Force: JISL Chairman Bhavarlalji Jain
A Trip to
Globe on Push Cart
phool sar chadha jo chaman se juda hua: Izzat use milee jo watan se
nikal gaya” (A flower, when plucked from
the flora, is respected. So also a person, who leaves his homeland
for a cause earns respect) someone had said these lines a little
ago. After these
An award winning drip irrigation technology developed by an Indian
company that has caught the attention of the Harvard Business
School holds out hope for poor farmers from earthquake-hit Haiti
Jalgaon (Maharashtra)-based agro, pipes, processed foods and
Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd (JISL), which has won Unesco's
Water Conserver Award and the International Finance Corporation (IFC)
honour for its inclusive, sustainable business model, has been
working with small farmers in Haiti and has now been invited by
several African nations to help them out.
"In Haiti we are working with the Melinda and Bill Gates
Foundation and Coca-Cola for developing a business model for small
farmers," Dilip Kulkarni, president Agro Foods, Jain Irrigation,
told IANS on phone from Boston, Massachusetts.
Kulkarni, who was in Boston last week to present the company's
business model at an agriculture symposium at the Harvard Business
School, said: "We have developed a technology for mango production
in Haiti where Coca-Cola is launching a beverage called Haiti
Jain Irrigation, he said, was giving technical support in terms of
agronomy, technology of cultivation and starting a food processing
unit in Haiti. The processing unit may, however, take a couple of
years more to come up due to the conditions there.
By donating 100 percent of the profits from the sale of designated
Haiti Hope beverages, the project will help facilitate Haiti's
recovery and create opportunity for 25,000 mango farmers and their
families by developing a sustainable mango juice industry,
"We have now been invited by Africa," said Kulkarni detailing
ongoing efforts to replicate its business model in Ethiopia,
Kenya, Malawi, Swaziland and Uganda over the last six months. The
company recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the
Kenyan Irrigation board.
With Kulkarni came two farmers from Maharashtra, Hemchandra Dagaji
Tatya and Rajendra Hari Patil, to share their experiences and
present their success story in using technology for agriculture at
the Harvard Business school.
Patil, a graduate in chemistry who once taught science and
mathematics at a village school in Bhadgaon, told IANS how he once
could not make two ends meet with his meagre income from his
rain-fed 1.5 acre farm.
Since switching to drip irrigation he has increased his annual
income to Rs.4 million, cultivating banana, ginger, sunflower and
cotton on seven acres of his own land and 60 acres of leased land.
Patil won the "Dr Punjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Ratna Puraskar" in
2009 from Bharat Krushak Samaj, New Delhi, and "Udyan Pandit" 2010
award from the Maharashtra government.
Tatya, who received the 'Kantabai Jain Pandhara Kanda Navtantra
Puraskar' in 2003 for highest productivity of white onion,
detailed how he too had doubled his income since taking up
contract farming with JISL.
Yield levels were marginal and profits low due to flood irrigation
and irregular use of fertilisers for Tatya who grows onions,
banana, cotton and maize.
But "micro-irrigation and fertigation has helped me raise the
yield levels. The quality of the farm product has drastically
improved, resulting in better prices in the market", he said.
The pioneers of micro-irrigation systems in India, JISL is said to
be the world's second largest drip irrigation company with 146
Playing a lead role in the state-sponsored micro irrigation scheme
in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra, JISL is
engaged in contract farming for onion and vegetables, banana,
mango, papaya and tomato puree, with over 10,000 farmers.
(Arun Kumar can
be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)