Enabling Rural Households

Key Issues

  • Effective agri-extensions services for small and marginal farmers
  • 70% of 100 million small and marginal farmers don’t have access to modern technology and extension services

Our Solution

Develop a community owned farmer platform for knowledge sharing, improved practice, inputs supplies and services in Agri and off farm areas for small and marginal farmers

MITRA aims to address the complex problem of ineffective agri extension service for small and marginal farmers. A unique feature of the MITRA project is the collaboration of diverse groups and organizations that have a stake in the problem to work together to find impactful solutions.

Currently spread over 15 districts in seven states, this innovative hands-on program is modeled on peer learning; but more importantly it aims to empower farmers to become agri-entrepreneurs by accessing information with the help of new age technology to improve agri-practices.

  • 85% Indian farmers are small and marginal cultivators (less than five acre)
  • Lack of access to quality input services which could increase 45% productivity
  • 86 % of small and 72% marginal farmers do not have access to institutional credit
  • Poor irrigation practices. More than 60% of total farming land is not irrigated. India uses double the amount of water for major crops in comparison with China, US or even Brazil
  • 59% farmers do not have access to technology or technical information
  • MITRA focuses on agriculture and non-farm initiatives
  • We support farmers by helping them to access marketing information, improve their knowledge and skills on crop-based package of practices apart from gaining access to existing government extension delivery schemes and services
  • MITRA collaborates with knowledge partners to encourage change and ensure best practices are available to the farmers
  • We connect local communities with the private sector and expedite a seamless engagement
  • Train and encourage local youth to adopt agri-extension services as a career option and as a self-employment opportunity
  • Facilitate with all key stake holders to leverage their strengths in achieving better farming practices for the community and ensure desired outcomes through rigorous monitoring and evaluation
  • Finally establish a community model of peer learning by identifying and training  motivated “lead farmers” who in turn will be a role model and take the  lead to  mentor his community
  1. Shift the emphasis on the problem and be open to new learnings
  2. Increased productivity per acre in the major crops
  3. Strengthen agriculture extension service delivery
  4. Ensure economic viability for the farmer


MITRA Brochure

Key Issues:

  • More than 2.8 crore businesses in rural India employ ‘ZERO’ workers outside their households.
  • Less than 14 per cent of enterprises in India are owned by women and less than 15 per cent among these (less than 3% of overall enterprises) employ workers4.

Our Solution

  • To devise processes and systems that identify and nurture potential rural entrepreneurs, with special focus on women entrepreneurs
  • To establish sustainable businesses that are socially relevant across diverse sectors, which add value and create employment

Maargam is an initiative of Dr Reddy’s Foundation, which intends to fill the void of support systems for potential rural entrepreneurs to set up business and grow. Maargam aims to work closely with potential entrepreneurs (with focus on women), by building their capacities on business concepts, guiding them in accessing financial services and finally handholding through the set up and growth phase of the enterprise.

Maargam will continually evolve solutions to help aspiring entrepreneurs cross the five major obstacles facing them:

  1. Domain Knowledge- Lack of specific technical knowledge regarding the particular business opportunity
  2. Financials- No knowledge of Business Planning and Financial products from financial institutions
  3. Business Management- Not knowing basic organisational tools required to scale- book- keeping, inventory management, sales pitching, etc.
  4. Decision Making for Scale-up- Lack of decision support when making choices of scaling up such as increased investments, loans, etc.
  5. Gender inequality- Lack of agency, limited mobility, responsibility for care and limited access to assets and finances.

Maargam will promote businesses based on a specific set of opportunities that will be identified as having high potential for growth and social impact. The first opportunity we have identified is the promotion of rural vegetable nurseries.

India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world but its productivity of vegetables alone, is much lesser than the world’s average.

Farmers in order to increase their yield, travel hundreds of kilometers to buy quality seedlings that could contribute in reducing this parity in the production. Maargam, therefore, takes its first step towards the solution by helping individuals set up vegetable nurseries in proximity to their villages and providing access to high quality planting materials at reasonable cost, thereby, addressing the demand and supply gap.

A rural enterprise incubation model which provides end-to-end support to set up greenfield enterprises that can create employment opportunities.