Seven IIM-A students to try Amul model for agri-business in Bihar

Seven IIM-A students are set to replicate the "Amul model" in the agri-belt of Bihar as part of their summer internship during which they will work for Bihar's rural livelihood initiative Jeevika for eight weeks.

"As in 'Amul model' where dairy farmers go and provide milk to collection centres, we have proposed common procurement centres at the village level where farmers can give their for agricultural produce. They can then be stocked at a district procurement centre, which will have a cold storage facility run by Jeevika SHG (Self-help Group) members. After food processing and value additions are done, the produce can be sold to bigger mandis or individual buyers at a premium. Jeevika will then distribute back the profits to farmers," says Harsh Nautiyal, who along with Kamala N Kalavacharia and S Nandha Kumar, is working with vegetable farmers in Nalanda.

Another team comprising Rishabh Bhansali and Nishit Kumar will work on scaling up oil seeds marketing in Muzzafarpur through a sustainable co-operative model. Starting next week, the Jeevika team will start a pilot project based on the business proposals made by the IIM-A graduates in 35 villages of Nalanda district, which is export hub of Bihar known for its organic vegetables and agri-products that are sent to places like Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and Nepal. "It will also help us reach out to retail chains like Walmart, Big Bazaar and Star bazaar. We are already in talks with two such retail chains. These measures will change the lives of 10,000 households in each block and in all, we have 530 blocks under the Jeevika scheme," says Debabraj Behera, state project manager of Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society or Jeevika.

"On an average, a farmer in Bihar spends at least 12 hours in selling his produce at the local mandi. If this model is introduced, it will save him cost and travel time and he can focus on farming alone. This will also do away with the burden of approaching middlemen who hoard the produce and give very less money to the farmers," adds Nautiyal.

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