Promoting organic farming as
SUICIDE FREE FARMING MISSION
In Maharashtra State, India.
A proposal by Maharashtra Organic Farming Federation (MOFF)
1st March 2006
MOFF, 9, Sunrise Apartment,
Senapati Bapat Road, near Chatushringi Temple,
Pune, 411 016.
Telefax: +91-20- 2565 9090.
0. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The project seeks to reduce the rate of farmer‟s suicides by over 50% in its 1 year course.
The self-sustaining activities of crop diversification, processing, marketing & counseling
initiated in the project expected to reduce it to zero in the second year.
The project plans to focus on 6 worst-suicide hit districts in western Vidarbha region of
the Maharashtra state, the region accounted for over 70% of the 1044 suicides in the past
5 years in the state. The co-sponsors would permit its extension to other regions in the
order of Marathwada (central), North Maharashtra & Konkan regions, also at risk today.
The project seeks to initiate 600 farm schools & 600 trainers (10 per taluka, and 10
talukas per district on average) to cover 6,000 villages in the region. Each trainer will
train at least 10 vulnerable farmers per every 2 panchayats (village council generally
comprising of 5 villages). At least 10 farmer trained per village will indicate 1,000 per
Taluka and 10,000 per district. The 6 districts in the region would host 60,000 farmers,
managing about 60,000 ha of land. At least 10% of these would be fully organic kind &
active volunteers from the second year.
These 60,000 farmers will learn, practise & spread the organic farming as low or no cost
method known as Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture (LEISA). Mixed crops
with local market demand, can provide with 3-4 times higher economic returns than the
loss-prone cotton. For these 60,000 farmers, the farm input cost would have reduced by
half or more, i.e. from Rs. 7,000/per ha/yr at present to about Rs. 3,000/per ha/yr for
cotton or other cash crops. The total savings would thus exceed Rs. 240 million. LEISA
may enhance the yield by 25% or more, as loss to the pest & diseases will be minimized
& soil would become more productive.
The 10 trainers and few more interested & capable persons will be registered as Taluka
farmer‟s Association (TFA). TFA will be trained to establish Community Facility Centre
(CFC) with machinery & training for processing (powdering, drying, grading, testing,
packing, labeling etc.). TFA will be trained to market these products with local retailers
& wholesalers. Processed cotton, oilseeds, pulses or spices, eggs, milk, products, meat
etc. when marketed collectively through professional staff can earn them 3-4 times more.
Even if the 60,000 farmers cultivate 50% their land under these mixed crops, which will
earn them as much or more than the cotton (as no loss to pest), they could earn Rs.
20,000/- or more per ha (double the present income) of which Rs. 17,000/- could be
profit. With Rs. 7,000/- per ha additional income, the benefit could be Rs. 420 million.
The TFA will reach out to about 10 suicide affected families and 100 vulnerable ones per
Taluka to counsel them. At least 50% of these may succeed in obta ining easy loans with
6% interest rates as anno8unced by the government, insurance cover, ancillary IGP,
education or other social support. The numbers would be 60 times in the region that
comprises 6 districts and 60 Taluka, due to excellent outreach provided by MOFF. Thus,
the number of suicides could reduce to below 200 (50%) in a year and 0 by 2008.
Maharashtra is a leading state in India with high human development index and
economic prosperity. However, its prosperity is blurred by the increasing number of
farmers suicides during the last few years. About 300-400 suicides happen yearly and
70% of these occur in 6 districts of Vidarbha- Amaravati (20%), Yavatmal (20%),
Buldhana (10%), Akola (8%), Wardha (6%) and Washim (5%). High industrial and
urban i.e. service sector development in the last few decades has stifled cash flow to the
agricultural sector, making it unavailable. This has lead to in-depth and exodus of farmers
from farming to cities, including the slums. The job reduction caused by mechanizing
farm operation is also responsible for emigration.
Increasing urbanization and industrialization has caused high water and climatic
pollution and depletion, threatening the sustainability of the society. Further, about it is
proposed here to conduct mass awareness campaign organic farming as a low cost,
multiple option method to raise income, generate local employment and reduce
indebtedness. This may reduce both emigration and suicides.
II. THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM:-
2.1 Farming losses:- In Vidarbha, many farmers have about 1 ha landholding and the
input costs have risen to Rs. 6,500/- per ha, consisting of seed cost of Rs. 2,000/-
for BT-cotton seeds & Rs. 1,000/- for other seeds; Rs. 1,500/- for chemical
fertilizers and Rs. 2,500/- towards 2-3 chemical pesticide sprays. The yield is
hardly 6 quintal/ ha, fetching the income of Rs. 10,000/- at the rate of Rs. 2,000/-
in the government procurement, after a few months. However, it could reduce to
Rs. 8,000/- if the farmers are compelled for “distress sell” to the open market
traders, for quick loan repayment or family consumption needs. The profit of Rs.
1,500/- to Rs. 3,500/- per ha (which is the average landholding) is insufficient to
meet even the rising cost of family food security and healthcare.
The BT (Bacillus thuringensis) variety of cotton with 4 times the seed cost (Rs.
1,600/- per 450 gm) than others, also failed to resist pest unlike advertisements,
either due to poor or rainfall or as farmers left no “refuge” of non-BT-crop pocket
for pest attraction. Thus, this hi-cost, hi-tech biotechnology proved futile.
2.2 Market insecurity:- Besides the growing the market access is now insecure due to
late procurement by the government at fair price. The price has declined in the
last few years due to global production exceeding the demand, thus crowding the
profits. This compels the farmers to undertake „distress sell‟ soon after the
production, to private traders at throw away rates, as farmers have no capacity to
store, Delayed marketing after a few months could be beneficial, when the supply
is lower than the demand and the prices rise. Local processing is largely absent as
cotton mills are mostly located in faraway Mumbai and Solapur cities.
2.3 Social stress:- On the social front, increasing cost of living due to rising food,
medicine and other expenses. This causes indebtedness due to simple
consumption loans for commodities. The marriage or incidental social expenses
multiply the indebtedness. There is little communication between the parents and
the children due to emigration or television or increasing pre occupations. Social
communication is reducing too, with folk songs, dance, drama etc having almost
stopped. This leads to lack of creativity, isolation and station, finally lead ing to
suicidal tendencies. The benefits of insurance (crop, animal and human) or 1000
interest loans have reached very few people. Even the bank and cooperative
society loans are as worse as those from the registered private moneylenders.
III. CURATIVE STRATEGY :
3.1 Low cost, safe farming- The problem of rising farming cost needs to be addressed
by reducing the dependence on inputs bought from the market, whether chemical
or organic. This can be done by producing the organic inputs from the farm plants ,
animals and microbes. The farm trees and inter crops can provide the carbon and
nitrogen rich manure, while raising local indigenous cow, goat or hens can provide
phosphorus rich dung inputs. This is termed as Low External Input Sustainable
Agriculture (LEISA) approach.
Even if livestock could not be maintained on the farm due to small size etc., the
cost of the main fertilizer is hardly Rs. 500/- per ha per season. For, the soil tonic
named as “Amrut Pani” is prepared form 50 Kg cow dung that costs Rs. 25/-, 50
liter cow urine that costs Rs. 100/- & 5 kg Jaggery that costs Rs. 50/-. This tonic is
applied thrice in the 4-6 months of cropping season. It makes the crops healthy &
resistant to pests or diseases. The pest control though spray of 5 kg of Neem or
Tobacco or Negundo or Lantana or Milkweed tree leaves boiled in 100 liter water.
Spraying 2-3 times costs nothing but saves the crop.
In case animal inputs are unavailable or to improve their effect further,
biotechnology can help. Buying the microbial culture (named as “froth”) from the
laboratory rather than the market purchased microbial products can reduce 70% of
the cost (From Rs. 150-250/- per liter to Rs. 50-100/-). The total cost in this
culture-based approach is Rs. 1,000/- per ha (for the 3-4 spray of 4-5 cultures in 1-
2 liters each) in total, for both crop nutrition and protection. Promoting such low-
cost, low-end biotechnology could be preferable than the high-cost, high-end
application viz. the BT-Cotton is tried for the last 2-3 years but failed to grow
either due to the drought or could not withstand the pest attack.
These approaches are low cost than the hi-tech, hi-cost organic farming adopted by
cash crop farmers such as those growing sugarcane, Arecanut etc. who buy 10-20 t
of cow dung or 5-8 t vermi-compost per ha that costs Rs. 15,000-40,000/- and
market-purchased bio-control agents that could cost another Rs. 10,000/-. Since
they earn above Rs. 50,000/- to 100,000/- income per ha, they can afford it, but not
the remaining 99% of the farmers, 80% of which are small land holders (< 2 ha).
The yield in the organic farming method may reduce initially, but it yields despite
pest attack or drought. Hence, there is no loss even if the organic products fetch the
same price. Further, due to lower cost, profit is higher than the chemical farming.
As the quality is better, sometimes 10-20% more price may be available. Crop
rotation can make soil healthy and the pest risk is also minimized by mix-cropping,
inter-cropping, trap cropping etc.
3.2 Market stability:- The problem of market insecurity needs to be tackled by crop
diversification. Pulses (Green and black gram), spices (ginger, Turmeric,
fenugreek) oilseeds (sunflower, sesame, custard) have high demand and price in
local markets. Growth of the food crops can save the family expenses on buying
food as of today. Market crash risk is also minimized by farm product
diversification. Animal husbandry can not only save the expenses on the precious
farm inputs but also rise income from sell of milk products, eggs, meat etc, income
can raise from post harvest management such as grading storage, collective
marketing, semi processing value addition etc.
3.3 Social safety net:- The social isolation problem needs building social support
system i.e. counseling, cultural programmes, linking the farmers to the easy loan,
insurance schemes etc.
IV. ACTIVITIES PROPOSED
4.1) Organization:- MOFF district coordinators (MDC) will constitute a team of 10
volunteers who will comprise the MOFF district team (DT) of district trainers (DT).
MDT will identify coordinators for about 10 talukas that exist per district on
average. These Taluka coordinators (TC) will identify 10-12 taluka trainers (TT) and
will together constitute MOFF Taluka Team (MTT). Each TT will be chosen so as
to represent 1-2 panchayats or local markets, as these both number about 10-12 per
Taluka. TT will train 1-2 farmer per village in the farm school. They will together
constitute a Taluka Farmer‟s Association (TFA) before the harvest.
Table 1:- Organic farming methodology as a tool to reduce farming drudgery
PROBLEM CONSTRAINS STRATEGY
High production cost Organic Farming
High Cost High expenses Farm gate price exchange,
food crop cultivation
High supply, low rates Crop diversification,
storage and delayed
Low Returns marketing
Loss to pests Thanking crop healthy
through bio fertilizer, bio
Low Income No ancillary incomes Animal husbandry, value
4.2) Low cost farming training:- The farming will be made viable by promoting LEISA
techniques. This term popularized by the European and southern Indian
collaborators. It insists not on killing the pests but repelling or avoiding it by making
the soil and crop more healthy, as the pests and diseases mainly attack or predate on
the weak plants. Healthy crops are resistant, less susceptible to pests and diseases.
Besides, mixed cropping, trap crops etc. resist or divert the pest attack. Finally, the
pest is contained also by spraying butter milk (20 liter) or mixture of garlic (2 kg),
chili (2 kg), Tobacco (2 kg) or Neem leaf (15 kg) extract mixed in 200 liter water.
For maintaining soil nutrition, “Jeevamrut” solution is sprayed or supplied through
watering. It consists of cow dung (200 kg)/ cow urine (200 liter) / jaggery (20 kg)
mixed in 200 liter water & fermented for 4 days with 2 time stirring daily. LEISA
approach meets the food needs of the farm families first and later grows marketable
crops on remaining land for the cash needs towards education, social purposes etc.
4.3) Market security:- Growing more food crops and animals will reduce the family
expenses on food and tap the local market, oilseeds and pulses at price comparable
cotton. Farmers shy from cultivating these to avoid the post harvest processing
efforts, an area they are unfamiliar with and thus feel risky or disinterested.
TFA will buy the produce from 1 farmer per village i.e. 75-100 farmers per Taluka.
TFA members will be trained in simple methods of micro processing and provided
minimal processing facilities at the Taluka Level Community Facility Centre (CFC).
The Taluka level team of MOFF volunteers will provide the Business Development
Services (BDS) at cost to the farmers, to help them in value addition and marketing.
TFA will be trained into domestic or CFC level. De-husking, grading, packing,
labeling of pulses or crushing of oil, its packing, labeling 10-12 farmers group per
Taluka prefer by representing different pahchayats and having outreach to all the
TFA will market its products in the Taluka or district markets such as packed pulse
or oil or eggs and meat, milk products such as butter etc. These products will be
supplied to the TFA members at the farm- gate price first and the balance will be
sold in towns and cities located away. MOFF Taluka Team (TT) will arrange for the
transport and secure orders from the wholesalers or retailers.
Each of the 600 trainees in 60 talukas in the Ist year will train 10 trainees in year IInd
from the neighboring 5-6 village that broadly constitute a panchayat. While Taluka
cell and district cell of MOFF will process and market the farm produce in the first
year, with help of TTs, TTs will register a farmer association in the year 2 to carry
out these operations. Profits will be retained as „Revolving Funds‟, for further
maintenance and development activities.
4.4) Social support- MTT will also provide counseling support to the families affected by
suicides, to recover from the damage. It will also help them to develop alternative
income generation programmes (IGP) such as tailoring, crafts, trading etc. TFA will
also identity the vulnerable families and provide, counseling and advice to them to
prevent further suicides. MTT will provide psychotherapy and BDS.
TFA will publicize its activities by through mobile exhibitions, posters pasted on the
Taluka panchayat office, bus stand, railway station etc. This will make farmers in all
the villages aware of the MOFF support system and the needy can approach TFA.
Each district coordinator of MOFF will assist the TC in getting market access, bank
loan, insurance, media support etc to reach TFA about 10 TFA to be formed per
districts will be federated into district farmers association (DFA).
V. LOG FRAME
Table 2- Logical framework of the proposal
OBJECTIVE OUTPUT NOCATON VERFICATION MEANS
To establish 6 district coordinators, District and Lists of coordinators and
farmers 60 taluka coordinators Taluka office trainees and 6 training
association and 600 trainers reports programmers/Taluka/year
To reduce 600 trainers and upto Farming cost Farmers interviews, farm
farming costs 60,000 farmers adopt reduced form Rs. inspection
by half or organic, low cost 7,500 to below Rs.
more method 3,000 per ha
To reduce Yield above average, 3 quintal/ha/yr or Farmers interviews, farm
crop failure or not below more yield inspection
To reduce Raise grains, pulses, Production of Family expenses statement
family food vegetables, milk, eggs, these commodities at the beginning and end
expenses meat for TFA locally to suffice TFA
To raise Oil seeds, Pulses, Farmer income Training programme
family income Spices families, cow, data entry and exit reports, farmers interview,
by other goat, hen promoted by time farm inspection, list of
IGP,VA TFAs beneficiaries
To develop Counseling, easy loans List of victim/ Training programme
socials support insurances IGP, vulnerable family reports, farmers interview,
system education support by support needed farm inspection, list of
TFAs visa provided beneficiaries
VI. OUTPUTS AND BENFITS EXPECTED
5.1) The first of the foremost output will be the 10 trainer per Taluka i.e. 1 per each
village panchayat in a Taluka. This implies 100 trainers per district and 600 per
region that comprises 6 districts. Each trainer will be assigned responsibility to train
10 farmers in a panchayat that usually comprises 5 villages. These 2 farmers trained
per village will imply 1000 per Taluka and 10,000 per district. The 6 districts in the
region would imply 60,000 farmers. Theses will serves as mouthpieces of organic
farming. As majority of the farmers own 1-2 ha of lands. Even if half of them
practice the LEISA techniques, 60,000 ha of chemical land under cotton will turn
organic at least partly, that too with food crops, including the hi-price ones. For
these 60,000 farmers, the farm input cost would have reduced by half or more, i.e.
from Rs. 7,000/per ha/yr at present to about Rs. 3,000/per ha/yr for cotton and
similarly for other crops. The total savings would thus exceed Rs. 240 million.
Each TFA will be responsible to produce at least 10 times this quantity so as to
suffice its own members (10). Additionally, it will try to spread the technique to its
100 trainees MTC will seek assistance of MDC to get the necessary inputs from
other MOFF districts, in case of shortage e.g. organic jaggery, chilly or garlic or
tobacco can be procured from local markets.
This LEISA technique would not reduce but in fact, enhance the yield by a quarter
or more. For, the loss to the pests will be minimized. Soil would be more productive
with insects and microbes enriching it again due to avoidance of chemicals.
5.2) The value addition component may lead to at least 10 farmers per Taluka pooling
their cotton, oilseeds, pulses or spices, eggs, milk, products, meat etc together in the
Taluka CFC and storing, processing and marketing it collectively. This may earn
them at least twice the income than the sell of raw material as of today. Even if half
of their 100 trainers per Taluka adopt this approach, they can easily send their bulk
produce in truck to urban wholesale or retail agents identified by DC of MOFF.
Thus, 60 of Taluka level CFC for value added products marketing would be seen. If
the pulses, oilseeds of spices that are priced similar to cotton are processed and sold
locally, it may earn 2-4 times to the farmers. Even if the 60,000 farmers cultivate
half their land under these mixed crops, which will earn them as much or more than
the cotton (as no loss to pest), they could earn Rs. 20,000/- or more per ha (double
the present income) of which Rs. 17,000/- could be profit. As Rs. 7,000/- per ha is
the additional income due to CFC, the benefit could be Rs. 420 million.
5.3) The TFA will reach out to about 10 suicide affected families and 100 vulnerable
ones per Taluka to counsel them. At least 50% of these may succeed in obtaining
easy loans with 6% interest rates as anno8unced by the government, insurance
cover, ancillary IGP, education or other social support. The numbers would be 60
times in the region that comprises 6 districts and 60 Taluka, due to excellent
outreach provided by MOFF. Thus, the number of suicides could reduce to below
200 in a year and 0 in the next year.
The work will be spread across 4 terms of 6 months each i.e. 24 months. The community
organisation will be built first, farm training will be provided later and processing at last.
Sr. ACTIVITY Quarter I (April- Quarter II Quarter III Quarter IV
No. June „06) (July-Sept (Oct- Dec „06) (Jan- Mar „07)
1 Establishing 6 DC, 60 TC 600 TT 60 TFA s -
TFA, TC, DC, formed formed
2 Training in 600 trainers - 60,000 -
farming conduct 3,600 trainees in
trainings 6,000 villages
3 Training in - 600 trainers - 60,000
semi processing & 3,600 trainees in
trainings 6,000 villages
4 Establishing 6 MDC - 60 TC -
5 Developing 600 counselors 60 TC form 600 TT trained Suicides
BDS survey markets market plan halved
6 Harvest, - 60 TC, 6 DC 60 TC, 6 DC 60 TFA begin
processing, impart conduct business
marketing training business
8 Social Support Support to Counseling to Linkage to Suicide rate
victims vulnerable schemes, reduced to half
9 Evaluation and - Review Yr 1, - Review phase
planning plan for Yr 2 1, plan future
Note :- R/DC- Regional/ District Cell/ Coordinator, TC – Taluka Cell/ coordinator, TT –
Taluka Trainer/ team, TFA – Taluka Farmer Association, RT- Review team
VIII. RISK ANALYSIS
Table 3- Possible impediments & mitigating strategies
ASSUMPTION RISK CAUTION
Farmers will believe in the Farmers may not switch Conduct training on
training & adopt LEISA over to LEISA established LEISA farms
Market demand will exist Market may crash due to To value add locally and
for oilseeds, pulses, spices many local farmers or market the surplus produce
imports in towns/ cities away
Farmers can manage Drought, heat, cold or These low cost options will
alternative crops, livestock epidemic may reduce yield not indebt the farmers more
Local processing or Local mills or travel agents Get processing done in
transport will be easy and will be over-occupied or farther city/ town, even at
cheap costly no profit
Suicides will reduce due to Huge debts that may still Attempt at least half the
alternative income remain will force suicides suicide reduction in 1 year
Farmers will repay advance, Farmers disinterested in MDT & TC professional
conduct processing, starting new activities or staff will run CFC in yr I,
marketing effectively fail to get quality or market before handing to TFA
Sr. A) Activity B) Item C) Unit D) Unit Total Cost (D x
No. Cost/ Cost/ No. of Taluka/
month year Districts) Rs.
1 Taluka (60) training Material cost- cow 1,500 9,000 3,780,000
farmers (100 each)- dung, cow urine,
10 sites, 10 farmers jaggery etc., travel,
each, 3 times in 6 place rent, 600 trainers
months honorarium etc.*
2 Books, Posters, Hand Printing 160 12,000 720,000
3 Value Addition Packing, grinding 1,000 6,000 300,000
4 CFC rent, stationary, Stationary, phone bill, 1,000 12,000 720,000
phone bill, transport travel cost
A PROGRAMME 5,520,000
5 Taluka coordinators Honorarium, Travel 3,000 36,000 2,160,000
6 District Coordinator Honorarium, Travel 9,000 108,000 648,000
7 Regional Coordinator Honorarium, Travel 12,000 144,000 144,000
B OFFICE 2,952,000
TOTAL (A+B) 8,472,000
* For 6 months only (pre-monsoon: April-May-June; late- monsoon: Sept-Oct-Nov).
Total Rs. 8,472,000 /- (Rs. 8.472 million).
The capital expenses will be saved by using existing infrastructure such as own houses,
phones , rented vehicles or public transport etc. Focus will been their own travel cost for
the training programmes. The costs have also been saved by optimizing working time.
The profits ploughed back as revolving funds could support TFA further, and TC &
MDC would earn their expenses from providing consultancy to TFAs.
X. PROJECT MANAGEMENT:
MOFF will coordinate with several NGOs, farmers‟ groups & Government offices in
implementing the project to set a unique example of collaboration.
The Project will be managed at each Taluka by a steering committee comprising of the
(A) respected farmers (5) representing small, medium and large landholding
sections that adopt LEISA method
(B) representatives (3) of the women self help groups (SHG) that adopt activity such
as livestock or agro-processing,
(c) the taluka Krishi adhikari- 1 (block level farming officer of the government)
(d) taluka pachayat representative (1)
(e) local bank representative - 1
(f) local industries development corporation representative - 1
(g) veterinary physician/government officer- 1
(h) NGO representative other than MOFF - 1.
The committee will be chaired by the Taluka Panchayat President, who will be the 12th
member. The Taluka coordinator of the project will be the convener and the 13 th
member, responsible for compiling the monthly progress report, presenting it to the
committee, monthly their advice for improvements in future, and implementing those
accordingly. The Taluka Steering committee (TSC) meeting will be conve ned at least
once a month, and more times if 3 or more members suggest so. The convener will
submit the quarterly financial report and proposed cash flow to the TSC and get their
information and any modifications.
The District Steering Committee (DSC) will be similarly constituted and convened by the
District Coordinator, who will serve similar to the taluka coordinator. It operations will
be similar in functioning. The State Steering Committee (SSC) will be similarly
constituted but the agricultural department will be represented by a director level
authority nominated by a state government. The bank representative will be nominated by
NABARD (National Agricultural Bank for Rural Development).
In the first quarter, the DC will release the money to the TT for the groundwork in
anticipation. From second quarter onwards, the DC shall release the money to TT on a
quarterly basis, based on the progress report, expenses statement and recommendations of
the TSC, that TC shall submit along with the quarterly meeting report. MOFF will
release money to the ADT based on their quarterly reports, advance cash flow estimate
and minutes of the DSC meeting including its recommendations. MOFF will get the 6
months budget advance as per the review report and recommendations of the SSC that
will meet once in six months, converted by the project director (PD).
The Taluka expenses will be audited annually and a utilization certificate authorized by a
Chartered accountant shall be submitted to the DT each semester. Similarly, the District
and state accounts will be audited annually but auditor‟s utilization certificate shall be
obtained each after 6 months.
An independent review team (RT) comprising of above stakeholder institutions shall be
asked to conduct the monitoring & evaluation of the project progress and suggest
improvements every 6 months by MOFF or the government.
Maharashtra Organic Farming Federation (MOFF) is active since August, 2003 and now
has 3,000 members from 92 farming elated groups, spread to across all the 35 districts.
MOFF is promoting Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture (LEISA) methods that
rely on farm based animal and/ or plant products for the use as fertilizers and pest
repellants, which saves the cost of market purchased chemicals. LEISA is a term
promoted by the European & south Indian farming groups.
At their own expenses, MOFF volunteers conduct 175 farm schools i.e. about 1 per 2
talukas (that comprise about 90 villages each), amongst 355 talukas in the 35 districts of
the state. MOFF has thus trained thousands of farmers in low cost and sustainable
methods, with low risk, stable and high quality output, with occasionally higher price.
On the marketing front, MOFF has opened 2 retail shops in the Pune city, which is its
head quarters. MOFF also educates customers about the importance of organic food for
good health and delicious cuisines.
MOFF members such as the Gandhi Shetkari (farmer) Sa ngh (group) in the Wardha city
are pioneering the LEISA technique as well as biotechnology package. They have also
opened a shop and their produce is over-booked by their friends and relatives, even
before sowing. For, quality is liked by till their consumers. This model, facilitated by the
Government agricultural officers, can be extends to other districts, wherein the Wardha
group members can serve as trainers.
MOFF farmers need financial support as proposed here to upscale their present efforts to
about 200 times so as to reach about 6 million cotton farmers.
The suicides that were confined to Vidarbha i.e. eastern Maharashtra are today gradually
spreading to western Maharashtra. Only cotton farmers were on suicide till recently and
whether in Andhra Pradesh or Karnataka. But now even others such as onion farmers
have joined them. Similar incidents are now reported from the Western Ghats hilly
region, which is famous for spice and other horticultural cash crops such as beetle nut,
whose declining exports have made the growers. Punjab state, the feedstock of the
country is beset with farmers suicides even those cultivating food grains. Thus, the
strategy of mixed cropping for local market, using local, cheap inputs would be relevant
in other states and for other crops also, in the next phase, with other collaborators.