Farms n Farmers - Incredible Bihar

"Some people refuse to accept things as they are, rather see how they should be - and leave no stone unturned to make it happen" - These are the lines from the heart of 2 young,hard-working and humble IITans.Treading a path less travelled, 2 have taken to agriculture after turning down lucrative MNC job offers and made a mark for themselves within a few months. They started their mission with an offbeat initiative in October 2010 in Vaishali district and now it has spread over 6 adjacent districts in Bihar.

Mission : Social service+Entrepreneurship (maximizing returns from land through natural farming)
Location : Started from Vaishali district,Bihar
Starting date : October,2010
Starting strength : 18 farmers to experiment on six acres of land
Method :
- Farmers are suggested to cultivate Cash crops eg. 'rajma' and flowers instead of the conventional crop of wheat/rice.
- Farmers learn and implement new techniques such as water harvesting and organic farming.
- Each technique is tailored to the soil content and land size.
- Farmers sell directly to food processing companies. It helps farmers earn more.

Organization :
- In February 2011, they founded an NGO, 'Farms n Farmers (FnF)', which does everything from soil testing to providing a market to farmers. Its activities have now expanded to adjoining districts including Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Banka and Purnia.
- FnF charges a nominal 10% of total sale value from farmers. It is planned to lower this figure in future as more farmers join initiative.
- FnF, which has more than 150 farmers associated with it, has an 8 member advisory team which includes Prof P K Sinha from IIM-Ahmedabad, Prof R Singh and P B S Bhadoria from IITKharagpur, and Dr Bimla Rai from RAU, Pusa. Manish and Shashank hold regular training programmes in different parts of Bihar.

Result :
- The farmers earned Rs 1000 per kattha with an investment of Rs 400. For wheat, they used to invest Rs 350 and reap 50kg produce per kattha, earning Rs 400 to 500.
- In Purnia district, where corn and potato are predominantly grown, farmers usually leave their land unused from June to September. They are advised to sow baby corn. As baby corn is reaped within 50 to 60 days, farmers had a bumper harvest just before raising another crop.Several Purnia farmers harvested 25kg baby corn per kattha of land and sold it for an average amount of Rs 750, earning more than Rs 300.
- In Buxar, the farmers, facing water shortage, were advised to grow medicinal herbs, which need negligible irrigation.

Future Plan :
- Though they are currently not using organic methods of farming, they said "organic is best." "Now that we have gained farmers' faith, we have started to work on organic farming. We are advising farmers to avoid using chemical fertilizer," they said.

Last but not the least the Guys..................
1.Shashank Kumar: IIT-Delhi graduate (2004-2008 batch):
- "If I had to go for an entrepreneurship, then why not this sector because no one is ready to work for this sector. This is ignored yet one of the most important sectors, so I have decided to work in this sector,"
2.Manish Kumar, an IIT Kharagpur postgraduate (2005-10 batch):
- Son of a retired clerk.
- Belong to Chakdariya village in Vaishali district.
- "A job in multinational companies wouldn't have given this satisfaction as this job is giving. Here we are changing lives of so many people attached with us."
Link to Video...


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