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Income Enhancement

84% of the farmers in rural parts of our work area are small and marginal farmers earning only about INR 13,000 (USD 185) annually from agriculture.  The outputs from agriculture and livestock are usually less than the state and national averages. As a result, after their family’s consumption, farmers are left with little or no surplus for sale to enhance their income.

A recent survey states that 30-50% of all agriculture-dependent rural households in this region are facing indebtedness. Even after a good harvest, it is a challenge for a farmer to earn any meaningful income without connectivity to markets. Not only do most farmers live far from markets, but they also have little understanding of how they work. Furthermore, they sell

their produce as individuals and not as a group, which would help to achieve economies of scale.

Seva Mandir works with farmers to increase their income by identifying critical areas in the farmers’ value chain and providing solutions. Seva Mandir uses its community-based agri-extension service model, through trained agriculture workers called ‘Krishi-karyakartas’ and agriculture experts, to support these farmers at every stage of the production cycle to ensure best results.

Through our network of women’s Self-Help Groups (see Empowering Women), we help women farmers to start agricultural and livestock-based livelihood activities at an entrepreneurial level. SHG members can take out loans from their group to invest in their farms and livestock. They are given training and other technical assistance to implement the business plan with the help of experts from farmer-producer organisations or social enterprises like Udaipur Urja Initiatives, trained agriculture workers and local agri-entrepreneurs. These groups are evaluated from time to time to measure their progress in building entrepreneurship.

Seva Mandir works in tandem with the community groups and federations that we have helped set up (see Sustainable Development) to enable them to aggregate farm produce in order to achieve economies of scale, enabling farmers to receive a fair price at current wholesale prices and to benefit from these organisations’ expertise in rural agri-business developments in the region.

Through this intervention, Seva Mandir aims to increase the prosperity of the rural farming community by enhancing their entrepreneurial capabilities through links to training and credit and by giving them access to fair markets, without the need to travel long distances.

Two of Seva Mandir’s income-generating interventions deserve a special mention. Sadhna started life within the NGO as an initiative to help women improve their income by producing hand-crafted garments for sale. Udaipur Urja Initiatives was originally a Seva Mandir project to provide improved cookstoves for rural families. Both have grown to a sizable scale and have become separate, independent entities.


Impact

To date, through this intervention, we have increased the annual agricultural income of around 4,500 families by INR 15,000-40,000 (USD 215-600), a 40-120% increase. We have also helped 220 women's Self-Help Groups to undertake entrepreneurial activities, and linked 20 community groups and federations in over 40 villages to work with Udaipur Urja Initiatives to provide access to fair markets. 

 

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