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This IIT Graduate Is Helping Thousands of Farmers Get a Fair Price. Here’s How!

Vibhav noticed that the grown produce is mostly sold to village traders, the only buyers in such areas. He found that farmers often failed to receive a fair price for these crops, as there are numerous intermediaries involved in the process.


This article has been powered by SBI Youth for India Fellowship.

28-year-old Vibhav Joshi is one of India’s millions of youth who aspire not only to personal success but also wish to contribute to the success of the society. Until recently, his career graph showed the way of a typical Indian middle-class boy who had completed Engineering from IIT Varanasi, MBA from IIFT Delhi and worked at reputed corporates such as Tata Steel and Reliance Power.

But one day, he decided to break away from the beaten path and follow his passion – social work. He applied for roles with a few NGOs and started working with one of them.

He soon realised that his ‘theoretical knowledge’ about social work was far removed from the ground realities – it was a moment of reckoning for him.

He realised he needed to acquire specialist skills and tools to be an effective changemaker. The answer came in the form of SBI Youth for India fellowship, which is a 13-month rural development programme.

Once he was selected, he was to work with SBI YFI’s partner NGO, Seva Mandir, in the Kherwara block of Udaipur, Rajasthan. It is important to note that Kherwara’s rural population is mostly tribal, and is dependent on agriculture for livelihood. Pulses such as chana, tur, moong and urad are the major cash crops there. Land holdings are small, and the terrain is difficult for agriculture. The land is arid, and it becomes difficult to produce even 50 kilos of a single crop for tribal farmers.

Vibhav noticed that the grown produce is mostly sold to village traders, the only buyers in such areas. He found that farmers often failed to receive a fair price for these crops, as there are numerous intermediaries involved in the process. Primarily, small farmers lack access, and this opens the scope for exploitation.

This was when he decided to work closely with the NGO’s Zone Federations — voluntary community bodies working tirelessly for village development.

They aim to buy the produce of the farmers at a better price than local market and use ethical practices.

While Zone Federations want to help farmers in the villages, they lack the skill set required to run an optimised business activity. Here lies the role of fellows like Vibhav who try to help them in every step of the whole business. Working with five such Zone Federations, the main idea, Vibhav says is, “to assist them in building capacity to run business initiatives in their villages with the farmers”.


If you too want to strengthen rural India for a better tomorrow, join the SBI Youth for India fellowship and make this year, your #YearForChange. The applications for the 2018-19 batch are now open. To apply, log on here and submit your online application:

Unable to view the above button? Click here

For more enquiries, write to contactus@youthforindia.org


This included reaching out to the farmers to build awareness and estimate production, establishment of several collection centres, arranging finances for the whole activity, and finding capable personnel to run the operations. Through all this, they were able to aggregate 12MT of produce in 9 villages and engage more than 200 farmers.

Vibhav also helped Zone federation keep track of their expenses and income. In the coming months, he will be discussing the data he has collected on expenses and income with the Zone Federations to explore the avenues to improve the business activity. He hopes that he will be able to simplify the processes to such an extent that Zone Federations can be in control without external help.

He has seen a confidence build up in the Zone federation members as they have gone through every step to help farmers in the region. Also, to his surprise, competing traders in the community have shown due respect towards the work of Zone Federations, and some have even promised to help with their experience.

To achieve all this, Vibhav spends most of his time with the farmers and the community, conceptualising and implementing community engagement programmes.

He ensures that he meets all the stakeholders as often as he can to get a sense of their issues, to be able to help them better. Over the course of time, he has come to realise that the locals do not require “grand, intellectual schemes” from the government or other institutions. They are quite capable of solving their problems. But what they do need, is an honest and open-minded effort. He works for 12 hours a day, probably more than what he did in the MNCs, but he enjoys the work. After all, this is a way to learn life lessons truly. And the icing on the cake is the thousands of lives that are positively impacted every day!

Sharing one of the incidents from the field, he said, “While meeting a few children from the villages, I had to cross a water body with the rest of the field members. We needed a boat and had to call for one from the opposite side. To my surprise, when one of the NGO field staff called for the boat, a young girl who was studying all this while, heard the request and came down to the boat tied to a tree. She was fragile looking, yet strong enough to fetch all of us and take us to the opposite end. I was inspired by seeing this young girl who was studying as well as working to earn for her family. There are many such stories that I have come across in the community, and that has kept me going.”

“In one word, this SBI YFI Fellowship has provided me with great ‘access’. Access to a beautiful community which teaches me something new every day,” he concludes.


If you too want to strengthen rural India for a better tomorrow, join the SBI Youth for India fellowship and make this year, your #YearForChange. The applications for the 2018-19 batch are now open. To apply, log on here and submit your online application:

Unable to view the above button? Click here

For more enquiries, write to contactus@youthforindia.org


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