“If you ate today, thanks to a Farmer!”
No matter how India is growing up and everything is being grasped by technology, India is still an agricultural land. The economic contribution of agriculture to India’s GDP is steadily declining with the country’s broad-based economic growth. With a total of about 600 million people which means 50% of Indian population being farmers, there are a lot of problems that these men have to suffer. How about bringing technology and agriculture together?Surprised?
Thanks to Pawiter and Harjap who came up with a solution. It’s no less than a success story!
How It All Started
Subedar Major Balkar Singh Sandhu served army for most of his life and after his retirement, he started serving the farmers of his land on Amritsar. Having his roots as a farmer’s son and owning 40 acres land made him look close into the plights of local farmers who were often tricked by middlemen. The recent events of suicides and breaches made him start a revolution and he was elected as the regional head of Kisan Sangharsh Committee for Amritsar and Tarn Taran districts.
Pawiter Pal Singh who was having a successful life abroad being a Software Engineer was well aware of everything that was happening back in his hometown. He would listen to stories of revolts from his mother but the twist came back in 2014 when he heard about a farmer dying on railway tracks while protesting and he made up his mind to join his mighty father back at home in his venture.
He was joined by his cousin Harjap Singh who also had his roots in farming before going abroad.
Next few years they spent on learning the plights of the poor farmers by traveling all across India. The main reason was that their illiteracy about market prices let them fall into large pits and thus due to lack of communication with consumers they had to sell their products to middlemen.
“It’s time now that farmers pick up weighing scale along with the sickle and decide their own price to sell,” said Harjap.
At first, they made a team of 20 people and tried to make their initiative popular among farmers in villages. They contacted with village Panchayats and small groups to bind all farmers under one roof and make them believe on their terms. They asked them to register and also built two Kisan Sewa Kendra in Haryana and Punjab, an assistance center for farmers to sign up or seek solutions to their queries.
Unbelievably, they had almost 30,000 farmers registered. After this success, they launched the website ‘Farmer Friend’ by August 2016. The website is connected to a lot of restaurant and hotel owners who can directly buy the farmer products. Presently, there are more than 350 restaurants and hotels and more than 2500 individuals who buy their grains, poultry, milk products and veggies directly from farmers.
Pawiter said “They are ready to work hard and repay their loans, all they need is a fair price for their produce. Why is a farmer getting poor day by day while the products produced by him are getting costlier in the market? Why is it so difficult to understand that it’s high time that we need to eradicate the middle men who are responsible for this unfair difference?”
The Website ‘Farmer Friend’
The website now operates in almost 20 cities nationwide connecting all the farmers. The process is easy as you just have to log in and register your name and contacts. You can search for local farmers and order for their products. The farmers once get ample order will sell you farm products directly and you can even meet and thank them for their services.
What a smart marketing mind! Both the parties have an advantage as farmers no more have to deal with the middlemen breaches and tricks and also consumers can get fresh farm products at a cheap price.
Such ideas indeed require an applause!