Bala Vikasa is a secular, non-profit organization committed to Community Driven Development (CDD), founded in Warangal in the year 1991 by Singareddy Bala Theresa Gingras and her husband, Andre Gingras, a career diplomat with CIDA. Community Driven Development (CDD), Capacity Building for Development Professionals, Social Entrepreneurship and Responsible Business are its key focus areas.
Sustainable Agriculture has been a major thrust area for Bala Vikasa for the past 20 years within the CDD vertical. As part of the Food Security program, Bala Vikasa pioneered its Tank Desiltation initiative that restored over 765 minor irrigation tanks in the two Telugu states and helped nearly 70,000 farmers increase their crop productivity while decreasing their expenditure on chemical fertilizers. The massive success of this initiative inspired the Telangana government to launch ‘Mission Kakatiya’ at scale. Construction of Farm ponds has been another initiative that has tasted early success with nearly 1000 farmers voluntarily coming forward to dig farm ponds. Bala Vikasa is all set to construct a record number of Farm Ponds (20,000) by 2022 through Mission Jala Vkasa to support the agricultural ecosystem.
OOrganic Farming has been another crucial focus area in the efforts to promote Sustainable Agriculture. Since 2010, Bala Vikasa has run a sustained campaign among the farmers to turn them to environmentally-sustainable and economically-profitable organic farming practices. Intensive capacity building supported by effective IEC materials led to the enrolment of over 1400 organic farmers cultivating more than 10 varieties of organic crops. Regular training on organic farming practices and organic preparations, provision of necessary organic inputs, and facilitation in getting organic certifications helped them significantly in their pursuit. In the ongoing efforts to provide organic farmers access to the right markets, Bala Vikasa has been forming FPOs to ensure that all the farmers can leverage their collective resources for increased efficiency and better profits.
A step forward in the same direction, Siddipetorganicproducts.com, a new intervention from Bala Vikasa, will leverage digital technologies to connect farmers and customers directly and facilitate hassle-free transactions. By piloting siddipetorganicproducts.com, Bala Vikasa is seeking to address the challenge of market access for the organic products produced by all the farmers enrolled under the program.
Finance Minister of Telangana
Thaneeru Harish Rao, a native of Siddipet district, is a man of the masses and the driving force behind the rapid growth and development of Siddipet as a model constituency. The fact that he is the youngest six-time MLA in the history of Indian electoral politics, with exponentially increasing majorities, is a testament to his success as a true representative of all the aspirations of Siddipet.
In the two decades of being a highly respected public leader, Harish Rao, has actively promoted initiatives that are life-giving to the farming community. At a macro level, he has pioneered the illustrious ‘Mission Kakatiya’ as the Minister of Irrigation and restored over 45,000 irrigation tanks. This provided much needed relief to the water-stressed rural ecosystems and promoted sustainable agriculture through silt application. He also shouldered the behemoth task of completing the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project, the world’s largest multi-stage lift irrigation project to irrigate over 7 Lakh Hectares breathing life into Telangana’s agricultural sector.
At a micro level, he stood behind every initiative that promotes sustainable agriculture in his own constituency. He has advocated the shift to organic farming among the farmers and did much to encourage and support the farmers who are pursuing it. He has facilitated the distribution of native cows to nearly 250 farmers and supported the construction of hundreds of cattle sheds. While several other initiatives to support the farming community like community cattle hostels are in the works, he is focussed on creating adequate market access for the organic products through various modes.
Siddipetorganicproducts.com, a brainchild of his, is a necessary step in that direction. It will link consumers directly to organic farmers and facilitate the purchase of organic products without any middlemen through online platforms.