On a sweltering afternoon, I walked into the office of Organic Majuli, to meet its founder Manash Chaliha. His ‘Can-do-it’ infectious spirit can inspire many who have a dream of venturing into the world of start-ups.
Organic Majuli was founded in 2014 to promote organic farming in the Northeastern region through training and information sharing about food, nutrition, income security, and community development. Its mission is to empower farmers economically and socially through organic farming. Its total cultivated area is more than 300 Bighas.
Chaliha says, ‘Our aim is to create awareness among the farmers towards the dangers of conventional farming and also inform them about selling their production to viable markets.’
It has provided training to farmers from villages such as Khetri Bahtola Village in Kamrup Metro district, Paduma Pather in Golaghat district, Manomrioy Tea Graden and Majuli in Jorhat district and Pavoi in Biswhanath Chariali following which farmers can sell their produce in two stalls located in Guwahati. However, last week they started an online portal for customers in the city which will also help farmers sell their produce online.
Chaliha says, ‘A brand doesn’t develop in a day, it takes time. Today in Assam our brand is one of the biggest in terms of organic farming. But, of course, it’s a struggle. I want to see the overall growth of the farmers, that’s my dream.’
He emphasizes on the fact that Organic Majuli is a community-based initiative. ‘We have 32 different communities and each community has their own indigenous culture, the government has to support these communities and only then can we build an inclusive agricultural system.’
An engineer by education, Chaliha returned to Assam in 2014, to start this firm. He says his passion for farming brought him back. ‘I come from a family of farmers in Golaghat.’
‘There is a lack of technical support in the Northeast. Our farmers need help with marketing strategies. We need people who understand the region so they can come up with better marketing ideas. We need the expertise of our IIM, Oxford and Harvard graduates,’ he adds.
It is important to generate an organic farming industry which will also eventually generate employment. ‘Organic Majuli’s aim is to start a revolution, to empower farmers along with providing nutritious food to people of the region,’ he says.
By Sanskrita Bharadwaj