Marubeni India Private Limited has partnered with PRADAN to enable smallholder farmers market their produce overcoming regular hindrances of distance and inadequate market-knowledge through a project called ‘Mobility Support to Benefit Rural Communities of Jharkhand’. The project has been funded by Marubeni India Private Limited through Maruti Suzuki Foundation.
In Khunti district of the state of Jharkhand, PRADAN has facilitated formation of two Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) which help farmers access good quality farm inputs and better technology aids at a fair price at their door-step, irrigation schemes and links with distant markets for their cash crops. The big markets like Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bokaro, Kolkata, Patna, Rourkela etc. are located at distances which local farmers find insurmountable. Getting better remunerative prices for the crops produced therefore remains a distant dream for almost all marginal farmers of this region.
This project with Marubeni India’s support will enable the FPOs get their own goods-carriage to help farmers overcome this challenge, increasing their reach and profit margin. This step will be vital to ensure sustainability of the FPOs. Four goods vehicles provided in the project will help set up a system of time bound collection and sale of their produce, allowing farmers to focus on production rather than worrying about marketing. Also, Khunti being a remote district, communities here face extreme difficulties in commuting to nearby towns to get all kind of essential services, or to send their children to school, or to reach hospitals during an emergency. As buses rarely ply in these areas, people usually walk to nearby towns or hire private vehicles which charge high fares. In the given context, two passenger vehicles provided in the project will help the rural communities get all the above-mentioned services in a timely manner and at a fair price.
Along with the provision of vehicles, the project will aid in managing mobility services including operations, staff and driver training, service improvement, marketing and awareness activities. The grant from Marubeni India’s CSR initiative shall support the FPOs in bearing the initial running and maintenance expenses and sustaining the initiative till the time it becomes self-sustainable.