As our soaps are curing (drying), I travel to my village to check on them and also all the didis. The sweltering heat does not deter me from visiting them but my miniscule inconvenience does not compare to theirs either. Even in this heat, they are out harvesting their crop (soybean to be precise) and I get first-hand insight into their problems. This year the rains have been erratic and our area has received little to no rain. In the picture below, the storm clouds you see brewing either pass over us or towards the right (north).
So how can I help?
Now, Yes I make soaps with these women but also I question myself on how can I work to help them in their fields. Keep in mind, I don’t have any farming knowledge (no excuse because there is a lot of reading material available) but providing certain insights does help and those insights must be backed by data. So I got myself acquainted with the Khandwa agricultural dept and kept myself abreast with the information disseminated by them. Dr. Saurabh at the college has a farmers group that provides weather patterns as well as cropping advice and many if not all the farmers in my village do not know about it. I try to get this across and I do fail miserably. Now I understand many will say, you should do this and do that, but please understand on the ground things are very different and unless you are in their ear constantly things don’t change I have had that problem.
Yes, I make soaps but creating a platform that can help our village farmers is what I hope to make our small startup into. How can I use my platform to get their products to the end customers? So for a pilot, we will be harvesting chilies and will try to showcase them at various events that we attend. Our village produce – from farm to table directly. I cannot help every farmer but concentrating on the place I work provides me a micro perspective and a small local of control. Providing them feedback but making sure I concentrate on our main product till it is big enough is detrimental to our success.
I keep hearing, that focusing on your key area, don’t be sidetracked, etc etc, makes me rage within. We are not fools to not focus. We know what we are doing and we have things in mind that we want to accomplish but things take time and making the ‘Make in Village’ and ‘Buy from Village’ movements will be detrimental to our country going forward.
How do we start it? let’s experiment.
let’s try to get one college to motivate their students to purchase one rural product every month. Compare it and analyze it. See the growth when things start moving and how this helps rural India. (also a request, please don’t say, O this is subjective, some will do it and some won’t, how will this help, etc.). Just try it out and analyze the outcome.
Get 10, get 5 but start it. We need to be proactive and not reactive.
As always, do check out our work at Kingleexperience.com