Stories of Change

Vidharbha – The land of challenges, farmers and opportunity

By October 23, 2018 No Comments

Alluvial Agro steadily transforming the Vidharbha region into a land of hope and plentiful organic produce.   

For over a decade, farmer suicides have been the biggest tragedy and the most talked of story about the Vidharbha region. This year too, the region has recorded 598 cases till the end of June – 58 cases lower than the same period last year.

Bhavesh Wankhade hails from the Vidharbha region and has grown up witnessing these tragic events. Despite being a son of the soil, Bhavesh never wanted to step into a farmer’s shoes. He believed that farmers lacked the courage to endure hard times and hence considered suicide as an option. As a kid, he was ambitious and wanted to pursue photography as a career. During his stint as a wildlife photographer for a premier TV channel in 2011, the questions of why farmers chose death over solutions or what prompted them to choose the extreme, still worried him.

His father’s illness bought him back to the region, where he decided that he truly wanted to dedicate his life towards building better conditions for farmers. With the soaring number of farmer suicides, Bhavesh was eager to design and implement systems that would benefit them and fuel their basic livelihood. 

After completing a Masters in Social Entrepreneurship from TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences) Mumbai and spending hours in deep diving into research about food adulteration and its effects on human health, Bhavesh founded Alluvial Agro Pvt. Ltd.

Bringing Modernity to Rural Maharashtra

Vidharbha is considered to be one of the poorest regions of Maharashtra/India with numerous challenges. Bhavesh identified that despite farming being the main occupation of the people and an abundance of fertile land in this region, there was a lack of modern methods to mobilise work and increase output. Through Alluvial Agro, Bhavesh aims to teach farmers on how to cultivate organic and natural farm produce using modern technology and methodology.

He has adopted a model that focusses on 2 verticals:


(a)
  Farmers

(b)  Customers 

On the Farmers Side, he identifies the main problem in the region and then engages with the locals in order to understand their perspective. He finds the gatekeepers (Sarpanch/NGO) working in the region and motivates them to adopt sustainable agricultural models. He spreads awareness and imparts knowledge about sustainable agricultural methods through workshops and trainings on natural & organic farming, free of cost.

While on the Customer’s Side, he markets these organic and natural food products by establishing tie-ups with big brands in India and overseas. This has helped increase the farmers livelihoods, reduce their input cost and explore new sustainable methods while staying environmentally conscious.

Alluvial Agro has additionally assisted the farmers with farm planning, demand trend estimation, identifying new markets for their natural products, and establishing market linkages to supply organic and residue-free agriculture products to consumers.

Sowing the Seeds for a brighter future

With the aid of modern technology in the agricultural sector, Bhavesh aims to triple the income of farmers while making them self-sufficient. His vision is to make the Vidharbha region an export hub for organic and 100% natural food produce.

Bhavesh follows a simple mantra –
“If you want to solve any issue of this society, it’s not just the responsibility of the Government, but it is the responsibility of every educated individual of the nation. We all have to work together to create a better society we want to live in.”

He is living this mantra through Alluvial Agro, and has transformed the lives of 700+ farmers by reducing their input cost in agriculture by 60% in the first year only. This has led to them to earn about 15 – 30% more on their produce. The farmers associated with Alluvial Agro are equipped to make their own pesticides & fertilizers the organic way and are using biodynamic agriculture techniques with the help of NGO SARG.

 

Bibliography:

1.    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/7-farmer-suicides-a-day-in-maharashtra-despite-loan-waiver/articleshow/64954221.cms

UnLtd India

UnLtd India

We find, support and grow early-stage social entrepreneurs to build high-impact organisations and grow as catalysts for social change.

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