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Yesterday’s farmers, today’s entrepreneurs

‘Change is inevitable and ‘survival of the fittest are not just theories, they form the basis of evolution. We evolve and grow every day. Every mind has its own electricity which drives the person towards evolution. Farming practices have seen a drastic change in the past few decades. From manual labour to automatic devices for almost every single farming technique. From poor produce to genetically modified seeds which ensure nutritious large-scale production. Farmers today are trying to switch from chemical pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides to organic manure. Organic farming is the new era of agriculture. A new way of living sustainably.

Organic farming is an agricultural technique that uses ecologically based pest controls and biological fertilizers derived largely from animal and plant wastes and nitrogen-fixing cover crops.

Modern organic farming was developed as a response to the environmental harm caused by the use of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers in conventional agriculture and has numerous ecological benefits. Owing to greater environmental awareness, coupled with concerns over the health impacts of pesticide residues, organic food sales have shown a massive yet steady increase since the late 20th century. These factors have been responsible for motivating farmers to change their conventional farming techniques.

As the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lucknow Farmers Market, the first sustainable online platform aimed at supporting Farmers, rural, grass-root, and start-up entrepreneurs and allied services empowering the message to live a sustainable, natural life.

With the increased use of chemicals like pesticides and artificial agents, I decided to make a switch from regular to organic and natural products. When I went out in search of such products which could be called pure and fresh, I realized that it was harder than I had expected. I witnessed a huge gap between farmers and consumers, a gap so vast that it was evident to me, despite us being in the prime farming belt of India. This revelation got me thinking and I put together the pros and cons of taking it into my hands to set up a place where I could bring together like-minded conscious consumers and fresh, organic farm produce.

While talking to our farmers to understand what they really need, it was noted that they wished to take the business into their own hands and eliminate the middle man in their dealings. Profiteering middlemen are the biggest obstacle in increasing farmers’ income in India. Commission agents, traders, and wholesalers take a major chunk of profit from farmers’ produce. This results in very low income for the farmers leaving them on a losing side. Not only, do the farmers lose income but, the consumers are also at loss. Middlemen end up selling products at a much higher cost price and sometimes even expired goods are sold.

The strong desire of the farmers to sell directly to consumers, take charge of their own sales, the motivation and dedication to become entrepreneurs was inspiring and helped me build a platform for them. A platform where our hardworking farmers connect with conscious consumers and sell directly.

Becoming an entrepreneur is neither simple nor too hard. All you need is a hobby, a social motive, and adrenaline pumping in your blood. I personally kept myself focused on the three D’s, in essence, decisions, direction, and dedication. To succeed in any sphere of life, it becomes important to first decide on the mission and the goal of the project or the organization. Once you have your goal and vision, it lays out a destination for you. All you need to do is find the right direction to reach the destination, a path of minimum resistance. Build your strategy and abide by it. Lastly, at times even when you have the first two Ds in place, you might find it hard to succeed. To your rescue comes the most important D, which is dedication. Without being dedicated and committed to your goal, there is no possible way for you to execute your strategic plans and patiently wait for the results.

Our farmers already knew their goal, and their dedication was unmatchable. All they needed was a direction, a route they could follow to reach their goals.

Together with my team, I tried to build Lucknow farmers market as a platform that would help fulfil the dreams of our highly enthusiastic farmers, provide them with direction to reach their clients, and make their businesses flourish. Not only, does this ensure fair income for the farmers but also, high-quality, rich organic produce for the consumers.

The serendipity of having found the means of establishing these connections turned out to be as incredible as it sounds. Yesterday’s farmers are today’s entrepreneurs. They own their fields, they own their crops, they own their businesses and they own their well-deserved profits.

Author ; Jyotsna Kaur Habibullah founded the Lucknow Farmers Market. An MBA from CASS Business School London, she has over 20 years of experience worldwide in International Marketing. Amongst her other accomplishments, she has also founded the FICCI FLO Lucknow Kanpur chapters and is involved at a national level as part of the governing body of FLO working for women's empowerment since 2015.

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