Montag, 25. Oktober 2010


Timbaktu is a 3-hour drive from Bangalore. Early Sunday morning we are sitting in a cab together with Prof. Sastry. Today we want to visit the small village in Andhra Pradesh that lives from the cultivation of groundnuts. It is a big day for the farmers, because they will inaugurate their first production building. Facing difficulties to make enough money for survival they have organized in form of a co-operative and together invested in the new building. Here they want to sort the groundnuts according to quality and later on  also further process them.

It is a success story. The non-governmental organization (NGO), which our professor has founded, has provided the farmers with a loan for the building. The farmers themselves had accumulated enough savings in order to buy the necessary land. If everything goes according to plan, the investment will pay off within two to three years and thereafter the farmers will enjoy greater income. With greater income will come higher security, less vulnerability to droughts or illness and better living conditions. If this project will turn out to be a success, the concept might be a role model for the fight against poverty in all of India.

The farmers have gathered to celebrate this important day that promises to improve life in Timbaktu and the surrounding villages. The village head enters accompanied by a priest. They have brought flowers and candles with which the machines are blessed. The priest walks around and mumbles verses in Sanskrit, the Latin of India. We then sit down in a circle and the project is discussed. Unfortunately the farmers talk in Telugu, so I can´t understand what is being talked of. But apparently there is much to discuss, the meeting lasts for almost two hours. As I get to know later, the details of the project were discussed. Which farmers are involved, how to deal with the limited availability of electricity, under what conditions to rent the facility to other farmers and how many sacks of groundnuts to process daily. With a round of tea and cookies the meeting is declared as closed. The farmers are in agreement and seem to be excited about the months and years to come.
It is experiences like this that I have come to India for.