City-based I Support Farming is a platform where people from the city can partner with small farmers and invest in agriculture and other farming related activities.
“I come from a farming background in Puducherry where we do three cycles a year. What I have noticed is that farmers from my neighbourhood either harvest twice a year or sometimes skip harvesting completely. And the reason is shortage of money to carry out farming activities. Due to this challenge, they end up leaving the land uncultivated and take up other jobs,” he says.
On the other hand, we have a large group of people in cities, who are willing to help farmers and support them but do not have the right avenues to achieve this. “I brainstormed the idea with my brother Vasanth Kumar and we decided to bridge the gap so that people at both ends are benefited. We started I Support Farming (ISF) as an organisation that would enable the urban people to reach out to farmers who are in need of support. The farmers can customise and produce crops according to the needs of the investors. Sometimes, the selection of crops depends on the soil as well. Most of the farmers in India are either small or marginal, which means that their land holding is less than one hectare. So, it is easy for anyone to invest in farming,” he explains. The end product will be shared both by the farmer and the investors.
Currently, more than 200 farmers from seven districts in Tamil Nadu have tied up with the team. “Around 180 people from various parts of the city are supporting these farmers. To make sure there is continuous support from the city investors, we have given them a choice of taking up farming as a weekend activity by partnering with farmers,” says the farmer-turned-entrepreneur.
Vijay notices that there is an increase in awareness when it comes to farming. “Unlike before, people have realised the need to support farming and farmers across the country. Moreover, people living in cities are into urban farming and rooftop gardening as well. This is really a welcoming change and would definitely go a long way. There should be an awareness among children as well,” he quips.
Apart from farming, ISF supports poultry farmers as well. “We supply all the materials needed for poultry farming right from chicks to their feed.”
The team is all set to expand its activities to Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in the coming months.