Magasool is promoting crops and cropping practices that will reduce usage of water, chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and increase the use of cheaper bio-degradable alternatives in a manner that increases profitability and sustainability for farmers. We aim to make agriculture sustainable for our planet and for farmers.
We provide scientific cultivation, organic vermicomposting, soil testing, produce processing, and marketing services that help farmers reduce input costs, realize higher yields, and profits. The average farm household eats a very poor diet and children suffer from several micro-nutrient and major nutrient deficiencies. To help fulfill children's and other family members' dietary needs, we run a completely free kitchen garden programme to supply agricultural households with vegetables. We engage our employee base on education and policy initiatives, actively help rehabilitate them from alcohol abuse, and domestic violence. We recruit young farm help and farmers to train them on technology and business and make them self reliant. Finally, we aim to make Indian agriculture a part of India's growth story, and include the 75% of rural Indians in generating wealth.
*Your contribution of Rs 5,000 will help Magasool pilot new technologies for pesticide spraying and reduce farm-workers' exposure to toxic chemicals.
*Your Rs. 10,000 will help take water-saving and yield-improving paddy transplantation technology to 5 farmers improving profits by Rs 5,000 per acre per farmer per season for 3 seasons.
*Your support of Rs 15,000 will help reach 150 households with the kitchen garden program for improved nutrition.
* Your support of Rs 5000 will help us continue an improved health insurance (a must during these Covid19 times) plan for our field staff and their families
Marginal farmers with little or no landholding often cut down on vegetables when they face economic hardships. Vegetables often show huge seasonal variations in price, leaving farmers and labourers with no choice but to forgo including them in their diets. Children and women are especially mal-nourished, and pregnant and lactating mothers receive inadequate nutrition. 39% of India’s children under 5 years of age are stunted and a large fraction of pregnant and lactating women are anemic. Magasool addresses this problem by distributing vegetable seeds, manure and providing assistance in setting up kitchen gardens around homes. We have seen that gardens increase vegetable access for poor farmers and labourers significantly. We will distribute seeds for at least 10 to 12 types of vegetables, and help at least 1000 poor rural households in Tamil Nadu between October 2021 and January 2022 to prepare vegetable gardens to meet their nutrient needs.
We request 1lac for procuring seeds.
2. Modified System of Rice Intensification (MSRI) through mechanized transplanters
The main advantages of MSRI are –(i) The nursery is transplanted when the saplings are young, anywhere between 12 to 18 days decreasing the disturbance to roots as well as allowing time for higher tiller growth. This leads to robust foliage growth, (ii) Increased distance between plants in SRI allows for better access to sunlight and more space for root growth.
MSRI fields also require 25% less water in the initial 10 days post transplanting.
Between May 2012 and July 2021, the program has reached more than 800 farmers in Trichy, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Chengalpattu, Kanchipuram, Kanyakumari, Theni and Thanjavur districts. Most farmers have reported yield increase of 10 to 20 % resulting in an increased income of anywhere between Rs 2500 to Rs 5000 per acre (translating to more than 30% increase in profits).
We request a total of INR 12.5 lakhs for 5 new transplanters which will let us continue providing services to beneficiaries in an uninterrupted manner.
3. Technology pilots
(i) Increasing ground-nut acreage through enhanced planting and harvest efficiency - Groundnuts require much less water than paddy or sugarcane and give 20% higher profits to farmers. They also help restore soil fertility when used as a rotation crop.
We partnered with a few farmers to pilot a mechanized seed drill in 2018-2019 and results were very encouraging. However, harvesting technology that we identified was not suitable for some of the soil types in the Kalpakkam region. We request INR 8lacs for procuring and piloting (with 20 farmers) new groundnut harvesting equipment. A successful solution is expected to increase productivity by more than 30%. This will lead to farmer profits go up by more than Rs 10000 (ten thousand) per acre.
(ii) Reducing farm-worker exposure to pesticides
We piloted drone-based pesticide spraying in December 2020 in Vilathikulam block of Toothukudi district. Initial results were mixed. We request INR 2lacs for further testing of drones and rocket sprayers. A portion of the funds will be allocated towards training of farm-workers in methods that will reduce their contact with harmful chemicals. Furthermore, trained farm-workers daily wages can go up 3X.
Fixing pest traps for a watermelon crop
4. Lean farming for small landholders: Farmers typically apply chemical fertilizers based on the level of subsidy and not on what their farm soil specifically requires. Over the course of time soil composition changes for the worse requiring more fertilizer application for producing the same yield. The problem is exacerbated by falling ground water levels (water from deep borewells tend to contain more salt). Magasool is helping correct this through a mix of of best practices from tradition and scientific soil-test based nutrition management. Our interventions help reduce fertilizer usage by more than 30% and restore long-term soil fertility and organic content.
In addition, we are promoting integrated pest management to reduce dependence on pesticides.
We request INR 2.5lakh to partner with 400 farmers in 2020-2021.
5. Uzhavar Shakti (Farmers' Power) - A localized, remote extension and market access system for farmers and farm workers
Magasool launched Uzhavar Shakti in partnership with https://gramvaani.org/
in March-April 2021 with 1300 farmers. Content is curated from existing services, Government and private information portals and village resident experiences. More than 200 farmers have received timely farm advice and field support in the last 3 months. UzhavarShakti receives 5 calls a day from farmers now. We are currently focused on increasing outreach among farmers and farm workers and making them more comfortable with the technology. The Magasool team has also marketed produce for more than 25 farmers who placed voice requests on the platform.
We request Rs 4 lacs to expand extension services to 3000 farmers and farm workers in Chengelpattu and Toothukudi Districts and setup consumer linkages for 200 farmers.
6. Seeds support for hill farmers of Theni and dry-land farmers of Toothukudi -
Upland farmers of Kothakudi and tribal farmers of Myladumparai have been facing problems of severe paddy blast and low yield in the last few years. We suspect that the paddy varieties that they cultivate are not suited to the mist and cool climates of Theni hills. We will provide seed and cultivation support for suitable paddy varieties to 20 farmers as pilot this year.
The maize army worm has become prevalent in Vilathikulam block (a dry-land with one season of cultivation) of Tothukudi District and mitigation costs are increasing year on year leading to severe income drop for farmers. As a pilot, we will provide millets-seeds support to 30 farmers to help them diversify away from maize.
We request 2 lac for seed and cultivation support.
7. Health and benefits cover for Magasool field staff and their families - Magasool field staff have worked with their farm communities through the Covid19 pandemic. Tamil Nadu is one of the worst affected states in India and the pandemic has not spared rural communities.
We request 1 lac to continue providing health insurance for the field team.
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Indian passport holders who want to contribute in foreign currency, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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