Farmers form the backbone of the Indian Economy, making up more than 40% of the workforce. However, every day 28 people dependent on farming commit suicide—the post-harvest losses in the country amount to over 93,000 crores per year. The loss of 93,000 crores constitutes approximately 40% of the country’s total produce. This occurs due to the perishable nature of agricultural produce, which often forces farmers to sell their produce at the prevailing market price, be it high or low, thereby resulting in a loss of bargaining power.
Addressing this issue through the positive power of social entrepreneurship, Enactus DCAC, an international not for profit student body organisation, initiated Project Zaraat for the upliftment of the farming community. The mission of Project Zaraat is to minimise post-harvest losses and enhance forward linkages through a self-sustaining social enterprise.
Under the mentorship and guidance of Michigan State University and the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Zaraat provides the farmers with a unique storage solution that works on the principle of evaporative cooling. It is affordable, portable, and eco-friendly, making it different from conventional storage facilities. Moreover, this solution increases the shelf life of the produce by upto ten days, ensuring that the quality of produce does not deteriorate. Apart from this, they also aim to partner with various B2B aggregators to ensure a rise in income for the farmers and provide them with payment security.
Currently, they are in the process of integrating farmers into an FPO to ensure collective bargaining power. They are also exploring sustainable agriculture practices that are vital in a climate constrained world.
Project Zaraat is a recipient of the KPMG Ethics Grant and also received a Special Mention at the Enactus Early Stage National Competition 2021.
Building on this by the end of the year, they aim to sustain the lives of 100 farmers by providing them with an income boost of 25%, reduce post-harvest losses by a whopping 60%, and minimise the energy consumption by 20%. For more information, visit www.enactusdcac.com.