Farm Machinery Bank
Agriculture is an engine of growth and poverty reduction, and the primary source of livelihood for over 70% of the country’s population. Agriculture then, is a primary occupation for the village folk, providing not only food for the family, but additional income opportunities as well.
Agriculture-related work is primarily performed by women in these areas, as is the case almost throughout the Uttarakhand region. Women make significant contributions to agriculture, frequently managing complex households and pursuing multiple livelihood strategies, including cultivation, animal rearing, maintaining their households, working for wages in agricultural or other rural enterprises, collecting fuel and water, caring for family members, and so on.
The Farm Machinery Bank (FMB) was envisaged as a Pilot Project intervention to optimize resources, improve productivity, and minimize women’s drudgery in agriculture and related activities. The FMB intervention involved the maximum Govt. support as compared with other Pilot Projects.
During the initial period of community engagement, villagers did not show much interest in the FMB. 12 farmers were then mobilized and encouraged to take part in this intervention; as a result, the Jai Bhumiyal Farmer Self Help Group with 12 farmers from Village Guniyala was formed and registered with the Agriculture Department, and a bank account opened in Oct. 2021.
Based on inputs of other FMB beneficiaries, equipment suppliers and the State Agriculture Dept., the group selected a range of equipment including 8 Power Tillers, 10 Mix Chakkis/Grinding Wheels (Flour and Spice), and a Paddy Chakki, totally costing about Rs. 10 Lakhs, of which Rs. 1 lakh each came from the farmers group and from THDC/Mrida under Project Nayi Kiran, with 80% or Rs. 8 lakhs being the Govt. support. Since commencement, the FMB Pilot Project has already positively impacted the community in Guniyala, and also generated positive interest in surrounding villages.
Estimates suggest that the group of 12 farmers or VLEs (Village Level Entrepreneurs) comprising the Self-Help-Group would save money through this intervention in the form of manpower, cost of cattle and cattle upkeep, rental cost of equipment; and so on – upto Rs. 1.30 lakhs per annum, apart from improved productivity and output, and reduction in drudgery for the women of the village.
Scope exists to extend the FMB intervention to other areas over time, particularly in locations such as Jaisal, Urgam and Saloor, which are either remotely located, or otherwise relatively more challenging to access.