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June 07, 2016

Meet our farmers #1 - Nirmal Janaram

 

our farmer

Nirmal Janaram is 34 years old, with two kids, Sai and Ramesh. Nirmal's family have been a part of Utnoor Gond for generations. Nirmal had expected to live his life much like his father before him, growing cotton on his 3 acres of land. There never had been a question of leaving Utnoor, as there never had been an opportunity to leave. He had never received a proper education, as his parents did not have the funds to afford educating him beyond primary school. Building up savings was also not a realistic option, as yield from his cotton farm was quite temperamental. He had no real power in the market, and was thus often forced to sell below cost. Government initiatives aimed at helping farmers like him secure funding and resources often proved ineffective due to corrupt politicians or poor planning. To finance the operations of his farm, Nirmal often had to resort to local moneylenders, who charged exorbitant rates of interest.

In 2008, Nirmal first heard about Chetna Organic. It was an organization that worked with small and marginalized farmers, helping them make their farms more profitable and providing training in sustainable farming practices. Since becoming a member, Nirmal's family's outlook had greatly improved. He now had access to a captive market - Chetna bought all his cotton at fair market prices and then sold it to factories - and reliable credit. Without fears of massive interest rates or default risk, Nirmal has been able to create a stable savings plan. He can afford to send his children to school, where they will be the first in his family to graduate from secondary education.

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