Organic Majuli, the brand name of the company Lauhitya Livelihood Pvt. Ltd. is the new buzz word when it comes to social entrepreneurship and agro-based companies. The firm is the brain child of the managing director Mr. Manash Chaliha. It all started with a dream as seen by him when he was still in World Bank. It came to his notice that in spite of his state’s GDP being largely contributed by the agriculture sector, yet no improvement was seen in the lives of the petty farmers in terms of socio- economic conditions. He found that this was because farming was not done through scientific methods and farmers did not receive fair prices for their produce. And thus, he was driven by an urge to uplift the farmers by means of an advanced methodology. It was his dream to socially uplift his state not only by empowering farmers for their socio-economic betterment but also ensure food nutrition to the people through organic practices.
As he left World Bank and came back to India he started to realize his dream by volunteering two of his friends from Israel who were then undertaking a project in Majuli. He spent 6 months in learning the nitty gritty of farming and also about the traditional organic practices from the elderly and experienced farmers. Some of the practices learnt through the community participation are application of Neem paste for protection from pests, dried tobacco mixed in water, growing of Eicchornia (water hyacinth) for nitrogen fixation, different traditional practices of natural and green farming. He then decided to take leadership in organic farming in order to make his dream a reality and started a project in Majuli whereby he undertook 10 acres of land for farming and cultivating vegetables through organic practices. He was successful in the cultivation but did not receive the desired results for the following reasons-:
1. Transportation problem that added to the cost price.
2. Lack of awareness among people about organic products due to which demands were not optimum and people were not ready to pay the higher prices compared to inorganically grown vegetables.
It was also found that in order to gain profit for making the project sustainable, the production must be done in large scale. Even though there are a lot of initiatives from the government, the projects generally fail due to lack of hand holding after implementation. In order to bring about economic development of the farmers, it was necessary to fetch them a fair price for their produces which could be done not by marketing alone but by bringing value addition to their produces.
Hence, Mr. Manash Chaliha and his team looking forward to a large scale growth for the food security and sustainable development they had decided to shift their operational head office from Majuli to Guwahati, the capital city of Assam to reach more farmers as well as people. He started awareness programs for farmers as well as the local people through PMKVY, a government initiative. He also started various training programs for farmers. He was chosen as the brand ambassador of Social Enterprises by TATA. As such, awareness and training programs started to be done in large scale. Organic Majuli further started organic farming in places like Golaghat, Dimoria, Rowta, etc.
So, the plan was to move from awareness to production and finally marketing. Hence, retail and wholesale stores were established in Guwahati with an aim to promote Organic Majuli. Thus, the company has grown manifold, since its inception. Today, Organic Majuli is undertaking a number of projects and it is growing by leaps and bounds with each day.