Nita Ambani has always dreamed of empowering farmers who struggle to sell their crops. Therefore, Reliance Foundation (RF), her philanthropic non-governmental venture, wants to turn these helpless farmers into rural entrepreneurs who can make a change in their business through innovative practices. So that they do not have to depend on anybody and can become the writers of their destiny. The RF team aimed to teach the farmers to come together and open a united company, from which operating business and earning profits wouldn’t be as difficult as it was when they individually handled it.
The Struggle of Farmers of Jamai in Madhya Pradesh
The villagers of Jamai dream of good rainfall, bountiful harvest, and a healthy and happy family. The villages are traditionally agrarian and therefore the farmers have a problem of assured production as well as of fetching a right price for the produce in the market. The problem was of selling produce in outside markets, since for a proper market-yard these farmers had to travel around 67 km to Chindwara. They could not carry large volumes of their produce to other city due to transportation barriers.
Lack of volumes weakened their power to negotiate a right price for their product. They started selling their produce to traders who visited their village and that too at trader’s price, without any negotiation. In village meetings, the farmers discussed and realized that their production had increased but not its value. Increase in production did not help complete the road to prosperity.
The Formation of Satpura Producers Company
Nita Ambani and her team at Reliance Foundation explained the concept of Producer Company (PC) to the villagers. Producer Company refers to aggregating everybody’s produce and marketing it collectively in order to help the community.
Farmers wanted to sell their produce at profitable rate and in order to achieve it, the only way was to come together and unite themselves .The farmers were quite motivated, and initiated the process of forming a PC. With a shared capital of over INR 8 Lakhs, Satpura Producers Company was formed.
In the villages of Jamai, farmers used to source hybrid maize seeds from the market. The farmers, who had now became the entrepreneurs, thought of procuring the seeds from their company and provide it to their farmers at a lower price. In this way they started the activity of providing inputs like fertilizer and seeds. The entrepreneurs achieved great success in their very first deal. With this, the entrepreneurs planned to diversify their operations.
Diversification in Poultry Farming
There were few women entrepreneurs in the Satpura Producers Company of Jamai, who knew that there was a huge profit in the poultry business and it would be a right field to diversify in. With the help from Mrs. Ambani and her team, they raised 400 chicks, resulting in a profit of INR 4000 per woman. One of them was Rajkumari – she and her other parters had now realized their dream of doing business on their own terms. But in order to sustain, it was necessary that the people owned the institution and felt accountable to it.
Nita Ambani and the RF team together have thus inculcated the habit of self-reliance within the community. They changed their mindset and made them independent, so that their company Satpura Producers does not stop functioning. The perseverance of the villagers of Jamai has paid off, Satpura Producers Company has stood up like a tree with firm roots and diversified branches.