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Indian farmers and urban consumers have a common concern amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak — of food security. While farmers need money and resources to harvest their crops, consumers need to ensure the harvested crop reaches them for consumption.
This is precisely what a partnership between farmers and urban consumers in Telangana, christened ‘ConFarm’ (Consumer-Farmer Compact), has been doing for the last two years. The consumers support farmers with their agriculural needs; in return, farmers ensure consumers are able to access food in a hassle-free manner.
The partnership is the brainchild of Deccan Development Society (DDS) and Disha Collective — two community-level organisations based in Sangareddy and Hyderabad districts respectively.
The initiative kicked off in June 2018 and has been endeavouring to bring farmers and consumers on the same platform for their benefit.
What does the initiative do?
The initiative requires consumers to support farmers in the beginning of a farming season. Each consumer supports a group of farmers with about Rs 12,500 per acre for their farming needs.
In return, at the time of harvest, consumers are given products according to the value they invested, leaving the middlemen out. They are are provided with millets, pulses, oil, jaggery and other necessary items produced organically — either in bulk or on monthly basis.
The initiative also aims to give millets a push in the urban market, enabling consumers to move beyond the commonly consumed grains such as rice and wheat.
Over the last two years, over 60 quintals of food grains have been delivered to urban consumers, according to the organisers.
Under the intiative, farmers from state’s Pasthapur village sent their produce to more than 35 out of 120 partner consumers in Hyderabad on April 8 with permission from government authorities.
About four quintals of food grains including millets, flours, pulses, oilseeds, oil, jaggery, ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat products were delivered to consumers in Hyderabad. While some were home-delivered, others were distributed at common places convenient to consumers.
For the farmers, it meant that their hard labour did not gather dust in warehouses. For the consumers, the initiative was an assurance that their food security was intact.
According to DSN Raju, founder, Disha Collective, the organisation could successfully carry out delivery with a group of people — from women farmers in the village to young volunteers in the city.