National, May 10, 2022: In India, agriculture is the primary source of livelihood of 40% of India’s population still farmers still face a lack in the availability of storage and transportation infrastructure. The perishable nature of agricultural produce propels the farmers into distress selling, a situation where they are forced to sell their produce at prevailing prices, leading to a loss in bargaining power. This consequently leads to post-harvest losses equalling to 40% of India’s total major agricultural produce, which amounts to almost 93,000 crores per year.
Enactus DCAC, an international not-for-profit student body organisation based in Delhi, recently launched Project Zaraat for the upliftment of the farming community and to address the issue of post-harvest losses through the constructive power of social entrepreneurship.
Project Zaraat aims to use a self-sustaining social enterprise to reduce post-harvest losses and enhance forward linkages in farmer communities.
It provides farmers with a storage solution that operates on the idea of evaporative cooling, thanks to the supervision and direction of Michigan State University and the Indian Agricultural Research Institute. The cold storage-which is less expensive, portable, and environmentally friendly than traditional storage facilities- extends the shelf life of the produce by up to 10 days, ensuring that the produce preserves its freshness. Recently , they have set up a composting unit also in Chilla village benefitting the farmers community.
Aside from that, Zaraat is working to connect with several B2B aggregators that will help farmers increase their income while also ensuring payment security. Farmers are also currently being integrated into an FPO to provide them with collective bargaining strength. They’re looking into sustainable agriculture practices, which are critical in a world where climate change is a reality.
Project Zaraat was also awarded the KPMG Ethics Grant and it received Special Mention at the Enactus Early-Stage National Competition 2021. By the end of the year, Zaraat aims to have sustained the livelihood of 100 farmers by giving them a 25% increase in income, a 60% reduction in post-harvest losses, and a 20% reduction in energy usage. It also plans to rapidly expand into other communities by setting up similar storage solutions and ultimately empowering the farmers. Visit https://enactusdcac.org for more details.