Farms and Farmers (FnF)

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Farms and Farmers (FnF)

Patna, India
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Farms and Farmers (FnF) was started by alumni of IIT Kharagpur and IIT Delhi in 2010. FnF aims to maximize profit per unit area of land for small and marginal farmers. We provide 360 degree services of cultivation - right from the crop selection to marketing.FnF has a strong advisory board which comprises of scientists of Agriculture and Food engineering IIT Kharagpur, Rajendra Agriculture University Pusa, Birsa Agriculture University Ranchi and many progressive farmers of the country.

With the intervention of FnF, farmers experience 20%-45% increment in their agricultural income and turnaround of their agricultural income also reduced to 80-90 days from 5-7 months.Entire farming process is designed in such a way so that it remains natural to improve soil fertility. We are working with approximately 1500 farmers in seven districts of Bihar - Vaishali, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Banka, Rohtas, Saran and Purnea.Till now We have successfully grown export quality paddy, Baby corn, Papaya, Turmeric, Litchi and seasonal vegetables and sold directly to bigger players(FMCG companies, retail giants, exporters etc)without any middle men.

At this stage our focus is to expand the network of farmers to other parts of Bihar and neighboring states like UP, Jharkhand and Orissa.In future, once our production cycle gets streamlined, we would like to emphasize on post harvest management (warehousing, packaging, sorting and grading) so that profit for our farmers can be enhanced further.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

A small farmer faces a plethora of problems at every stage of cultivation – from right crop selection, availability of quality seeds at affordable prices, to keeping abreast of new technology and its training and finally marketing. In addition, there are multiple middle-men in this field, whom the farmers have to go to for their farming needs, and who end up taking a substantial share of their earnings in the process. Despite being amongst top producers in world, Indian farmers have been making losses in their agricultural practices. In terms of agricultural efficiency and post harvest value addition, we are way behind China, Malaysia and other countries. There is a huge gap between new technologies and farms and between the markets and the farmers. Consequently, rural people are moving away from the farming profession and working as laborers in metropolitan cities. Sometimes, they are also forced to take the extreme step of ending their life, as is evident in the ever-increasing number of farmer suicides. Few examples on the basis of our working experience: a) No logic of the cropping pattern. No correlation with soil type and market demand b) Unavailability of quality inputs c) Declining production and soil fertility due to excessive usage of chemicals d) No media to create awareness of latest production techniques or interact with scientist/fellow farmers e)5-7 months for return from agriculture f)Marketing channel to fetch best rates

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

FnF studies farmers profile thoroughly on the basis of historical cropping pattern, soil type and input-output ratio. Subsequently we form clusters of farmers of having similar profile of neighboring villages. In the range of cluster’s cost of cultivation, best combination of crops selected.Market survey is done prior to that and demand of buyers is synchronized with selected crops. Other operations, including centralized procurement of quality seeds of the selected crop at the negotiated price, farmers’ training, season scheduling,harvesting and post harvest value addition etc is done at the cluster level. At the end of these processes the produce is collected at the nearest center and farmers get maximum possible rate at village itself. FnF center provides other useful information like daily price of relevant agricultural commodities, videos of new technology, success stories of farmers in other parts of the country etc. Innovation at clustering stage make synchronized farming schedule possible and hence small farmer gets benefitted like a large farmer. Innovation at crop selection stage does not only mitigate risk of uncertain weather but also reduce the frequency of income. So one side growers get benefited at every stage of cultivation with lesser risk and other side we provide platform for backward integration to institutional/bigger buyers.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We created three sets of farmers, buyers and agriculturists. We understand requirement of buyers and plan the production cycle for farmer's clusters of different profile in discussion with third set of agriculturist.At the end of season, once crop is sold we take our service charge, which varies from crop to crop. Our ethical margin falls in range of 2-14% depending upon crop cycle of crops. For example: we get market demand of export quality paddy, baby corn,red lady papaya, medicinal herbs etc. Subsequently suitable clusters had been identified. Clusters of drought area, where farmers have been growing either paddy and making huge loss or doing nothing had been instructed for same with farming schedule of Aswagandha (which requires lesser water), training, field visit and post harvesting. Produce has been bought in village itself and farmers could get roughly 30% more income with lesser risk. Similarly large number of farmers who had been growing only Paddy and maize of 5-6 months of crop cycle during kharif, had been linked to requirement of export quality paddy, baby corn and red lady papaya of crop cycle of 100 days,60 days and 300 days respectively. By doing so now they earn 24%-40% more and frequent income after every 80-90 days. At this stage we are focusing on expanding the network of all of these three sets.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Farms and Farmers (FnF) is one of the fewest initiative of providing end to end solutions to small and marginal farmers.In short span of 1.5 yrs, we expanded our operation to seven districts and reached to thousands of farmers of Bihar and connected small villages to bigger Mandis,Large FMCG companies and retail giants. Concept of small FnF centers for farmers mobilization, training, input distribution, clusters meet and collection of farm produce is welcomed by farmers. Hence many enterprising people are coming ahead to run FnF center in respective area, which is gelled with our focus of expanding farmers network too. We do not see anybody as our direct competitor as one can find many players who are working in specific domain of value chain ( either input distribution in rural area or trading of farm produce). There are one or two organizations who provide most of these services, but for specific crops and our focus area is maximizing profit for farmers, which can be brought by growing multiple category of crops. Large companies are also doing such activities in some part of country under their CSR head but again that is for selective crops and secondly market for farmers is monopolistic in that case. Even in case of new players, we see huge opportunity for our working model as only Bihar has more than 2.5 million small and marginal farmers who need our services.

Comments

Shashank Kumar's picture

2 Days training and nurturing program of 10 selective rural entrepreneurs successfully completed on 15th & 16th July. Name & districts of persons as follow:
Ajit- Rajgir, Nalanda
Madan & Sanjeet - Mahnar, Vaishali
Manoj-Jandaha
Ravindra- Shahpur, Samastipur
Om- Saran
Pankaj, Varun & Chandan - Vaishali
Mukesh- Pokhraira, Muzaffarpur

Out of these, 4 will be allowed to start FnF centers in respective area in August'12

Indrani Sharma's picture

Thank you for your participation in AFI Growth Prize Competition. We have a key question for you:  What is your strategy for spreading this innovation through scaling-up or replication, and for providing sustainable financing of that growth?

Please post your response as comment here before Dec 15, 2012 to be considered for final evaluation.

Shashank Kumar's picture

We have consolidated our offerings (Soil testing, Crop advisory, Quality inputs, Market linkage, Crop selection) as a package to be given to micro entrepreneurs. We have also created ICT based tools for services like farmers profile management , crop selection, crop reminder, Integrated pest management,, which is user friendly for them.These rural entrepreneurs run FnF centres in their area, They deal with local issues like farmers mobilization, passing information, collecting soil samples, distributing agri inputs, collecting farm produce. However central team takes care of strategic & logistic issues. As mentioned in earlier message, currently we are operating with 5 such centres and it will be 10 by the end of F.Y 2011-12.
One side we assure our raw material availability through complementary services, which itself is sustainable through membership fee, margin from agri inputs and soil testing.

On the other side we provide quality produce directly to bulk buyers like FMCG companies, Food processors, Exporters etc.We are also strengthening our self for marketing of farm produce. As per the milestone, we have taken 2500 mT warehouse on rent which is integrated to our centres. Besides we have got through fund raising for small cold chain set up.