Vrutti in association with Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems has been implementing a project entitled ‘Poverty reduction through sustainable agriculture in southern India. The overall goal of the project is to contribute to reduce poverty and hunger and help achieve MDG 1 in India. The project aims to increase the income of 9000 small-holder agriculture households through a farmer led social enterprise model. Agriculture is increasingly becoming non-remunerative for these households due to a variety of reasons including low productivity, increased cost of cultivation, poor access to services and fluctuations in market prices.
The project aims to deliver a package of seven direct interventions such as
- Home Gardens
- Full package of organic practices,
- Provision of quality seeds and fertility improvement products,
- Provision of Bio-pesticides,
- Market information and linkages
- Value addition,
- Allied activities like backyard poultry.
The institutional model designed for the for these services delivery are
- Village Based Agriculture Business Development Service Providers (VABDSPs) in each Panchayat,
- Sustainable Agriculture Self-Help Groups at the village level (SASHGs),
- Their apex bodies at Panchayat - Panchayat Agricultural Development Committee (PADC) and Cluster level Agricultural Development Committee (CADC) and
- Agriculture Producer Companies (APC) at the district level. APCs which can become self-sustaining social enterprises operating on business principles
Latest Updates from the Project:
- Two producer companies have been established as against one which was originally envisaged - This decision was based on the series of extensive consultation meetings with the community based organizations and their genuine concerns
- Marutham Sustainable Agriculture Producer Company Limited (MSAPCL) covering farmers from Kancheepuram and Tiruvannamalai districts
- Valanadu Sustainable Agriculture Producer Company Limited (VSAPCL), covering farmers in Nagapattinam district
- Value chain studies for all the three crops and market study for paddy have been conducted, intervention plans prepared, business plans updated and actions are being implemented on ground, contributing to generate revenues for APCs.
- The total turnover through business operations by these two producer companies since their inception have been Rs. 30,26,018 (GBP 30,045) and the net income is Rs. 12,52,269 (The net income includes revenue from business operations, facilitation fee, subscription fee and services fee from AMFC. For the business activities the amount of credit facilitated has been Rs. 72, 39831.
- Established Mechanism for ‘Pay for Services’ in the Producer Companies – a Great Base for Financial Viabilty of the Social Enterprise Model: As per the plan, the project has mobilized facilitation fee from farmer beneficiaries and paid incentives to all VABDSPs (Rs. 6,79,050; GBP 6,742) since July 2013. This has been a significant achievement by the project in terms of making farmers pay for the services, realize value from these services and move towards sustainability.
- Adoption of Ecological-friendly Sustainable Agriculture Practices at a Scale:
- There has been a significant progress in terms of farmers transitioning from inorganic farming practices to sustainable organic methods. Of the total farmer households, 15% (1121) have shifted from inorganic farming to Non Pesticide Management (NPM) farming practices and another 10% (747) have shifted to complete organic farming practices. About 55% (4111) of farmer households have adopted at least one of the sustainable agriculture techniques/practices promoted by the project during the reporting year.