This is an excerpt from a candid talk with a Setu Seva volunteer.
Difference between an NGO and a social enterprise is that it does not depend on donations or any philanthropy mechanisms and is built to sustain by itself over the long-term.
The difference between social enterprise and a company is that companies have a direct profit margin but social enterprises only run for sustenance.
It slowly got easier when the farmers revealed that most of the times the financial crisis they get into is because of the investments in the chemicals more than the natural calamities. They agreed that they would themselves not prefer eating some of their produce for which they know that the chemicals have been used in humongous fashion like brinjal, chilly, cauliflower etc.
We onboarded them by giving an assurance that first yield risk will be from us (the volunteers gave them a soft loan to mitigate any risks which after the produce is sold was to be taken back from them – like a 0% interest loan but with a catch that if no yield then farmers would not return.) And also our agricultural expert and mentor (Vishnu Kurmilla) is always with the farmers guiding them and helping them with all aspects of natural farming. With both these things the farmers slowly onboarded.
By mid-march we are planning to have full-fledged vegetables –
Regular Veggies – Tomato, Potato, Onion, Brinjal (Purple, Green, Long Purple), Cabbage, Cauliflower, Drumsticks, Cluster Beans, Broad Beans, Ladies Finger, Bottle Gourd, Ridge Gourd, and Bitter Gourd
Salads- Beet Root, Carrots, cucumber
Garnish – Mirchi, Curry Leaves, Coriander, Pudina (we are trying to include Garlic & Ginger)
Green Leaves – Amaranthus, Spinach, Fenugreek, Bathua, Sarson, Drumstick leaves, Soya leaves.
1. No Middlemen so direct income to them – this is important in natural farming methodology because the yield itself is very less and if we have more middlemen then it gets challenging to keep costs low as well as ensure good income to farmers.
2. Motivated to grow naturally because they get to serve the customers directly. Having middlemen kind of brings in less accountability to the farmers because once they hand over the produce they are done, but in this model they will have to be part of end-to-end cycle and interact the consumers, welcome them to farms etc and hence they are more motivated to grow naturally.
Benefit to Consumers:
1. Natural Food – No Chemicals
2. Fresh Food – Same day harvest same day delivery
3. Cost Effective – Above reasons
Benefit to Environment:
1. Cow based farming – elixir to the soil. Improving fertility of soil.
2. Less Water Requirement – only humidity in soil is enough for the growth of plants.
If more volunteers will join hands, we can plan an efficient method of delivery, bring in creative means to keep the costs low and can cover entire of Hyderabad. Please reach out to us if you want your society / area to enjoy the natural foods and in turn help this mission sustain.
Everyone has got different innovative ideas, like one of my friend was mentioning about collecting the garden / vegetable waste from home and prepare the compost in the farms. It really feels good when like minded people join hands and give back to the society. This is one way we can make this world beautiful enough for our future generation.