NGO, IT professionals join hands to raise funds for debt-laden farmers
They are targeting a sum of Rs 1 crore for developing production techniques, market farm produce and assist farmers with government schemes.
Most debt-laden farmers in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu continue to wait for some relief while many have committed suicide.
A group of IT professionals has joined hands with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) Centre for Sustainable Agriculture for "Project One Crore" to raise funds to help the farmers.
They are targeting a sum of Rs 1 crore and have managed to collect about Rs 60 lakh so far. The team plans to use the funds for three categories – developing production techniques, market farm produce and assist farmers with government schemes.
India has seen several droughts in last few years leading to an agrarian crisis in the country. In 2016, as many as 229 cases were reported according to the data placed by Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala in the Rajya Sabha.
Between 1995 and 2004, number of farmer suicides went up to 2,96,438. As many as 229 cases of farmer suicides have been reported in 2016 in four states — Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Punjab — due to agrarian reasons.
While some government relief is eagerly awaited, a group of samaritans have come together to help these farmers via crowd funding. "We can make useful interventions to improve their situation. For one, we procured 20 tonnes of redgram in Enabavi in Jangaon district in Telangana after prices crashed to Rs 40 a kg. We bought it for Rs 60-65, giving them significant relief. If we develop a workable model, people will emulate and scale this up to several villages," GV Ramanjaneyulu, Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture told BusinessLine.
The group will put the action plan first in Telangana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.
Suresh Ediga, an NRI IT professional in US – co-founder of i4Farmers – started the fund raising campaign on crowd funding platform Milaap.The fund is also planning to set up a call centre that will help clear doubts on farmer distress and the group’s initiative. Farmer suicide statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau show that indebtedness or bankruptcy as one the bigger reasons for suicides.