Call it a one-stop center providing farming facilities to the farmers. It is officially known as the Johar Project.
This initiative has been taken by the state rural development department scheme -Johar Agri Mart. It seeks to provide advanced farming facilities to the farmers under one roof.
Under this initiative, work is being done to solve the problems faced by the women farmers and provide them with agriculture-related tools and supplies.
For this, 25 Johar Agri Marts are operational across 25 districts of the state. Along with the farmers associated with the producer groups, the common farmers are also being provided with agriculture-based supplies and services at reasonable prices by the Johar Agri Marts.
With this innovative initiative, the farmers are receiving not only agriculture-related supplies such as high-quality fertilizers, seeds, and pesticides all under one roof at cost-effective prices but are also being aided with soil testing, weather information, agriculture machinery, etc for advanced farming.
Johar Agri-Mart becomes a one stop-center.
Under the Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society, Johar Agri Mart is working to strengthen the agriculture infrastructure in the state and make the farmers self-reliant.
Apart from the sale of agricultural goods in Johar Agri Mart, work is also being done to connect the farmers with better techniques for advanced farming. In order to achieve this, there is also a system at place to provide the farmers with deft measures and solutions.
Through, the operation of Johar Agri Mart, farmers now have to travel only a short distance to purchase supplies and are also getting high-quality fertilizers, seeds, pesticides, DAP, urea, etc at 10% fewer prices from the local market. Johar Agri Mart is proving to be a boon as a one-stop center for the progress of farmers.
Till now about 12 crores of business done through Johar Agri Mart.
Under Johar Agri Mart, farmers belonging to the producer groups are being connected with the technical consultants through Whatsapp groups.
Through these groups, farmers are being provided with solutions daily from 10.30 in the morning to 5 in the evening regarding the problems faced by them.
Through the Whatsapp group of Johar Agri Mart local Aajeevika Krishak Mitras(AKM) and farmers receive important suggestions and solutions. Presently, technical services are being provided to more than 35,000 farmers from a total of 25 Agri Marts across the state under the Johar project. Through the sale of its various agrarian supplies and for providing agriculture-related solutions, Johar Agri Mart has generated a business of around 12 crores.
Consider these examples.
*Gayatri Devi, a resident of Ranchi’s Ranichacho Village, of Chanho Block has been practicing advanced farming along with learning new techniques of farming with the help of Johar Agri Mart.
*Geeta, a member of the producer group and the operator of Johar Agri Mart, says that, "By joining the Johar Agri Mart through the producer group, we are able to witness the increase in quality and in the yield of crops by getting to know the importance of spraying the right insecticide in the right quantity."
Now, Geeta cultivates vegetables throughout the year, mainly cauliflowers. Due to the operation of Agri Mart in the area, they are getting good quality seeds, fertilizers and other items, as a result, their produce is also getting good prices in the market.
On the other hand, the Johar project has proved to be a boon for Savita Devi of Patratu village of Chanho block. Farming has traditionally been a means of livelihood for Savita Devi.
Savita says “ Upon joining the producer group with the help of Agri Mart I have now been using top-notch quality seeds and other farming essentials that I procured at reasonable prices.
At the same time, I have been able to produce a variety of crops in a short span of time. We have been cultivating and selling vegetables all through the year now. Through this, we are able to earn 1.5-2 lakhs annually”.
Further, Savita says, “We earn by selling vegetables not just locally but also by supplying it to bigger places like Kolkata, Jamshedpur, Chattisgarh through trucks. We get to earn more by supplying vegetables outside the state than we do locally.”
Rural Development Secretary Dr. Manish Ranjan stated that through the medium of Agri Marts under the Johar Project, women belonging to the producer groups benefit substantially. The availability of Agri based inputs is aiding in the increase of production.
As for the coming Kharif season, a business target of 15 crores has been set through the Agri Marts. At the same time, a goal has been set to come up with 50 Agri Marts by farmer producer companies in the current financial year.
( Inputs provided by Dr. Manish Ranjan, Secretary, Rural Development, Jharkhand)