New Delhi: 22 May 2023: Grameen Foundation India, in collaboration with Walmart Foundation, is organizing a national conference on market access for small farmers on May 23, 2023, at Hyatt Regency in Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi, from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM. The objective of the conclave is to address the challenges faced by small farmers in the agricultural sector of India. The inauguration of this conference will be done by the Chief Guest, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Cabinet Minister of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Government of India. Additionally, Professor Ramesh Chand, Member of NITI Aayog, and Shri Manoj Ahuja (IAS), Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Government of India, will also enlighten the farmers through this conference.
It should be noted that the Indian economy is heavily reliant on agriculture, which provides livelihood to nearly half of the population. However, small and marginal farmers face several challenges in the agricultural landscape, including limited bargaining power, inadequate access to input services, outdated farming practices, insufficient technology, post-harvest management facilities, and limited extension services. These challenges, coupled with the impacts of climate change, hinder farmers’ income and resilience. To address these issues and enhance farmers’ livelihoods, the Government of India has established Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and encouraged their strength. However, several FPOs are struggling, particularly in establishing profitable market linkages amidst new value chains.
Grameen Foundation India, in collaboration with prestigious partners such as Walmart Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Swiss Development Corporation, GIZ, and the Government of Uttar Pradesh, is working to empower FPOs and small farmers, with a special focus on women. This initiative has spread to 82 FPOs in 23 districts of Uttar Pradesh, benefiting 58,000 small and marginal farmers directly.
These efforts have yielded significant achievements in livelihoods based on agriculture. FPOs have experienced a remarkable growth of 230% in turnover, primarily driven by better linkages with input and output markets. Farmers have witnessed a 200% increase in the use of input services and a substantial 367% increase in output services. Notably, 82% of the farmers have demonstrated enhanced negotiation skills, showcasing increased trust in FPOs. There has also been progress in digitizing data collection, with 90% of FPOs gathering farmer data. Furthermore, the participation of women in FPOs has increased, leading to more gender equality in decision-making and a shift toward community-oriented perspectives.
This national conference will bring together key stakeholders from the government, private sector, agriculture business, financial institutions, non-profit organizations, and donors to engage in practical discussions on markets, technology, finance, and extension services.
This conclave, taking place in Delhi, aligns with the sustainable development goals of the United Nations, encompassing no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, gender equality, decent work, and economic growth. Its objective is to promote partnerships among committed stakeholders to bring meaningful changes in the lives of small farmers, especially women.