Name: Balubhai Parmar
Location: Rakhej, Kodinar, Gujarat
Education: Bachelor of Arts - First Year
"In my village, cotton farming is hard work and families often struggle to make a living, particularly now that the rains are increasingly unpredictable," says Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) farmer Balubhai Parmar.
Balubhai, a 10th generation farmer, is helping to lead an enterprising group of BCI Farmers who founded their own organisation in 2013, the Somnath Farmer Producer Organisation, putting themselves at the forefront of continuously improving their members' performance.
The organisation helps its members to save costs and achieve fairer prices for their cotton, while developing new ways to boost their income. In the 2017-18 cotton season, BCI Farmers in India achieved 24% higher profits, while using 19% less pesticide and 15% less synthetic fertiliser.
Seeing the success of improved farming techniques and a more sustainable approach to tending the land, Balubhaibecame a Board Member of the Somnath Farmer Producer Organisation (SFPO), and decided to play a leadership role in creating awareness among more farmers.
Today, Balubhai is responsible for deciding the SFPO strategy, monitoring its performance and plays a critical role in driving growth - actively educating and advocating BCI techniques to farmers across the district and helping grow membership of the FPO.
Starting with a membership base of just 938 BCI Farmers the 'shareholder members' now total 1,811 BCI Farmers. And Balubhai is working towards a membership of 5000 in the coming years. He is also now a Board Member of a State Level Farmer Producer Company - Gujpro - and also harnesses this platform to educate and engage farmers to improve their techniques and profits.
"It's difficult to describe the affection I feel towards the land. SFPO has helped me learn ways to better manage and care for my land in a way that also helps me better earn and support my family. Farmers are very connected to Mother Earth. If we treat mother earth well, in return she treats us well", he said.
- Balubhai's story has been recognised at an international level
- Increase in number of Somnath Farmer Producer Organisation members from 938
- 5000 projected number of members by 2023