Food Security & Livelihoods

Food shortages, post Independence, was one of the challenges we immediately attempted to address in 1969. For this, irrigation infrastructure creation, a fundamental requirement for development of agriculture and the recommended approach of national policy, was encouraged. Simultaneously, farmers known as “The Small and Marginal” farmer received agricultural extension in the form of access to leading technological innovations (crop management practices – seeds, farm mechanization, fertilizers, pesticides, credit, market linkages etc). Extensions in allied activities (livestock – poultry, rearing of small ruminants (goat and sheep), cattle, fisheries) too were supported. While, this technical support included capacity building and demonstrations, institution building in agriculture too has been supported since the 1960’s with farmers clubs and cooperatives identified as mediums of technology transfer.

Designed to tap their immense potential to contribute to national goals, the small and marginal farmer continues to receive our support. While, documented farmers benefitted are placed at a modest 1,00,000 (small and marginal), there are still many uncovered and requiring support. However, now the social, economic, political and environmental issues governing the “small and marginal farmer” and the agriculture he depends on has become complex, with risk reduction across the supply chain gaining prominence.

Supporting us in strengthening their livelihoods were agencies like Christian Aid, Lutheran World Relief (LWR), Centre for World Solidarity (CWS), Misereor, Oxfam, Caritas Internationalis, Swiss Development Corporation (SDC) etc. More recently we are supported by the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT), Sir Ratan Tata Trust (SRTDD), NABARD, IKEA, IDH, BALCO, BILT and Monsanto etc. Coordination and convergence with the institutional mechanism created under the Ministry of Agriculture is a continuous process with efforts being made.


Securing Livelihoods

Securing Livelihoods: Extension in agriculture and allied activities

Solitary economic activities of small and marginal farmers are characterized by low productivities, attributed to amongst others, inadequate management of natural resources. However, agricultural extension can contribute towards optimum utilization of land resources, improvement in productivity, food security, and livelihoods of millions who continue to rely on agriculture for incomes.

Our agricultural extension is designed to enhance productivities and incomes of local communities through scientific assessments of capacities; acknowledging and prioritizing the development of those potentials that have local relevance and demand. Here geography relevant Package of Practices (PoP) and capacity building approaches are designed for farmers and local institutions – integrating cropping systems, horticulture, livestock, fishery and poultry – to strengthen farm based livelihoods.

Innovative models extended by us through our programmes include Integrated Farming Systems (IFS) models, Agro-Forestry models, Sloping Land Agricultural Technology (SALT), Dryland Farming Technology and Kitchen Gardens.

Sustainable Agriculture Sustainable Livelihoods

Sustainable Agriculture: Sustainable Livelihoods

The unscientific application of fertilizers and pesticides compromises the sustainability of agriculture. Further, smaller scales of production, characteristic of small and marginal farmers, creates an environment restricting the adoption of soil and post harvest management practices, credit and marketing of produce etc.

Soil Management practices in our programmes are designed to include Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) practices with recommended PoPs including testing of soil, application of manure (organic – vermi and nadeep compost) etc. Concerted efforts to advocate the adoption and wider replication of such practices too are being made.

Reduction of risks across the supply chain including strengthening of agricultural marketing – quality management (storage etc), grading, establishment of linkages with the distribution network etc are being demonstrated through our programmes, contributing to an increase in the economic viability of agriculture for the small and marginal farmer.

Adapting our roles to suite contextual requirements, our efforts to reduce institutional and policy barriers need to be intensified before scalable models can be recommended.

Strengthening Non Farm based Livelihoods Skill & Enterprise Development

Strengthening Non Farm based Livelihoods: Skill & Enterprise Development

Risk of the small and marginal farmer, amongst others, can also be attributed to a dependence on a single crop. Diversification through Non Farm based livelihoods can serve as a support system to existing farm based livelihoods and reduce risks associated with certain continuing uncertainties.

As value additions to several of our programmes, we support the development of skill based enterprises. Assessment of livelihood potentials and feasibility of livelihood opportunities form an integral part of our support. Linkages with financial institutions are facilitated with Self Help Groups (SHGs) forming as institutions of growing local relevance. Gender disparities at the village level are being bridged with a special focus on women based groups.

Building a cadre of service providers in rural areas is promoted through our programmes. Rural services encouraged include agricultural extension and health workers especially with regard to water and sanitation. Our cadre of service providers is helping bridge gaps in the existing institutional mechanism, improving delivery of services at the level of the grassroots.



Food Security & Livelihoods Programmes

Reducing vulnerability in agrarian distressed regions of Maharashtra

Reducing vulnerability in agrarian distressed regions of Maharashtra

The Vidharbha region of Maharashtra, distributed across 11 districts (Yavatmal, Akola, Amravati, Wardha, Buldhana, Washim, Nagpur, Chandrapur, Bhandara, Gadchiroli and Gondia), is known to face severe agrarian distress. ‘Convergence of Agricultural Interventions in the distressed districts of Maharashtra’ (CAIM) is collaboration between Government of Maharashtra (GoM), International Fund for Agricultural … Continue reading

Ensuring Food Security through Community Participation in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh

The vision of the National Food Security Act is governed by the objective to ensure that every individual has access to predefined minimum quantities of food required for a health living. While, the act adopts the approach of provision of food grains at subsidized rates to priority households, alternate approaches … Continue reading

Promoting Diversion based Irrigation Systems (DBIS) in rainfed areas

Promoting Diversion based Irrigation Systems (DBIS) in rainfed areas

2000 acres brought under Protective Irrigation The Millennium Development Goalsaccord high priority to poverty and hunger through proportionate reduction in people living Below the Poverty Line and those who face chronic hunger. Programmes introduced by the Government of India to meet these goals have all relied on income generation as … Continue reading

Strengthening Livelihoods through Development of Water Resources

Strengthening Livelihoods through Development of Water Resources

According to Economic and Human Development Indicators for the state of Chhattisgarh, over 12 million people have been categorized as poor. Supporting the state in its efforts to bridge this development deficit is a lead role taken by a Non State actor working in Chhattisgarh. Through a project titled ‘Jalgram … Continue reading

Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF)

The Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) is an effort to bridge the development divide through decentralization of planning processes. Participatory in nature, local communities and the institutional mechanism at the bottom rung of the Panchayati Raj system are assigned central roles in the Programme. As Technical Support Institution to the … Continue reading

Monitoring & streamlining convergence of NREGA with other ongoing schemes

NREGS Act is a time bound employment guarantee scheme whereby adult members of rural household willing to do public related unskilled manual work at the statutory minimum wage are provided a legal guarantee for 100 days of employment for each financial year. The right based and demand driven approach with … Continue reading


Better Cotton Initiative in India

Cotton is one of the most important fiber and cash crop of India and plays a dominant role in the industrial and agricultural economy of the country. Cotton in India provides direct livelihood to 6 million farmers and about 40 -50 million people are employed in cotton trade and its processing. Indian cotton production is heavily associated with the intensive use of hazardous pesticides.

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Live Better with the Flood

The green revolution in wheat and rice, white revolution in milk, yellow revolution in oilseed and the “blue revolution” in fisheries have augmented the food basket of the country. But many technological challenges remain. First, despite the shrinking share (23%) of the agricultural sector in the economy, the majority of the labour force (nearly 60%) continues to depend on agriculture…

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