Farm to Plate: The unique journey of a farmer

A progressive farmer in Chitradurga is promoting value-added production and direct marketing among the community so that they can earn more profits

Published: 26th August 2018 02:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th August 2018 02:31 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHITRADURGA: What do you do when you are in a jam because you have grown more gooseberries than you can sell? Make jam of course and sell it. That is what a progressive farmer from Echaghatta village is doing, Empowerment of the farmers takes place if they start value addition at their farm itself. However, some farmers have not taken this statement seriously and are selling their farm produce to middlemen.

But Siddaveerappa believes in the ‘Farm to Plate’ concept. He has realised that direct marketing and value-added products are two of the best strategies farmers can employ as this offers them the potential to capture a larger share of the food pie. This not only has made him self-reliant but also boosted his confidence to take up the marketing challenges.

Organic products made from gooseberries

Siddaveerappa,  who thought of converting the raw materials grown in his farm into finished products, started with making juice, jam, Chyawanprash, lehya, supari and chocolate (candy)  from the gooseberries grown in his farm. Most importantly,  he has not used any mechanical device nor chemical preservatives. He has about 30 gooseberry plants that yield twice a year, The finished products are made naturally using gooseberry, jaggery, cardamom, black pepper and raisins. As a preservative, lime juice is used so that the shelf life of the product increases.

Initially, people were reluctant, but now majority come to his residence to purchase as they are organic in nature.  The products are also available in Chitradurga, Davangere, Shivamogga, Honnnali, Bengaluru and at various agricultural melas organised by the government.  He plans to set up an outlet just outside his farm.

Siddaveerappa is not only producing the finished products on his own but also encouraging the farmers in the region to take up value-added production so that they can earn good profit. He says, ‘Previously I used to sell the agricultural produce like gooseberries directly to the sellers, who paid me very less while they earned more.This pushed  me into loss and  made me think of taking up value addition for my produce, resulting in these five products, which are fast  moving.” “Initially, people were reluctant.  However, after convincing a select set of customers, the path is now smooth.”

Explaining why gooseberry was selected for making the finished product, he says many people don’t directly consume the fruit, but like value addition to it. Another important factor is that it contains vitamins that can fight malnutrition, the biggest menace of the region.

He is also involved in motivating the farmers to grow various millets like Fox Tail, Little, Kodo, Barnyard, Brown Top and Prosco which can grow in extreme conditions like little rainfall and also hot climate.  To support such farmers, along with a group of like-minded people,  he started Chitradurga-Davangere District Regional Co-operative Organic Farmers Federation through which the millets grown in the region are procured at a higher price from the doorsteps of the farmers , converted into semi-finished products and sold in open market.

The federation includes 31 farmers societies and 3,000 farmer- members. Its aim is to ensure that the producers earn more profit and weed out the menace of the middlemen. The federation which had a turnover of `40 lakh in the first year, increased the turnover to `2 crore last year/ This year it aims at `5 crore.

Tie-ups helped us reach pan India

Tie-up with prestigious marketing channels like organic shops, Big Basket nd Mahindra has helped us reach across the country and sell our produce in our brand name ‘Desi Millets’, according to Krupa, president of  Chitradurga-Davangere District Regional Co-operative Organic Farmers Federation. “Till recently we were producing only rice, rava, dosa, idli batter, malt, aatta and ready-to-use Upma made with millets. From this season, we plan to make millets vermicelli, papads, biscuits and  cookies. This year we were able to generate a profit of `2 lakh,”  he says.


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