The document deals with the journey of Syngenta Foundation India for the past five years in pursuit of a pluralistic approach towards wealth creation by small holder farmers.
Farming by smallholders was increasingly becoming unviable due to shrinking size of holding, farmers’ inability to access and adopt productivity enhancing technology and to market their surplus produce for economic gain. Consequently, they are getting marginalized and compelled to migrate in search of alternative means of livelihood.
The approach and priorities of Syngenta Foundation India contained varied processes in helping low-income farmers to face challenges. Increasing income opportunities of smallholder farmers by raising productivity and improving access to market in a sustainable way, following the practice of collective marketing by producers using improved handling, logistics and marketing skills and enhancing the quality of produce that would bring about greater profitability were the value added methods which improved livelihood security of small holder farmers.
SFI had joined hands with reputed corporates like Field Fresh in Mokhada, near Jawhar and with PepsiCo in Bishnupur, Bankura to connect farmers’ groups from its project areas so that they can directly sell their produce to these corporates. By tying up with these companies and learning their special production techniques for vegetables, okra and hot pepper for FieldFresh, and potatoes, for PepsiCo, these farmers’ group are able to get better rates and are also protected against the hazards of fluctuating prices which are common for such perishable commodities.
SFI’s partner in Jawhar, BAIF promoted Amarai Cooperative Society for facilitating market linkage and value addition activities for mango cashew grown by its members. The Cooperative has around 2000 members. Strengthening rural supply chain, preparing producers for high-value markets and empowering farming communities, seed treatment, soil and water management, post-harvest management, networking with agencies, and managing incomes had enhanced farm productivity in a number of ways, thereby largely benefitting the small holder farmers.
In 2009-10, SFI entered into the second phase during which it spread its activities to new areas and used its tested skills for productivity enhancement of food crops to reach greater number of farmers. It also replicated, with success, field demonstration, promotion of high value vegetable cultivation and other tested initiatives in these new areas. In the last two years, these interventions resulted in improved livelihood security of additional 15,000 smallholder farmers. In order to reduce the production and marketing risks of over dependence on just one kind of crop, a large number of farmers in the SFI-PRADAN project area adopted diversified cropping patterns and benefitted from it.
New Concept designed and printed the project.