Rotary reaches out to farmers

If you think farming is an easy job, you should spend an entire day at the farm with a pitch fork and shovel,” says Suren Poruri, President of RC Secunderabad West, D 3150. In association with the Grameenmall Foundation, the club recently spent an entire day at Jaidupally village, located 70 km from Hyderabad and conducted a Gramotsavam. Aimed at improving the economic security of farmers, especially women, the utsav focused on lessons in increasing productivity, access to farming inputs from the regional agricultural institutions and market information for the villages adopted by the club.

DG J Abraham (second from L) and other Rotarians examine the crops in a field.
DG J Abraham (second from L) and other Rotarians examine the crops in a field.

Jaidupally village, located in a beautiful valley surrounding the Anathagiri Hills, woke up to a day of learning and fun as 500 farmers gathered to “train, share experiences and were guided through activities to gather information and make informed decisions in their farming practices.” While spending time at the farm was a refreshing experience for the club members, they also got an insight into various difficulties in a farmer’s life. Lakshmi, a sunflower cultivator, points out, “Access to financial support and markets are major challenges for us. Add to this, lack of information on weather conditions and pricing. We rely only on traditional methods of farming and have limited technical information.”

Project Coordinator Sitaraman says, “What started as a Rotary check dam project in 2013 to improve groundwater level and provide irrigation facilities in the village has now grown into a bond that is helping farmers in this region to develop community sustainable agriculture — a production system that sustains the health of the soil, eco- system, food and nutritional security of the rural people.” Through the Farmer Support model set up by the club and Grameenmall Foundation, the club helps the farmers get fast-track solutions to their problems and link them with the market to get better prices.

What started as a Rotary check dam project in 2013 has now grown into a bond that is helping farmers in this region to develop community sustainable agriculture.
– Sitaraman, Project Coordinator

Agro-based institutions such as the Agriculture University, Hyderabad, Indian Institute of Millet Research, Indian Institute of Oil Research and Agriculture Research Station, Tandur, had stalls at the venue to interact with the farmers on various farming practices, cultivation methods and marketing techniques. Farmers were urged to stop using fertilisers/pesticides for cultivation and move into organic/natural farming. “This would have a major ecological impact, save the soil, financially benefit the farmer in the long run and consumers will get natural and chemical-free food,” said Sitaraman.

Close to 12 companies who will be directly procuring products from the farmers also attended the event.

A cricket tournament between four teams from four different villages, hosted by the club, provided entertainment, and the club members got a taste of authentic village food.

DG J Abraham presents an MoU to the District Collector Syed Omar Jaleel in the presence of the villagers.
DG J Abraham presents an MoU to the District Collector Syed Omar Jaleel in the presence of the villagers.

DG J Abraham handed over an MOU to District Collector Syed Omar Jaleel for setting up a safe drinking water plant with a capacity of 500 litres an hour in the village. The District Collector appreciated the club’s efforts to support farmers and assured support to take the project forward.

 

Other Projects

Club President Poruri listed out the other projects of the club that included providing bicycles to 160 girl students at a cost of ₹7 lakh and transforming 13 Kasturbha Gandhi Balika Vidyalas into Happy schools at a cost of ₹50 lakh.

Under a global grant with RC Visakha Port City and international partner RC Naperville, D 6450, USA, the club provided cancer diagnostic and detection equipment to Homi Bhaba Cancer Research and Hospital, Visakhapatnam. The club plans to set up 295 RO water plants across the district at an estimated cost of ₹1.2 crore. So far 45 such plants have been set up.

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