[Makar Sankranti Special] 10 social enterprises working for better farm yields

Image courtesy: http://www.udaipurblog.com


We may call it by different names – Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Uttarayan, Maghi, Lohri, Bihu, Makara Sankramana, Shishur Saenkraat or Khichdi – but all Indians will celebrate this auspicious harvest festival on 14th January.

Makar Sankranti, the festival marking the end of winter harvest and the beginning of a new harvest season, is celebrated according to different customs and traditions across the country. However, despite the diversity, the underlying theme of Makar Sankranti remains the same – to celebrate abundance and pray for a good yield.

There are a few social enterprises working towards making farmers’ lives happier, their crops healthier and their yields larger. Though the list is not exhaustive, we bring you 10 social enterprises from India working towards this end.

AgSri – AgSri promotes Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI), a set of agronomic practices that help in increasing cane yields. AgSri trains thousands of farmers to adopt SSI and also helps them in establishing their own small nurseries.

BASIX Krishi – BASIX Krishi uses a network of trained Livelihood Service Providers (LSPs) who deliver in-person extension service to farmers. In return for an upfront subscription fee of Rs 800, farmers get access to a minimum of one visit every two weeks to their farm and on-call support for queries or questions they may have.

Digital Green – It produces and distributes community-centric, locally relevant videos about good agricultural practices. It is a combined system of technology and social organization in which village-level mediators use locally produced videos to motivate and train small-scale farmers, increasing the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices and technologies, ultimately raising incomes and mitigating the effects of climate change.

Driptech – Driptech produces affordable, high-quality irrigation systems designed for small-plot farmers. It distributes its products through local governments, corporate partners and NGOs.

eKutir Rural Management Services – Through its Krishi Vikas Initiative, eKutir offers ICT enabled tools to farmers – soil nutrient analysis and recommendation tool , a seed selection and recommendation tool and a farmer portfolio management tool. eKutir focuses on supporting local farmers by setting up franchises and local hubs to serve farmers within a 15km radius and on training local (micro) entrepreneurs to offer tailored agricultural advice and trade information.

GEWP (Global Easy Water Products) – GEWP works in the field of micro-irrigation. It distributes affordable drip and sprinkler micro-irrigation products targeted at small farmers. Usage of its products can improve yields by 30-50% and reduce water consumption by approximately 30%, leading to an increase in farm incomes.

MYA (MokshaYug Access) – MYA solves the supply chain problem for farmers by establishing yield improvement programs and procurement infrastructure. It eliminates middlemen and ensures that higher share of the end consumer price reaches farmers.

SV Agri – SV Agri helps farmers by providing them best-quality seeds, and helping them with inputs like fertilizers, irrigation, insurance, mechanization to enhance their yield of potatoes.

Vinfinet Technologies – It is an IT firm building technology solutions for agriculture. It has developed a GSM-enabled device that allows farmers to remotely control their irrigation pump with their mobile or fixed line phone connection.

Zameen Organic – Zameen Organic is a farmer-owned marketing company for fair trade, organic and pesticide-free cotton. They work with marginalised farming communities in rural India to improve livelihoods by increasing efficiencies, lowering input costs and raising incomes through certification. Farmers are the largest shareholders in Zameen.