Turning Small Farms Into Big Business
Monday, August 14, 2006
Amitabha, winner of the 2005 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, now sells inexpensive irrigation systems to small farmers in India who have benifited significantly from the new product. Excerpt: Amitabha Sadangi’s vision is to create the means for sustainable rural livelihood, empowering the poor to achieve food security, improved health and education, increased income and a stable and productive natural resource base. He has worked in rural development for more than 20 years, and has led the development of the signature technologies of International Development Enterprises India (IDEI). Amitabha’s personal passion and commitment is to listen and learn from the poor about their ambitions and needs, and drives IDEI’s pragmatic, market-driven and client-centered approach. In 2005 the Skoll Foundation presented Amitabha with the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, recognizing him as a social entrepreneur who is advancing systemic social change.
IDEI aims to distribute irrigation kits to 5 million families, spinning off successful products as business enterprises and keeping focused on innovation, alliances, and impact monitoring.
IDEI’s mission is to improve the lives of the rural poor by developing and marketing affordable and sustainable agricultural technologies. One of its most significant attributes is its core ethos: treating poor farmers as customers who would buy affordable, effective products, rather than as objects of charity. As a result, IDEI has sold more than 450,000 foot-powered treadle pumps since the 1990s, which have helped owners double their annual income to more than $100 per year. That’s a total economic gain of more than $45 million annually.