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ConnectFarmer - Putting a full stop to farmers’ suicide in India

I’m Shrikrishna Hegde, born and raised in a remote village, and tucked away into the forests of southern India. My family has been farming for centuries and it has a deep place in my heart, so the struggles of the farming community is something I empathize with and would go out of my way to support everyone involved. Recently I have been selected for the Prestigious DO School Fellowship Germany.

In India every half an hour a farmer commits suicide and on an average more than 2,000 farmers move away from farming every day. Since 1995, more than 300,000 farmers committed suicide just due to financial reasons.

Can you imagine what will happen to their family and dependents?

Agriculture in India is becoming a non profitable occupation. Farmers are unable to fulfill their own basic life needs. Due to poverty they are even losing their social status.

Farmers are treated as lower status persons in the society. Currently young people i.e. farmers’ kids are not ready to take up farming as their occupation because they are disrespected and can’t be able to earn good income. It is even difficult for them to get married, as no girl wants to spend her life with a poor farmer.  

Innovative technologies – The only solution?

Can we grow food from computers and machines? It is not at all possible. Agriculture needs to be continued and someone has to do it. Thus we must behave responsibly towards the farmers who give us food.

I’ve always wanted to put a full stop to farmers’ suicide, so I asked myself: “How do I do it?”

One year ago, I started an online platform called ConnectFarmer.com, which recalls the idea of connecting farmers to customers. It is an online and on-the-ground effort to support farmers developing value added products and reaching a wider market with them. This will create a real increase in income for them.

We worked with nearly 300 farmers to test this concept on the ground. I am happy to say it successfully worked out in connecting the village producers with the customers! This is why we are currently attracting growing traffic to our platform.

Last year we managed to set up the basic infrastructure for our prototyping operations, which we are actually able to use already. After receiving feedback about the prototype stage we have decided to make certain modifications and changes in our business operations. Soon we’ll be upgrading our website and launching a Mobile App!

What does exactly ConnectFarmer consist of?

We help farmers with product development, marketing and link them with the customers, building mutual trust.

We also raise awareness among them about marketing and available opportunities, and organize farmers’ fairs. We work with them and encourage them to setup cottage industries to produce valued added products. By doing this we want to increase their share in the value chain.

As a future development we’d also like to introduce the farm tourism which would help farmers to earn extra income and the city people to experience the farming and countryside life.

We are in need of support from all over the world for our work, as much as we are also interested in supporting worldwide farmers who are facing similar problems. Thus, we welcome all young agricultural professionals to check out our website and join us! You can also reach me for further information at shrikrishnaullane@gmail.com