By Diana Sahu | Published: 22nd July 2013 12:00 AM |
This 25-year-old has big dreams of bringing about a positive change in the lives of small and marginal farmers in north Odisha. To turn her dreams into reality, Supreety Mishra quit her job at Mail Communication Department of the UK Government and returned home.
The MBA grad of Cardiff University, UK, belongs to the seaside district of Balasore. She returned home in 2010 when her industrialist father Trailokya Mishra asked her to do something good for the State of Odisha than serve the UK Government. Supreety agreed and joined her father’s company, ECP Industries (manufacturer of LPG cylinders, LPG regulators and allied engineering goods) as director.
After a few months, she started North Odisha Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative Limited (NOFMCL) with the aim of uplifting the socio-economic status of farmers. NOFMCL works in the areas of animal husbandry, agriculture, horticulture, biofertilisers, plantations and protective cultivation, floriculture, organic farming, cold chain, biogas plants, micro-irrigation system and solar power solutions. “We strongly believe that agriculture, horticulture and animal husbandry are the future of our country,” she says. NOFMCL, which was set up as a CSR initiative of ECP Industries, is a conglomeration of farmers. “The project’s goal is to provide sustainable livelihood opportunities to small and marginal farmers in an integrated manner, with a view to augment their incomes through sustainable natural resource management and integrated dairy development,” says Supreety, who graduated in finance from FM University, Balasore, in 2008 and also has a diploma in corporate law.
One of Supreety’s successful projects under NOFMCL is ‘Go Vikash’. “Studies have shown that though India has the world’s highest cattle population, the head count of indigenous cattle is dwindling. Our goal is to promote dairy farming through indigenous cattle and provide sustainable livelihood opportunities to farmers through an integrated dairy farming model, which includes fodder cultivation, cattle feed supplement, biogas, biofertilisers and vermicompost production,” she says. “This will ultimately result in milk production, promotion of biogas as an alternative mode of energy as well as organic farming using dairy waste products.”
Supreety was inspired to begin Go Vikash after meeting cattle farmers during a workshop in Andhra Pradesh. “Farmers in Andhra are very scientific in their approach to cattle farming, which is why they make more money than their counterparts in Odisha. Here, cattle farmers lack scientific approach and proper knowledge about how to go about cattle farming, which we are trying to address,” she says, adding that just tying a cattle under a shed, giving it anything and everything to eat is not cattle farming. “Cattle have a specific diet, but we often come across stories where farmers feed them leftovers from weddings and other social functions. There are problems in the way farmers approach cattle farming here.”
NOFMCL provides bank linkage and training to farmers interested in adopting integrated dairy development under Go Vikash programme. The project also envisages high level of participation of rural women in dairy upkeep and management. “Currently, we are working on how to generate a sum of `5-10,000 per month with two to three cattle and engaging one woman from every rural household,” says Supreety, who has already trained more than 5,000 farmers on the integrated dairy farming model across several villages in north Odisha.
NOFMCL is planning to extend the Go Vikash programme to all parts of the State in a phased manner and Supreety has plans to help farmers establish individual dairy farms in Balasore and the neighbouring Bhadrak district. For that purpose, she is collaborating with NABARD and Directorate of Animal Husbandry, Government of Odisha. Go Vikash recently fetched her the Best Innovation award by the Department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of Odisha.