DevBhumi Natural Products Producer Company Pvt. Ltd, (DNPPCL) is one of the country’s first producer companies, and also one of the very first in Uttrakhand. DevBhumi is owned by the small and marginal farmers, primarily rural women of Uttarakhand.
The company is promoted by an NGO, Appropriate Technology India (ATI), which has been working in the remote mountain districts of Uttarakhand for the past twenty years. ATI undertakes a variety of village based economic activities that are linked directly and indirectly with conservation of the rich but compromised biodiversity of the region. The strategy that it employs begins with facilitating the organization and building capacity of self-selected Self Help Groups (currently 1015); demonstrating a variety of income enhancing activities that are part of growth value chains and that have either direct impact on biodiversity (e.g. fodder grasses to replace biomass extraction from the oak forests) or indirect impact (e.g. lifting dairy farming from subsistence to commercial levels resulting in greater use of stall feeding and less uncontrolled grazing in the forest and alpine pastures). Economic activities, in addition to dairy and fodder cultivation, include: temperate tasar and other varieties of silk development along the entire value chain from rearing of worms to marketing of finished products; beekeeping and certified organic honey processing; organic spices cultivation; natural dyes production using locally available plant materials including a problematic invasive species; plantation of economically useful trees and grasses and piloting new activities with substantial economic potential for poor farmers.
How we Structure
The producers themselves choose which activity or activities they wish to engage in and then they are organized into informal producer groups at the valley and district level. Along with giving economic importance to the region’s natural resources, primarily housed in the last remaining old standing oak forests in the entire Himalayan chain, the strategy works with the local communities on practical methods of conserving this rich biodiversity. AT India is responsible for recruiting producers (mostly women), facilitating their organization and capacity building, demonstration and training in improved methods of economic activities.
Once producers reach a commercial level of production, they become shareholders in DevBhumi Natural Products Producer Company Pvt. Ltd, (DNPPCL). DevBhumi takes responsibility for procurement, processing, packaging, labeling and marketing of a variety of products. DevBhumi is a separate entity from AT India with its own Board of Directors and Advisory Board and is owned by the 7000+ producers as shareholders who in turn employ professional staff to run the daily operations of the Company.
This model has met with a notable degree of success. DevBhumi and AT India now work with 1015 SHGs, with 25 Valleys and 5 District organizations and a total of 10000 households. DevBhumi procures products from over 8000 producers with a turnover of over One Crore.