Magasool (meaning "yield" in Tamil) is a not-for-profit organization that works with 1400+ small farmers and farm workers in over 80 Tamil Nadu villages in improving their incomes and nutrition. With the support of generous individuals like you, Magasool completed 7 years of operations, and 6 years since incorporation, in March 2019.
Magasool is promoting crops and cropping practices that will reduce usage of water, chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and increase the use of cheaper bio-degradable alternatives in a manner that increases profitability and sustainability for farmers. We aim to make agriculture sustainable for our planet and for farmers.
Jayaram Venkatesan did his Masters in Electrical Engineering in the US and worked as Vice President of Countrywide Research Division in Los Angeles, California. His work mainly focused around understanding social issues and supporting many non-governmental organizations in India. His deep interest in social work brought him back to India in 2007 and was involved in various research and field programs related to Education and Agriculture until 2010. In 2010, Jayaram started field experiments in agriculture to compare improved techniques over conventional methods and that evolved into the Magasool program.
Ajay Kumar Tannirkulam has a B.Tech from IIT Bombay and a PhD in Astronomy & Astrophysics from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He returned to India in 2008 and joined the Analytics unit at the Center for Microfinance – Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) as head. He was also the Interim Executive Director of the center between 2011 and 2013. His deep interest in agriculture and livelihoods of small and marginal farmers made him spend time in the field to understand issues faced by farmers. Along with Jayaram, Ajay co-founded the Magasool in 2012 and has been working full time on developing quality programs for small and marginal farmers.
Balakrishnan S (Balu):
Balu is from a farming family and lives in a small village called Mummudicholamangalam near Lalgudi Town in Trichy District. He has a Diploma in Catering and worked briefly in the catering industry in Bangalore and Trichy. But his calling was always in agriculture and he joined Magasool in 2014. Balu is the District Coordinator for Trichy and supervises a team of 7 people to work with more than 200 farmers and farm workers. His team offers support to the farming community in the modified system of rice intensification, soil-test-based nutrition management kitchen gardening and integrated pest management for pulses. He is very keen on helping farmers reduce exposure to dangerous pesticides and insecticides. Balu is getting a Diploma in Agriculture Inputs from TNAU.
Jayakumar J (Jay):
Jay did his Bachelors in Electronics and Communication Engineering. He was a Network Engineer in large telecom companies for more than 3 years. As he is from an agricultural family, he had a natural inclination towards farming. After hearing about Magasool's work, he got inspired to contribute towards improving lives of poor farmers. Jay joined Magasool in 2018 as Coordinator for Chengalpattu District. Jay supervises a team of more than 20 people for MSRI operations. His team works with more than 600 farmers and farm workers. Jay is very keen on bringing the power of voice, text and whatsapp based digital radio platforms to the agricultural community. He is also helping Magasool improve many of it''s record keeping processes. Jay will play an important role in defining and implementing Magasool's vision for the coming years.
Mahesh is Magasool's Chief Mechanic. He joined Magasool as a junior mechanic in 2014. Mahesh is an expert in the maintenance and repair of mechanized paddy transplantors. He is in great demand for his technical skills by farmers and machine owners in more than 10 districts in Tamil Nadu. Mahesh plans and leads the execution of the maintenance schedule for Magasool supported farm equipment and pays extra attention to reducing costs by recycling and modifying discarded parts. He is a keen traveler and expert paddy machinery operator. He maintains an excellent rapport with all staff and often plays the role of an agony aunt an problem solver.
Sasikumar R (Sasi):
Sasi is a farmer from Mangalam Village, Kaveripakkam Block, Ranipettai District. He worked in Aid India from 2005 to 2013 in various capacities in the construction, asset and purchase departments. He joined Magasool in late 2013 as the District Coordinator of Viruthachalam and helped grow outreach from 2 farmers to 200 farmers and farm workers in 3 years. He is now the District Coordinator for Thiruvallur. He currently works with 20 farmers and aims to reach 150 farmers and farm workers in the next couple of years.
Selvamani is small farmer from Salem District. He got his MPhil in Public Administration from the University of Madras in 2009. He was involved in development research at IFMR between 2009 and 2016. He joined Magasool in 2016 as the District Coordinator for Viruthachalam. He currently supervises a team of 5 people to support more than 200 farmers and farm workers. He is very keen in helping reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture and identifying direct marketing opportunities for farmers. He also spends a lot of time thinking of potential ideas to improve profitability for farming households.
Umapathy is a small farmer from Parameswaramangalam village, Lathur Block, Chengalpattu District. Umapathi's father passed away early and he had to take upon himself a number of financial responsibilities at a very young age. His early struggles built his interest in social work and a passion to contribute to the development of those around him. He completed his BSc in Mathematics and joined Nehru Yuva Kendra. He helped setup more than 200 self help groups for youth in his Block. After a 3 year stint, Umapathi moved to AID India. He was involved in the design and demonstration of science experiments for primary school children. As District in-charge, he played a pivotal role in execution of novel ways of teaching mathematics to young children. Along with his friend Jayaram Venkatesan, Umapathy played a major role in helping setup Magasool in 2013. He was Magasool's first employee and became the District Coordinator of Kanchipuram in 2013. He helped grow Magasool's outreach from 5 farmers to more than 500 farmers and farm workers in his district over a 4 year span. As Senior Coordinator of Chengalpattu District, Umapathy is now focusing on reviving water bodies on ECR.
Vinoth belongs to a family of farmers in Thiruparambiyam village, Kumbakonam Block, Thanjavur District. He has a Bsc in Mathematics and Computer Science. He became a full-time farmer after completing his BSc. Vinoth joined Magasool in 2013 as District Coordinator for Thanjavur. He now manages Magasool's work in Tuticorin, Theni, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts. Vinoth is leading Magasool's partnership efforts with Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO). He has been actively promoting Integrated Pest Management and best principles of Organic Farming to maize and pulses farmers in 1000 member FPO in Toothukudi. Vinoth is currently pursuing a Bachelors in Farm Technology at TNAU.