He quit his high-paying job in US to give debt-ridden farmers of Mandya a new life

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Madhuchandan Chikkadevaiah, a 37-year-old software engineer who gave up his job in US is now saving the lives of farmers in Karnataka's Mandya district.

Farmer suicides in Mandya district

Farmer suicides in Mandya district

According Agriculture Department statistics, 1,002 farmers have ended their lives from April 1, 2015 to January 11, 2016. The reports estimated that farmers were in dire straits due to drought in the last two and a half years. The total amount of loan over the past 2014-2015 by the Mandya farmers is estimated to be 1200 crore. Unfortunately, there has been no tangible help from the government except medical cover for farmers' families, free education to children of deceased farmers and group insurance for farmers' and their families.

From US to Mandya

From US to Mandya

Disturbed by this, Madhu who has his roots from Mandya decided to help the farming community flourish. Leaving his high profile life in California, Madhu retuned back to Mandya and launched Mandya Organic Farmers Cooperative Society, with 270 farmers, in 2015.

He also started a retail outlet called Organic Mandya, at Bengaluru-Mysuru highway next to the shop, where farmers can sell their organic products profitably.

Through what is called a Sweat Donation Campaign, organised by Organic Mandya, 3,000 Bengalureans and Mysureans volunteers have been making trips to farmers' steads and working in their fields.

How does the Sweat Donation campaign works

How does the Sweat Donation campaign works

If any interested people who wants to enjoy farming or would want to experience it should drive down over the weekend and work on Organic Mandya's farms for the entire day. So, most of the people who go to gyms for the weekends to burn extra calories can actually achieve something with this Sweat Donation campaign.

Citing an example, Madhu said if a farmer was unable to spend spend Rs 3,000 for a day's labour. But he needed to transplant his entire field. In that case, they put out a request on the Facebook page and within few hours around 24 volunteers had completed the work in half a day.

How does this Farm share works?

How does this Farm share works?

Another unique initiative was Farm Share which allowed people to rent out farms of half to two acres for three months at approximately Rs 35,000 and grow their own food.

This initiative allows families to stay with farmers for for eight to nine nights over the three months and practice farming. And if at all the farmers are not available, the organic Mandya farmer will take care of the entire land. The families can either sell the produce or use it for themselves.

In the coming year, Madhu is working towards generating revenues of Rs 30 crore for 10,000 families by making them buy monthly supplies. His sim is to make Madya district go organic by 2020.

Team @ Farm

Team @ Farm

Last but not the least, Team @ Farm initiative encourages companies to bring in their employees for day-long farming activities, rural sports such as kabaddi, gilli dandalu and lagori, as well as farm tours such as the jaggery plant tour. This initiative gives people a chance to understand the entire process. This is at a nominal cost of Rs 1,300 per day.

In the coming year, Madhu is working towards generating revenues of Rs 30 crore for 10,000 families by making them buy monthly supplies. His sim is to make Madya district go organic by 2020.

Who is Madhuchandan Chikkadevaiah?

Who is Madhuchandan Chikkadevaiah?

Madhu studied at the University of Mysore and started his career as associate quality assurance engineer in RelQ, in 2000. He has worked in countries like Israel, the UK, the Philippines, Africa and the US for the last 15 years. He worked with companies such as CoreObjects, Ness Technologies and Wipro Technologies. He is also the co-founder of Verifaya Corporation that delivers automated software testing solutions to companies, founded in 2005.

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