The heartrending news of farmers committing suicide in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra has been making the rounds for a long time now. However, there has been response from either the central or the state governments.
As a result an NGO has joined hands with some IT professionals to prepare the farmers to face any problem. Their initiative involves raising money for the farmers, using the technique of crowdfunding. As of now, the initiative has raised an amount of INR60 lakhs, the target being INR 1 crore.
The CEO of the Center for Sustainable Agriculture, GV Ramanjaneyulu said that everyone is well aware of the fact that the farmers are in trouble and there is no point in waiting for the government to respond. Instead it is the responsibility of the citizens to rise up to the challenge and do something about it.
He further added that with timely and thoughtful intervention, the situation can be brought under control. He cited that at the time when the cost of red gram crashed to INR 40/kg, they went ahead and bought 20 tonnes of it from Enabavi, a village in Jangaon district of Telangana. According to him, this step brought a great relief to the farmers of the area. He suggests that by planning an efficient model, this can be emulated and enhanced in other parts of the country as well.
The organizers of the crowdfunding scheme are planning to use the funds thus raised in three different ways namely in improving the farming and production methods, in marketing the produce and in offering them support and information about the various schemes introduced by the government.
According to Suresh Ediga, an IT professional and an NRI working from USA, these initiatives will be launched in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan with a number of teams and volunteers to address the issue and extend necessary support.
Suresh is the co founder of i4Farmers aka Individuals for Farmers. Termed as the OneCroreFarmerFund, he started the campaign for raising funds on Milaap, the popular crowdfunding platform. He is extremely confident of raising the amount and said that though INR 1 crore is not a large amount, it does seem significant when you take into account the gravity of the situation.
The page invites people concerned about the farmers to make donations and also allows them to further personalize the page such that they can address it to their friends.
As of now, Suresh has personally raised about INR 12 lakh. He confessed that they set a goal of INR 20000 and then invite people to donate any amount feasible to them, while making sure that 10 of their friends do the same.
According to Ramanjaneyulu, one of the most crucial aspects of this project is to build the required skill set. He said that keeping this in mind, the organization is planning to conduct classes for the farmers three times every month and termed this as Kisan Business School. He added that these schools will help the farmers to understand various things like cost, prices and managing the farm. His team intends to use a part of the proceeds from the crowdfunding to offer training to at least 5 to 10 resource personnel in every district of AP and Telangana.
The OneCroreFarmerFund also intends to start a call center that will enable the farmers to address their doubts.
Visit their website to know more – http://i4farmers.org/