For the first time the consumers came forward to partner with the farmers cultivating millets and pulses using organic methods.
The consumers from Hyderabad, who signed an agreement with farmers of Ippapally, Potpally, Ganeshpur, Shashallapur, Arjun Naik Tanda and Lacha Naik tanda, here on Saturday, invested ₹10,000 per acre and in return would get crop worth the amount at the time of harvest.
Some 65 consumers travelled over 100 km from Hyderabad on bus on Saturday to see the fields in which they would be investing, to interact with the women farmers that would cultivate the land, the seeds they sow and the methods they follow in farming. The consumers were from Hyderabad-based Disha Consumer Movement while the farmers are active members of the Deccan Development Society (DDS) based at Pastapur.
The interaction was a first for both the consumers as well as farmers. Urban bred children accompanying their parents found it an opportunity to play in the farms. The farmers welcomed the visitors in their traditional system and handed over decorated seed pots to the investors. The visitors were taken to their fields and shown the process of tilling, the seeds that would be sown. Further, the visitors were also offered traditional jowar roti with a leaf vegetable and a cake made of millets.
“We are very happy that you are partnering us in our centuries-old practice of raising diverse crops without chemical fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation. We are sure that together we will ensure the health and safety of our food, our soil and our environment. In turn for your financial assistance we promise to offer you healthy diverse crops grown in our farms,” noted the agreement signed by the women farmers — in the name of Beyond Organic, Towards ConFarm (Consumer Farmer Compact) — here at Pastapur on Saturday.
DDS director P. V. Satheesh was instrumental in linking farmers and consumers with the help of Disha. He said that for the first time in the country, perhaps in the world, a group of consumers have decided to look beyond organised markets for their organic food and are prepared to partner peasant women in the cultivation of such foods by directly establishing a compact with them by financially supporting their agriculture thereby lowering farmers dependency on state sops and market lending. “According to this compact, each consumer will support a group of farmers up to ₹ 10,000 per acre for their farming needs. In return the farmers will sell ₹ 10,000 worth of their produce after the harvest,” Mr. Satheesh explained.
This is being taken up in 206 acres in six villages — Ippapally, Potpally, Ganeshpur, Shashallapur, Arjun Naik Tanda and Lacha Naik tanda.