Describe your idea in fewer than 50 words.
To reclaim agriculture using scientific and sustainable bio-resource activities for all farmers irrespective of their farm size and to restore harmony between rural and urban life. This will also serve as a platform for innovation and imparting/sharing of skills. Farmers First Foundation aspires to make agriculture and related skills viable thereby restoring dignity and dynamism to rural life.
What makes your idea unique?
The main objective of our NGO is to convert agriculture into a profit making and sustainable business model which is less risky as compare to conventional farming and where every farmer lives with dignity irrespective of its land holdings. Our NGO, FFF is currently in process of building model farms at different locations in India. In our farms, we promote organic and natural farming, train farmers, and invite eminent experts and thinkers in agriculture and rural development.
The Founders of FFF have extensive experience in agriculture, business, administration, international relations and trade, education and rural innovation. We even have collaboration with various premier institutes such as NDRI (National Dairy Research Institute), IHBT (Institute of Himalayan Bio-Resource and Technology), BARC (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) and companies such as HSBC to get technical and business related inputs from various sources.
Our business plan is made keeping into consideration all the stakeholders involved which includes Farmers, Research institutes, Scientists, Banks and even consumers. To convert conventional farm into integrated/organic farm, farmers require loan and to achieve yearly targets of lending in priority sector, banks need to look for sources where risk and chances of bad debt is less and where source of income is certain. Hence, our NGO is giving both a reason to invest in agricultural sector by creating awareness among farmers about new and eco-friendly means of production.
What impact have you had?
• Success in spreading the message in the village (Pathredi in Haryana city) which involves 60 farmers. Thus we realize that our model farms have infused enough confidence among the farmers to adopt our proposed techniques. This has also invigorated enthusiasm among the localities to work with us in our model farm.
• Meetings and seminars organized involving 100 farmers from 4 different states namely Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. This was attended by respected agricultural scientists and researchers. They also took part in the meeting preceding and answered general queries of the farmers. We believe that such seminars bridge a gap that is there between academicians and the grass root workers.
• We believe that we have been successful in bringing Dignity of Labour in the uneducated, unemployed youth in the rural areas. It is quite evident from the responses that after having seen our volunteers at the model farm and participation of scientists and researchers, youngsters gain a certain dignity to work on their own agricultural lands.
• FFF has provided a one stop place for farmers for learning any agricultural activities including dairy, poultry, fishery, crop production, vegetables, fruits etc. It becomes all the more important as previously farmer has to visit various organizations to learn each of the above mentioned activities.
Describe the primary problem(s) that your project is addressing.
The prime hurdle is to convince farmers to have faith in our proposed technique. We acknowledge that they are at risk because of less faith in anything which is not practically represented. Hence we have to develop model farms to prove our point, which takes around 16 months to complete the cycle. After having seen the whole cycle and increase in productivity and lesser costs involved, we have successfully gained their confidence. But still we have miles to go to spread our vision to farmers of whole of India. Thus spreading the message and sustaining the enthusiasm among the volunteers and member farmers is one goal that FFF constantly strives to achieve.
Describe the steps that your organization is taking to make your project successful.
• Setting up of model organic and monitored conventional farms in India to demonstrate and explain the benefits of integrated farming to farmers and to encourage them to adopt it. This will help them in taking all they can from the soil so that they make a profit and also putting back into the soil so as to maintain and increase its fertility.
• Collaboration with institutes and banks which acts as facilitator and mentor in our project so that technical expertise is easily available, gap between institute and actual user (farmers) is reduced, and banks are ready to give loans at reasonable rates to farmers. As the risk is low in integrated farming as compared to conventional methods of farming, it is easy to get loans for farmers where bank is also certain to get their money back.
• To make Self Help Groups of the farmers. We have already made a SHG of around 100 farmers where we are going to train them about various activities involved in integrated farming.