Farming is not about just growing food. It is much more..

One of the mission of RadhaMuraliFarms (RMF) would be working for social cause from day 1. Job opportunities for the neighbourhood.  The RMF neighbourhood consists of small villages like Nachankulam, Nochikulam, Shenbagaramanallur, Emankulam, Pothayadi, Sevagankulam, Puthaneri etc.  All are dry lands with bit of agriculture depending on seasonal rain and tank water.  The author realises that the RMF farm cannot exist in isolation. It must be breathing in and out with the lives of neighbourhood. Accordingly it becomes a responsibility to see that the people around are healthy, engaged with activities which may add value to themselves or to the farm indirectly.
After seeing the Tiny Oil Mills of Desai, i was motivated to think, why not propose and develop small scale industry ?  What am i going to do with the farm produce ? Sell it to brokers at pittance, or convert them into valuable, nutritious food and sell it directly to consumer ?  It makes sense in all respect to put tiny oil mills. No. 1 it will give clean food. No 2 it will give employement to one or two women.  Provided power is arranged, the tiny oil mills can be used to squeeze any oil seed, groundnut, seasame for example.
On my visit I say Tinytech was involved in preparing a Gujarati Dish through a simple process. Tal Sankli (Sesame Seeds with Jaggery).  The entire process was done without fire.  Sesame seeds and Jaggery were crushed in the Tiny Mill. The oil that would come out also was left to itself. The resultant sweet dish was packed immediatly and sold also. Rs. 50 per dabba. Desai mentioned they are selling around 250 packs per day only to people who pass by the road. No advertisement. It is earning Rs. 5000/- per day for the crew.  Just to prove the point.  Shelf life is 1 week. I asked “Have you not done any R&D to improve the shelf life”.  Desai smiled. He did not answer.  Generally anyone from rural areas will not answer such questions. Because eating preserved food is eating fossil food. They donot appreciate that.
Well, once a machine starts working, it needs seasonal farm inputs as raw material, labour, power and marketing to sell the produce.  Let me assume the following and check if it would work;
a)  Farm Input : Available in plenty.  Tirunelveli district is known for groundnut cultivation.  RMF itself can cultivate groundnut and seasame during seasons.
b) Labour : Available in village, provided the income is assured.  Preference to be given to Women who need support.
c) Power: The machine can be kept in the farm. But I am still exploring the Renewable energy sources. Till then the machine can be kept in anyone’s house in the neighbourhood.
d) Marketing and Sale:  I guess this can be taken as a pilot to check how Organic produce with purity of food will be purchased by people. Perhaps door to door marketing with known circles and word of mouth should sell the produce.  For example a liter of gingly oil in the market today costs around Rs. 250 to 300. The oil is also purified (refined) through agents by solvent extraction, neutralization and bleaching in order to improve its cosmetic aspects. 

On the contrary the farm product will have advantages of No refinement (hold on to antioxidants and polyunsaturated fats), cold press (hence vitamins are preserved), fresh, organic, (process is) visible and (sale price is) transparant etc..

e) Capital : Money required to purchase machine, utensils, accessories. This may come from someone like you who can sponsor for a share of profit or charity.  Loan – strictly No No. At a later stage, the beneficiary herself should be able to expand in cooperative manner.
Here goes the POC (Proof of concept)

Step 1 : Seasame and Jaggery are being ground in the mill

Step 2 : Product is packed immediatly.


Step 3 : And Sold to the consumer directly through window.

No fuss isn’t it. ?  Let me re-visit this at a later date. Till then writing this so that people who read this can incubate the idea.  This is exatly what Mahatma Gandhi proclaimed in his 1942 vision about Village Swaraj. Of moving away from Industry (Centralised mass production and dumping on consumer), reducing carbon foot print (on moving goods from one corner of country to another) and being self sufficient (living with minimality).
End of Story

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