About 266 km from Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat, farmers in this village in southern part of the state, have formed a company to promote farming, increase produce as well as income of growers.
“We are inspired by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to double farmers’ income. Government is doing its part, we also need to come forward with ideas and show enthusiasm,” Bauji Sagathiya, a board member of the Saurashtra Swanirbhar Khedut Producers Company (SSKPC), which also has two women member on its board, said. Earlier, the produce from 1 acre land was 500 kg and now it has risen to 1,200 kg. “So, as the produce has gone up our income has gone up. Earlier we were getting Rs 3,500 per quintal as against Rs 4,500 a quintal now,” he said.
“After setting up the company, We sell our produce to NAFED. Earlier, we used to sell the produce in local mandis. A farmer informs us about the quantity of his produce and then we allot him a date on which he has to bring his produce for sale. He is updated through an alert text,” Sagathiya added. The company was registered under Companies Act in 2015. There are six people on its board and over 1,600 farmers of 17 nearby villages are its members. “We have registered phone numbers of all of them and send them an alert when required,” he said.
The idea of forming a company, he said, came after Reliance Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Reliance Industries Ltd, guided the farmers of the region to identify the issues in the dry Saurashtra region and form a platform to solve it collectively.
“Reliance Foundation came to our village four years back. It had been working in the areas of water conservation, food and nutrition, health and education, farm technique etc,” Sagathiya said. “We work towards promoting farming. We make sure that no farmer gives up farming for reasons like climate change, low produce, low market price etc,” he said.
People in various states like UP, areas adjacent to Delhi NCR have given up farming after selling land. If this goes on there will be fall in India’s produce, he said.
For better produce, the company has set up a lab at Babra tehsil. Farmers from all the 17 villages bring their seeds for test before sowing. This helps them to plant the right seed which is one of the reasons for good produce. Also, the farmers have moved to growing peanuts which requires less water as compared to cotton.
For irrigation, SSKPC has built over 70 check dams. This also resulted in enhancing the water level in the belt. A check dam is a small temporary dam constructed across a drainage ditch, or waterway to counteract erosion by reducing water flow velocity.