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Learn to Earn in Lakhs like Sampoorn Shetkari’ – A Professionally Managed Farmer’s Group from Gundegaon, Maharashtra

A Progressive farmer Santosh Bhapkar from Gundegaon in Ahmed Nagar, Maharashtra in the early 2005 understood the need for working in collectives and started bringing farmers together for collective farming and marketing. He formed 3 groups but he says they all got fragmented on the way in the name of various issues says Santosh ,but he was undeterred on forming groups and building synergy and he succeeded and at present is the President of the Group called Sampoorna Shetakri Ghat, a collective from Gundegaon, Maharashtra.

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan

A Progressive farmer Santosh Bhapkar from Gundegaon in Ahmed Nagar, Maharashtra in the early 2005 understood the need for working in collectives and started bringing farmers together for collective farming and marketing. He formed 3 groups but he says they all got fragmented on the way in the name of various  issues says Santosh ,but he was undeterred on forming groups and building synergy and he succeeded and at present is the President of the Group called Sampoorna Shetakri Ghat, a collective from Gundegaon, Maharashtra. 

Gundegaon is the last village on the route, about 40 kms from Ahmednagar. It is surrounded by mountain on three sides and the farming in the village was mostly dependent on rain. The recent watershed treatments under Jalayukta Shiwar has improved the ground water situation and provided protective irrigation facility to some extent. Being rainfed, the crop pattern and the local varieties are still preserved since generations.  Crops like various pulses such as Hulga (horse gram), Kidney beans, Moong beans, Urad, Red gram, Oil seeds like Groundnut, Sesame, Safflower and Niger(Khurasani) and Grains like Jowar and Bajra are organically grown by using nutritious traditional varieties.  Even though Jyoti a post graduate holder and after getting selected as deputy commissioner in Raigad district, preferred to stay back to help the growing work of uplifting the farmers. She took charge of the marketing activity thereafter has set the group on growth path says Santosh. Jyoti was very instrumental in studying trends in relatively distant markets like Mumbai and Pune for marketing the above said products which was undervalued in nearby markets like Shrigonda or Nagar. 

Santosh offered his farmers 28% extra rates on the spot and started purchasing their total produce. Farmer’s marketing expenses and efforts were saved and they got more than what they would get in the market and this finally made the farmers happy and confident. The produce at farm level was not of the exact quality the city consumers prefer. So the same purchased produce were given back to Women Self Help Group formed by the women of same farmer families and their efforts were also given due remuneration. Thus they also became happy and quality conscious. Loans were arranged for purchasing a mini dal mill and that ensured supply of quality dals with due charges for making the dal.  

As the groups started functioning Santosh says he prepared standard operating procedures, guidelines and protocols. This ensured quality production and consistency. Almost all the  100 group member families purchased 2 desi cows each. The cow dung and cow urine provided necessary manure for maintaining the fertility of the soil and provided protection from pests and diseases. This formed the alternative to chemical inputs and stopped them from entering their farming system.  

There was a humongous effort to study the consumer requirements and preferences and present their products in different neat attractive packages ranging from 100 gms to 5 kgs. depending on the consumer requirements. Some villagers were trained in marketing, visiting cards, brand labels etc were made. They started displaying their produce on roadside stalls. Santosh says they have done done extensive sampling of their products and after tasting their  products people started liking them and asking for more. Many of them have become their regular consumers. Consumers from Pune started asking for regular supply either home delivered or in the nearby stores. Very soon they started building a network of sales points. Now at present Sampoorna Shetkari has  about 50 outlets selling our products in Pune and Mumbai. They directly cater to 200 homes in Pune and 32 homes in Mumbai through home delivery. For the convenience of consumers they have also designed an app and till today, about 3000 consumers have downloaded and using it. It keeps them updated about availability, packing and new arrivals. Regular consumers also  got offers and bonus in the form of free gifts. 

Agriculture Department and Taluka Agriculture officers have also helped them in obtaining various compliances and have awarded their efforts say Jyoti. All of these activities helped them to present their products in various exhibitions organised in District to State levels. The group has received many prestigious awards from various governments and business houses. Sampoorna Shetkari was honoured to be a part in Safe food section in the famous Bhimthadi Jatra in year 2017 organised in Pune. They have got connected to many good consumers through such exhibitions says Santosh. 

Under the able leadership of Santosh the President of the group the Brand is doing a turn over of Rs. Five lakhs per month. The Group with its persistent effort  will scale heights in the coming years to come.  Their Ultimate resolve is to provide safe food to future generations and cultivate  professional attitude and good values in the members and also in the hearts of consumers.  

Contact : Santosh Bhapkar – 94043 88008, Jyoti Bhapkar – 94230 04039 

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