Economy

Now, a crowdfunding initiative to end farm distress

K V Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on April 20, 2017

BL21_01_FARMERS

Farmers in Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu continue to end their lives but the response from governments both at the Central and State levels has not been proactive.

Now, a group of IT professionals and an NGO are doing their bit to alleviate the situation and equip farmers better against hostile conditions.

They have decided to raise funds on a crowdfunding basis to help farmers. Against a target of ₹1 crore, the initiative has so far raised about ₹16 lakh.

“We all know that farmers are in distress. Some governments are doing something. The others are not. But, as responsible citizens, we must do something to address this challenge,” GV Ramanjaneyulu, Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, told BusinessLine.

“We can make useful interventions to improve their situation. For one, we procured 20 tonnes of redgram in Enabavi in Jangaon district in Telangana after prices crashed to ₹40 a kg. We bought it for ₹60-65, giving them significant relief. If we develop a workable model, people will emulate and scale this up to several villages,” he added.

The organisers are planning to use the proceeds in a three-pronged effort — to develop production techniques for farmers, market the produce and help them with support and information on relevant government schemes.

“These initiatives will be started in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, with volunteers on the ground and other teams working on these issues,” said Suresh Ediga, an NRI IT professional working out of the US.

Reaching out for funds

Suresh, who who co-founded i4Farmers (individuals for farmers), started the fund-raising campaign, entitled OneCroreFarmerFund, on the crowdfunding platform milaap.

Confident of raising the sum, he said that though ₹1 crore is not a big sum, considering the enormity of the problem, it is not small either.

Calling for donations from friends and those concerned with the plight of farmers, he said the platform allows people to personalise the page to target their own friends.

“We call for donations of $10, $20, ₹1,000 or ₹2,000 or to get at least 10 of your friends to do the same and set a personal goal of ₹20,000 for the fund,” said Suresh, who has personally raised ₹12 lakh so far.

Building skillsets

Ramanjaneyulu said building skillsets was an important aspect of the project. “We will conduct make-shift Kisan Business Schools three days a month to make farmers understand costs, pricing and better management of their farms. We will use part of the proceeds in training at least 5-10 resource persons in each district in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to start with,” he said.

The OneCroreFarmerFund will also set up a call centre that will act as a one-stop-shop for all doubts of farmers in distress.

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Published on April 20, 2017
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