Transforming the lives of marginal farmers

Club members with DG Nihir Dave at the inauguration of the tractor service.

In a village near Chikhli, situated 28km from Valsad, Gujarat, Kantilal, a marginal farmer with three acres of land was struggling to make ends meet. Limited financial resources meant he could only plough his field to a minimal extent, resulting in low agricultural productivity and yield. Thanks to Project Kisaan, an initiative by RC Chikhli River Front, RID 3060, Kantilal’s fortune is beginning to change.

Project Kisaan, a permanent service initiative of the club, was launched in Nov 2021 with the purchase of a tractor costing ₹7 lakh, raised through member contributions. “This high-end tractor can perform the ­toughest ­farming operations with ease,” explains club president Mehul Patel. A committee of five members, headed by club secretary Nikunj Patel, oversees the operation of lending out this tractor to struggling farmers. “Farmers with less than three acres of land have to fill out a simple form to schedule the tractor service. The tractor belongs to the club, but the farmers can use it for a day,” he adds.

Currently the project is benefiting around 200 farmers like Kantilal, offering them free tractor service. The service includes ploughing, rotoring etc, specifically targeting the small and marginal farmers. The average daily cost of this service comes to ₹4,200 which is covered by a rotating sponsorship system involving 20 donors, including club members, their ­family members and friends. This model ensures a sustainable and manageable contribution process, enabling ­continuous support for the farmers, says Patel.

A farmer and his family with the tractor.

Before Project Kisaan, “I could only afford limited ploughing, which affected my crop yield. Now, with this free service, my yield has improved, as the soil is well-aerated and ready for planting, thanks to the tractor,” says Kantilal, who has planted groundnut, green peas and beans on his recently ploughed land. “The tractor service helps break down the soil, mix organic material, and create a suitable seedbed, thus improving soil structure and fertility. As a result, fields are better prepared for sowing, leading to higher seed germination rates and improved plant growth,” adds Patel.

The financial relief provided by this initiative, says Patel, is substantial. Because renting a tractor and other necessary equipment is not affordable for these marginal farmers. The money saved by them is used for seeds, fertilisers, and to meet other family expenses. The project’s donor system covers fuel expenses, ensuring they do not have to worry about the operational costs.

Kantilal, is happy he can plant and harvest his crops in a more planned, orderly and sustainable manner.

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