First batch of Agri Entrepreneurs from Manipur complete training

 

Agri Entrepreneurs (AEs) from Manipur completed the Agri Entrepreneurship Training conducted by the Agri Entrepreneur Growth Foundation (AEGF), a joint venture between Syngenta Foundation India (SFI) and the Tata Trusts. This was the first batch from Manipur and the AEs were selected for the training based on their performance over the last few years as key farmers within their communities and a structured selection process. Due to the prevailing pandemic, the training was conducted online for the very first time instead of an intensive residential program by dedicated faculty members from SFI, AEGF and guest lecturers covering various disciplines such as agri technology, life coach, etc. Even though none of the AEs have full proficiency in Hindi, which was the medium of instruction, they all managed to perform extremely well in the training program. With average attendance over the 21-day course of 99% and an average score of 77%, they have all successfully completed their training and are about to begin their entrepreneurial journeys.

 

The AE model is active across other Indian states such as Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, and West Bengal. So far, 2666 AEs spread across these geographies serve approximately 220,000 farmers with the target to improve farmers' incomes. SFI promotes the involvement of the AEs in various activities such as seeds and market linkages and works with various partner NGOs to supervise and monitor the AEs. The organisation aims for inclusion, diversity and collective responsibility. MaolKeki Foundation (MKF) is working closely with SFI to successfully implement the AE model in Manipur by selecting and mobilising youths to take up Agri Entrepreneurship. And now, the first batch is ready to put their best foot forward.

 

The aim is to help rural youths take up businesses that help sustain the growth in the areas where they are working. Each AE is expected to engage and work alongside 150 or so farmers in a cluster of at least 4-5 villages. AEs are trained to provide knowledge and crop advice, market linkages, credit facilities, etc. Not only did the training prepare the individuals to embark on an entrepreneurial journey, but it also helped develop an attitude towards ethical work culture. They are trained to work as one stop solutions for all agri related matters.

 

MaolKeki Foundation and Anaha Trust sign MoU

 

Earlier this week, MaolKeki Foundation (MKF) and Anaha Trust signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further develop the fresh vegetables value chain in Manipur. The initiative, coined Veg-in-a-Basket (ViB), will enable the commercial-scale implementation of a pilot project that MKF has been running for over a year. 

The funding from Anaha Trust, facilitated by Sattva Media & Consulting Pvt. Ltd., will support the expansion of the pilot to cover more trusted farmers in rural areas of Bishnupur District to grow and supply fresh vegetables directly to urban consumers in Imphal. In doing so, our ViB AgriEntrepreneurs are addressing a few key challenges:

Farmers not getting value for their hard labour in producing good quality vegetables
Busy urban consumers not having the time to shop for fresh vegetables and being suspicious of chemical overuse on crops
Extremely volatile pricing with unreliable supply chains, and finally,
Traceability enabling consumers to put names and faces to the growers producing their food

Commenting on the signing, Dr. Shachi Gurumayum, a trustee of MaolKeki Foundation, said, “The MoU is the result of a nearly year-long process during which Sattva and Anaha Trust diligently assessed the ViB concept and pilot that team MKF had initiated in Manipur. ViB has a positive impact on farmers as well as consumers, and it addresses the key need for transparency and efficiency in our food supply chains. This helps to reduce waste and shortages as we have experienced during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. We will ensure this partnership is a win-win for all and goes from strength to strength.”

Mr. C. Bala, founder of Anaha Trust, said, “I’m glad the support by Anaha Trust to this program of MaolKeki Foundation will start shortly. I look forward to the program helping rural households in Bishnupur to increase their incomes and livelihoods. My wife and I hope to visit Manipur when the lockdown restrictions are removed so that we can visit the households that benefit from this program.”

With the MoU in place, it is time for the AgriEntrepreneurs to mobilize resources and commence their commercial scale up. In the months and years to come, the partnership will be highlighting the achievements and impact of this program.

 

Training of the newly registered AgriEntrepreneurs (AEs)

 

With the easing of restrictions in Manipur, members of Team MaolKeki Foundation from various parts of Manipur were able to get together and make a trip to Bishnupur District to organize a training of the newly registered AgriEntrepreneurs (AEs). A range of topics were covered including basic accounting for an agribusiness, developing a business model and plan, accessing finance for the projects from banks and donors, as well as sharing learnings from AEs who have already put together their plans. Particularly useful was the experience sharing from the Veg-in-a-Basket (ViB) farm-fresh vegetables delivery business which MaolKeki Foundation piloted late last year and will be benefiting from a significant seed funding in the coming days as it takes wings to become a fully-fledged commercial business. ViB entrepreneurs Surjeet and Rajina shared their experience of the pilot phase, developing their business plan, lessons learnt, undergoing due diligence and their happiness in seeing a concept born out of wanting to help farmers slowly turn into an impactful agribusiness.

 

The team also used the opportunity to tour the various AE farms and project sites. It was a very early start to manage within the existing Covid-19 curfew times but a highly rewarding and worthwhile day for the MaolKeki Foundation team and our blooming network of AgriEntrepreneurs.

AE training, project site visit in Bishnupur District, Manipur.

 

Deadline extended due to Covid-19

 

Since we first announced these vacancies, Covid-19 cases in Manipur have shot up with over 70 returnees from other states found positive for the virus. As a result, many qualified candidates have been busy assisting the returnees, managing quarantine facilities, and ensuring essential services were delivered during the renewed lockdowns. To respect their efforts, and to extend the opportunities to those who have recently returned home, we have extended the deadline for Associates and Junior Associate positions until 30 June 2020. We have so far interviewed candidates based in seven districts who can cover up to 12 districts amongst them, but we are looking for more. Apply 

here

 

New Jobs: Associates and Junior Associates

 

The Foundation is in the process of establishing a team in anticipation of funding for an expanded value chain study covering multiple crops in all 16 districts of Manipur. The study will cover one primary crop in each district, conduct an extensive value chain study of the identified crop, assess the impact of Covid-19 and make recommendations for improving the value chain, increasing resilience post-Covid-19 and propose potential investment options for public and private institutions in the state.

For implementing the above-mentioned study, MaolKeki Foundation is looking to recruit four Associates to be based strategically across Manipur and 16 Junior Associates, one per district. These individuals will be led by a Study Coordinator and supported by a Technical Advisor and an Agricultural Data Specialist. Find out more in the Jobs section.

 

New MKF Project Coordinator

 

Earlier this week, MaolKeki Foundation welcomed Ms. Nirupa Sanjenbam as its new Project Coordinator. Nirupa will be responsible for driving the Agripreneurs Program in partnership with Agri Entrepreneur Growth Foundation (AEGF), an initiative of Syngenta Foundation India and Tata Trusts. A number of agripreneurs covering a range of areas such as greenhouse nurseries, organic fertilizer, farm-to-fork fresh vegetables delivery, etc. have already been identified and Nirupa will be supporting their development and training.

Nirupa spent over a decade in marketing, communications and client relationship management roles in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Manipur. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Calcutta University, West Bengal, and is fluent in English, Hindi and Manipuri.

Nirupa visiting farmers in Bishnupur District, Manipur.

 

Syngenta Foundation and MaolKeki Foundation celebrate two years of partnership supporting farmers in Manipur

 

Delhi/ Imphal, Dec. 20, 2019 – Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA), a leading agricultural foundation, and MaolKeki Foundation (MKF), an organization supporting smallholder farmers in Manipur, recently celebrated two years of partnership.

SFSA has been working with MKF since it was established two years ago, and has supported the training of MKF staff on modern agronomic practices, the establishment of a soil laboratory as well as in defining new projects intended to help farmers grow better crops and access markets more efficiently.

Dr. Baskar Reddy, Country Director, India travelled to the three villages in Manipur where MKF has been operational for the last two years. In these villages, MKF trained over 1,000 farmers through various demo days, info sessions and financial literacy campaigns in partnership with key organizations like the Reserve Bank of India and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development. Dr. Reddy visited some of the lead farmers’ fields, toured the Leibak Leihao Labs soil laboratory established by MKF and had an interactive session with various lead farmers and their network of farmers.

Commenting on the partnership, Dr. Reddy said, “This is the first project for the foundation in the north-east and we are fortunate to have a dedicated partner like MKF to work in Manipur. The progress that MKF has made in this short span of time is truly incredible. We are confident that we will be able to introduce the agri-entrepreneurship model in Manipur and bring significant benefits to smallholder farmers”. Dr. Shachi Gurumayum, founder of MKF, added, “Syngenta Foundation has been instrumental in our growth and MKF would not have had the same level of impact if not for the unwavering support of SFSA. As we expand into new villages and crops, as well as intensify our activities in the existing villages, we look forward to an even stronger partnership.”

For more information or interviews, please contact:

At MaolKeki Foundation: Surjeet Luwangcha, contact@maolkekifoundation.org

About MaolKeki Foundation

MaolKeki Foundation is a pioneering organization established with the purpose of catalysing positive development in Manipur primarily in the areas of agriculture, education and healthcare. Besides providing farmers with training on Good Agricultural Practices, our field nurse carries out last mile health assessments of the farmers and their families. It is MKF’s mission to help farmers overcome the common ailments of inadequate last mile services across both agriculture and healthcare. The Foundation also supports an academically bright student from Manipur with proven financial needs through the annual MaolKeki Memorial Scholarship in partnership with St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. For more info, visit http://www.maolkekifoundation.org.

 

2019 MaolKeki Memorial Scholarship

 

MaolKeki Foundation is very pleased to announce the recipient of the 2019 MaolKeki Memorial Scholarship. The annual cash scholarship is awarded to a Manipuri student studying at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, who has demonstrated excellent academic performance, integration and immersion into College life by participating in various extra-curricular activities, however has limited financial means to support his or her education.

The recipient for the 2019 MaolKeki Memorial Scholarship is Mr. James Tunglut. Mr. Tunglut is the youngest son of Mr. T. Kham Kho Gin and Mrs. Zam Za Ching from Churachandpur, Manipur. He is an alumnus of Blue Star Academy and St. Paul’s Institute in Churachandpur. He then moved to Delhi for a medical treatment at AIIMS where subsequently he completed his higher secondary schooling at Mount Carmel School before enrolling at St. Stephen’s College as a Philosophy student.

MaolKeki Foundation wishes Mr. Tunglut the very best in his studies and achieving greater heights in the coming years.

Currently, Mr. Tunglut  is a second year undergraduate student of BA (H) Philosophy, and is associated with various college society activities including the role of GenSec at Philosophical Society and that of Asst Talks Co-ordinator, St. Stephen’s North-East Society. He hopes to pursue a Master’s degree abroad.

About St. Stephen’s College

St. Stephen’s College is one of the oldest and best colleges offering undergraduate and graduate courses in the arts and sciences in India. It was founded on 1 February 1881 by the Cambridge Mission to Delhi and has produced a distinguished line of alumni including presidents, politicians, bureaucrats, artists and businessmen. For more info, visit http://www.ststephens.edu.

About MaolKeki Foundation

MaolKeki Foundation is a pioneering organization established with the purpose of catalysing positive development in Manipur, India, primarily in the areas of agriculture, education and healthcare. For more info, visit http://www.maolkekifoundation.org.

For more information or interviews, please contact:

At MaolKeki Foundation: Surjeet Luwangcha, contact@maolkekifoundation.org

About MaolKeki Foundation

MaolKeki Foundation is a pioneering organization established with the purpose of catalysing positive development in Manipur primarily in the areas of agriculture, education and healthcare. Besides providing farmers with training on Good Agricultural Practices, our field nurse carries out last mile health assessments of the farmers and their families. It is MKF’s mission to help farmers overcome the common ailments of inadequate last mile services across both agriculture and healthcare. The Foundation also supports an academically bright student from Manipur with proven financial needs through the annual MaolKeki Memorial Scholarship in partnership with St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. For more info, visit http://www.maolkekifoundation.org.

 

Ag development and healthcare: a turning point

 

For smallholders, agriculture development and healthcare suffer a common ailment; ineffective last mile services. In the Agrarian Indian State of Manipur, these challenges are exacerbated due todeep-rooted socio-political challenges. This has left the population to be amongst the poorest and most marginalized groups in India.

Read more on the Syngenta Foundation website by clicking here.

 

Healthy Farmers = Food Security

 

The case for why agriculture and healthcare must work together

Read more of this article written by our founder by clicking here.

 

2018 MaolKeki Memorial Scholarship

 

MaolKeki Foundation is very pleased to announce the recipient of the first MaolKeki Memorial Scholarship. The annual cash scholarship is awarded to a Manipuri student studying at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, who has demonstrated excellent academic performance, integration and immersion into College life by participating in various extra-curricular activities, however who has limited financial means to support his or her education.

The recipient of the first ever MaolKeki Memorial Scholarship is Miss. L H Everhring. Miss Everhring is a second-year Mathematics Honours student who has so far scored an average of 9.14/10 SGPA in the University Examinations. She has actively participated in the events and workshops organized by the Mathematics Society, St. Stephen’s North-East Society and the Hiking Club of the College. She is also a member of the College Choir and the Women’s Football Team representing College in various tournaments. Miss Everhring is the daughter of Mr. L H Peter and Mrs. N L Loverhing of Hnahringkhu Village, Chandel District, Manipur, and completed high School from St. Peter’s High School, Chandel, and her 12thstandard from Herbert School, Changangei, Imphal West.

MaolKeki Foundation wishes Miss Everhring the very best in her studies and looks forward to her achieving greater heights in the future.

 

About St. Stephen’s College

St. Stephen’s College is one of the oldest and best colleges offering undergraduate and graduate courses in the arts and sciences in India. It was founded on 1 February 1881 by the Cambridge Mission to Delhi and has produced a distinguished line of alumni including presidents, politicians, bureaucrats, artists and businessmen. For more info, visit http://www.ststephens.edu.

About MaolKeki Foundation

MaolKeki Foundation is a pioneering organization established with the purpose of catalysing positive development in Manipur, India, primarily in the areas of agriculture, education and healthcare. For more info, visit http://www.maolkekifoundation.org.