Protecting Farmers, Preventing Distress Sales….

In rural areas of Telangana, due to lack of good market price to the field produce, farmers are running into losses by selling their produce at an unmatching value. In Mahaboobnagar district, dependence on tanks and wells for irrigation has increased, to substitute the nil rainfall situation. Almost 2 lakh acres of land is being cultivated under tanks and wells.

Farmers of this area are growing Rice, maize, Redgram, Greengram, Groundnut, Cotton and Castor despite of severe power shut down and erratic rainfall.

Farmers are selling their hard earned produce at a very low price yielding to the fact that there are no proper storage facilities in their vicinity. Farmers of Doulatabad were not an exception from such problems.

To store their agricultural produce……. these farmers had to go to the warehouse in Tandur , 40 km away from their village, with quite some investment on transport and time. But strong determination, foresight and unity of the women of this village has now changed the scenario . Through assistance from SERP, women Self Help groups constructed a godown, which is also being managed by them.

The storage facilities provided by SHG members and their federation helped the small and marginal farmers of the village to fetch a good market price. SHGs are not only procuring Rice, Maize and Redgram through Minimum Support Price , but are also taking up construction of ware houses for their storage.

The storage capacity of Doulatabad godown is 1500 metric tonnes. It was constructed during 2002-03 with a loan amount of Rs 7,20,000 in the land belonging to MMS.

Initially in this programme, two godowns were built in Doulatabad of Mahaboobnagar district and Alugunuru of Karimnagar district. These are managed by Mandal Mahila Samakhyas and District Samakhyas, due to which the marketing capacity of the farmers has escalated remarkably, storing the produce for a latter sale.

Redgram seed was procured from the market committee farmers in collaboration with the societies of Balampeta, Antharam, Gundepalli, Neethuru and Gogapalasabad villages. In the first year, 288.7 quintals of Redgram was procured, which has grown upto 1255 quintals by 2007-08. The farmers are satisfied over the high price obtained at the sale of their produce, procured and stored for 5 months in the godown.

As a result, a profit of 15-20% could be realized. Loan taken for construction of godown was cleared in three years with these profits. Self help Groups and mandal mahila samkhyas took equal share in the profits. By extending this to Mahaboobnagar district, the responsibility of seed procurement for the department of Civil supplies has been entrusted to the societies. A part of the godown has been let out on rent to SHGs at Rs 1000 per month for every Kharif and rabi seasons. SHGs have procured 1200 to 1500 metric tones of grain in kharif and 4000 metric tones in rabi.

Reasons for their success

  1. Reasonable procurement price for redgram and Minimum Support price obtained for Rice
  2. Establishment of income source for SHGs and Mandal Mahila Samakhyas.
  3. Strong institutional system existing with SHGs and their federations who undergo good training and supervision
  4. Capacity building of staff in seed procurement and godown management
  5. Close supervision by SERP staff through Management Information Syatem(MIS).

Factors that lead to successful partnership

  1. Co-operation extended by SERP in training all the partners in aspects such as weights & measures, their quality parameters, godown management, inspection, record keeping etc.
  2. Strong supervision by SERP and market committees.
  3. Support from Civil supplies department by providing 2.5% of grain’s value as service charge, transport facilities and Minimum Support Price. 

Reasons for success and Lessons learnt:

  1. Storage of grain in a safe place ensuring no wastage and losses.
  2. Stakeholders were brought out of the pathetic situation of selling at a low price.
  3. Time to time provision of market information facilitated a good value to the produce.
  4. Dedicated support from government throughout the programme.
  5. Small and marginal farmers are benefited by storing and selling their produce for a good price.

This success achieved by Doulatabad women gave an assurance of good market price to several farmers of this area. Eventually, their income has increased giving them self confidence and a positive attitude towards fetching more and more yields and income as well.

–         shyammohan

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