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Engineer Quits Well-paid Job; Now Works With 6000 Tribals Helping Them To Grow & Sell Their Produce

Engineer Deenanath Rajput of Chhattisgarh resigned his job to found Bhumgadi FPO, which encourages tribal men and women to grow and sell their goods, allowing them to earn twice as much as before.

Chintu Das
Tribal Farmers
Tribal Farmers

Deenanath Rajput of Chhattisgarh hails from a family that felt that engineering or medicine would be their son's only path to a comfortable existence. As a result, after completing Class 12, he was forced to enrol in an engineering college against his will. 

"I graduated from Bhilai with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 2013." I started working for a software business in Bengaluru, but after three months, I realised I couldn't give it my all. In an interview with The Better India, he says, "I wasn't content with what I was doing." 

Deenanath says he's always wanted to keep in touch with people on the grassroots and assist them improve their lives. "I was born into an agricultural family and grew up in the tribal region of Bastar. "I'd always felt compelled to give back to the community," he adds. 

Assisting Farmers In Doubling Their Earnings 

As a result, the 31-year-old left his job and joined an NGO that worked to execute government programmes in rural areas. While preparing for public service, Deenanath also took a postgraduate degree in rural development and social work. However, he was unable to pass the civil service exams. 

"In Mungeli district, the NGO appointed me as a karmachari, a volunteer for the Swachh Bharat Mission." In 2018, I was awarded the Best Karmachari award for my efforts," he remembers. 

Deenanath learnt about tribal groups' struggles to market their farm goods during his time with the NGO. "I saw that owing to a lack of scientific technique implementations, they are having problems delivering excellent crops." From a marketing standpoint, they are uninformed of food processing. Furthermore, traders frequently deceive people by promising them a poor price for their goods," he claims. 

Deenanath then resolved to help the community by forming a Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO). "I started Bhumgadi FPO in 2018 with 337 tribal women with the goal of assisting them in selling and marketing their goods," he explains. 

According to the engineer-turned-social worker, he taught community members effective agricultural practices, how to apply proper amounts of fertilisers, interpret weather, and kept them informed about government farmer programmes. 

Today, his effort has benefited nearly 6,100 farmers in three districts: Bastar, Kanker, and Narayanpur. "All of the farmers are shareholders in the firm and enjoy a 25 to 30% profit," he explains. 

Fruits such as papaya, guava, and banana, as well as agricultural food such as finger millets, fox millets, wheat, maize, black gram, and others, are available at the FPO. They also sell tamarind sauce, dried mango powder, and other food-processing-related things. All of the goods are popular in Chhattisgarh's local markets as well as other regions of the nation, including Delhi, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, and Raipur. Deenanath explains. 

New Way of Living 

The farmers were first sceptical of Deenanath's approach, according to Deenanath. "They were hesitant and preferred to use traditional farming methods." It took them about a year to notice the improvement and gain confidence. They also didn't trust in online sales, which made it difficult to reach out to large shops like Slow Bazaar and Reliance," he says. 

Deenanath claims that his initiative has had a significant societal impact. "The increase in revenues has aided farmers in improving their standard of living. They are more confident in bartering for high-quality goods on the market and freely expressing their wants to government authorities," he says. 

For the time being, he intends to spread the benefits of his initiative to other regions of the state, and that farmers in the region will be able to compete with large brands with high-quality products. 

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