Ecokisan Farmers Success story covered by Organic Magazine

Updated: Aug 9

Vishal Jadhav has always been very

concerned about nature, which is

one of the reasons for which he

developed a love for it. It created

a will to do something for nature. Moreover,

his family being into agriculture, he had seen

many problems faced by marginal farmers,

just like his father at one point in time.

“Through the years, I have witnessed how

he [Vishal’s father] sows crops with hope

in his heart but the situations change

during harvest. Markets are saturated and

profits are affected by many factors. In

any corporate or industry, employees get

paid according to their performance, but

unfortunately our conditions are not the

same. In the families of farmers, every

member engages in the work, from the

children to the eldest, but most of the

time, they incur losses or minimal profits,”

Jadhav shares.

A different road

Jadhav talks about his change in career

path. “Due to our plight, my family wanted

to educate me and wanted me to get a well-

paying job. I tried my best and got admission

in an engineering college, that too through a

bad financial situation. However, in my 2nd

year of engineering, I got connected to an

organisation for a Sustainable Agriculture

Development Programme where I joined

as a volunteer. Through this programme,

I met different organic farmers who had

successfully implemented organic farming

in their fields with very less production cost

and are running them with good profitability.”

The problem arose when it came to the sale

of their produce. They didn’t have access

to the organic market where they could

get fair prices for the fruits and vegetables

they grew.

Jadhav wanted to work for the environment

as well as farmers, and this was the

perfect opportunity, so he decided to develop

the supply chain to link farmers to the

organic market.

Convincing his family to start a new line of

work was nowhere close to easy. Marketing

the produce to a wider consumer base was

also a big challenge initially, but Jadhav

kept going and searched online for people

from Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Delhi and other

metro cities to increase the demand. The

trials and tribulations didn’t end there.

Transportation costs being high, sending out

small amounts of products was risky. Jadhav

recalls the time when customers used to pay

him and the farmers lesser money because

they received the perishable goods in an

altered form.

Although discouraged by these problems,

his motivation was built again by stronger-

willed farmers, increased number of

customers, a strong team, and efficient

division of labour. Being closely connected

to the farmers for creating an unofficial

yet authentic farmers’ group also helped

Jadhav a lot. The logistics and packaging

have improved to maintain good quality

as well.

In 2018, Jadhav, along with other farmers

associated with Ecokisan, started an

organic farm to popularise the concept

in their district. “We started awareness

about organic farming and selling organic

fruits and vegetables through WhatsApp

orders. By seeing our work, many farmers

started engaging in organic farming. With

government institutions initiating organic

missions around Nashik, the movement

picked up and more farmers came on

board while bringing customers along.”

They have come along a long way, with the

e-commerce app Orgofarm to make selling

easier. Furthermore, Jadhav wishes to

see a fair market for everyone, especially

for the tribal farmers who cultivate

crops without any harmful pesticides or

fertilsers. He wants to develop the value

chain for organic products domestically

as well as internationally.

Each one teach one

Jadhav agrees to tell us a bit about the

famous Kesar Mangoes of Nashik. “The

Kesar Mango is specially grown in the

tribal region of the district. The regions of

Peth, Surgana, Trambak, etc in Nashik are

blessed by nature, so all the crops grown

in the region are 100 per cent natural. We

onboarded these farmers in our Ecokisan

FPC and certified them as per NPOP organic

standards of organic farming. The Kesar

Mangoes were also registered on mango

net, required for export. We completed our

first international order in May.”

Ecokisan FPC supplies organic food prod-

ucts like millets, pulses, grains, vegeta-

bles, and fruits in Gujarat, Delhi, Karna-

taka, Haryana et al. Other than the Kesar

Mangoes, Jadhav wishes to export other

products too.

Commenting on the role of the government

in the organic farming sector, he acknowl-

edges the support to farmers in certification

and the infrastructure setup, while sug-

gesting that the lab checking facility prices

should be lowered for them. He also ad-

vocates for training and awareness cam-

paigns in support of organic farming. It

can be started as a chain, he says, where

“some farmers are first trained, and they

continue the learning process while they

get paid for their efforts at teaching/train-

ing others.” This would be a motivating

factor for everyone to get into the organic

sector as they would have guides to take

their doubts to, and the teachers would get

extra income

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