregation or stock points that store merchandise, from where it is brought to the retail floor, basis guidelines of minimum and daily stocking level. Some even have cold chains and reefer trucks for fruit and vegetable movement. Farmers who grow vegetables in the surrounding areas come with their seasonal vegetables and off load their stocks in these stock points basis number of plucking. These stocks are then sorted and graded for pricing by the company on a mutually agreed basis, after which it is taken in stock and payments are made once a week or in a fortnight to these regular suppliers. In case of onions and potatoes which have specific areas of production and limited season, such purchases may be made through one big farmer or a consortium of farmers or at times an agent who deals in these veggies. Fruits are more seasonal and the companies buy directly from orchard owners. Like apples are supplied by orchard owners from Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, mangoes could be from Malihabad near Lucknow . Farm gate purchase for grains is more tedious and cumbersome and still continues in a big way through the mandis, because of the government policies. Even the cropping regions are quite diverse; like Basmati paddy is grown in Punjab and Haryana, as an example. Some states have also tried contract farming where farmers are first registered before the cropping season. A particular variety of seed is given to them and package of practice is explained, and when the crop is harvested the Company lifts the entire crop. Fritolay the potato chips company has done contract farming for potatoes in Ranjangaon area near Pune and Punjab Agro has taken up a huge contract farming initiative of Basmati paddy in Punjab.

ADVANTAGES VS DISADVANTAGES

Farm to fork- is model of agriculture that has come to stay and has the following advantages and disadvantages:

• Increased Profitability: It gives greater profitability and earnings to small and marginal farmers which are growing in number.

• Expert advice on crops are available such as drip irrigation, optimum use of pesticides, new cropping patterns, crop diversification and fertilizer usage, to name a few; from international crop experts associated through big retailers.

• Ready market, even before the crop is ready.

• Traceability of crop

• There is a possible danger of the buyer reneging in which case the farmer will have to look for a new buyer within a short span of time to sell his crop.

• It may not have any government support price.

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