MSSRF had initiated ‘Custom Hiring Centres of Farm Implements’ in three villages in Vidarbha in 2012. MSSRF’s experience with respect to the functioning of these centres indicates the enormous reach of the centres to the most marginalized sections of the village community. The landless agricultural labourers, the small and marginal farmers belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have all benefited with improved access to farm implements. While access to implements created additional employment for agricultural labourers, the small and marginal farmers could complete agricultural operations within the optimal time frame. Given this encouraging experience and as a response to the villagers’ demand, a mini custom hiring centre has been started in Bhidi village in November 2015.
The Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana is in operation in Bhidi village and there are five women farmer groups (samitis). This village has a canal in which water flows during the monsoon and the canal serves as a source of irrigation during the kharif season. However, lands located far away from the canal have difficulties in using the canal water for irrigation. These lands, owned by small and marginal farmers of the village, are not able to afford sprinkler pipes and hence are unable to irrigate their land using canal water. Hence, these farmers (both samiti members and non-members) requested MSSRF to support them by starting a centre from where they can hire sprinkler pipes.
Responding to the people’s demand, MSSRF team had a series of meetings in the village with samiti members, other farmers and members of Gram Panchayat. In the meeting, villagers had agreed to provide land where the centre can function. After that core committee of eleven members (of which seven are samiti members) and a head for the core committee to manage the centre, was identified in the meeting with villagers. The centre had been named as ‘Jay Kisan Samuhik Suvidha Kendra Bhidi’ and has 67 irrigation pipes. The centre was inaugurated by District Superintending Agriculture Officer of Wardha on 24th November, 2015. There were around 90 people including farmers and representatives of other NGOs in the inaugural programme.