By James Herndon
Rohit Jain lived a life millions aspire to. Despite working as a successful computer programmer in Pune, he sought out to find a bigger purpose in his life. Rohit quit his job to farm on a small plot in his ancestral home in Rajasthan. This move surprised everyone, particularly his in-laws. While Jain was in Rajasthan, he learnt about the struggles of those who worked on the farm lands. He witnessed the impacts of the government’s ill-conceived fertiliser subsidies on the soil. Not only did the subsidies strip the nutrients from the soil, but the chemicals also significantly deteriorated the health of families. To alleviate these issues, Jain opened a grocery store where he began selling organic products from local farmers.
From the roots of empowerment
Situated in Udayapur, Rajasthan, Banyan Roots requires nine employees to purchase products from local farmers. The store usually pays 30 percent as a premium for organic products to compensate farmers. City customers have also been buying products from the store due to their preference for organic foods. From daal to herbal coffee, Banyan Roots sells seventy different products. The revenues have more than quadrupled over the last six years. While several other organic shops opened after he initiated the business, only two of them currently remain. More than to generate profit, Banyan Roots was initially created to empower the people of Udayapur. The store is constantly looking to suit the needs of its customers and suppliers and has continued to thrive and succeed.
An honest farmer’s sack of gold
Ranjit Kumar is a farmer and the co-owner of the daal mill in Medi village of Udayapur. With grants from the Ministry of Rural Development and the technical support of an Udayapur-based NGO, the mill processes daal on site. Kumar hunts for the best price deal before he sells his daal off to big markets, hotels, and small shops like the Banyan Roots. The mill’s general manager proved that Kumar’s daal is organic through legitimate paperwork from a nearby lab in Gujarat. Kumar is always concerned about the quality and credibility of his products; more than just the profit.
Hope for the land of crops
India’s economy mostly depends on agriculture as it is largely rural. The lucrative technology-related jobs are rather limited. Many urban citizens are even opting to choose and support local organic farms. Kumar, on the other hand, is planning to expand his business internationally as he already sells his products across India. It is the responsibility of the government to support the plight of farmers like Ranjit. India’s organic products could reach consumers in the developed countries. National and international leaders must gain the wisdom to help and expand local businesses.
Featured Image Credits: Flickr