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Agriculture and Allied Business Development

Ensuring Household Prosperity through Agri-and-allied Businesses

Farmers owning small and marginal landholdings are the largest impact group that IGS caters to. Dwindling soil productivity, increasing cost of crop production, climate calamities, and the unattractiveness of agriculture as a profession of choice threaten agriculture as a sector and food security of the Nation in future. With the average age of Indian farmer being 50.1 years, agriculture is being seen as a recluse of uneconomic actors.

There are several redeeming developments too. To plug the exodus of the able-bodied out of a strategically important sector like agriculture in India, a ray of hope is emerging the Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) supported under various projects and programs of the Government (the most recent being the thrust of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare to promote 10,000 new FPOs through the agencies of NABARD, SFAC and NCDC).

Indian Grameen Services

Further, agriculture sector in India is diversified with over 30% of its income contributed by Horticulture, and equally supplemented by a vibrant livestock sector. Thirdly, developments like the use of advanced technologies (including Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things) in agriculture, emergence of organic and bio-dynamic farming and permaculture, successful modelling of agriculture-liked services along the value chain, on-farm development of integrated agro-forestry models, coupled with improvements in road, market and financial infrastructure, and several legal and regulatory changes in the way farming and farm-based business is conducted, have the potential to transform the lives and livelihoods of those dependent on agriculture and allied businesses.

In the above context, IGS strives to incubate models forfarm and off-farm entrepreneurship to promote sustainable livelihoods for small and marginal farmers and landless in rural areas of the country. IGS works to promote sustainable livelihoods for small and marginal farmers including tribal and women, by conducting action research for promoting technology innovations to increase crop productivity, better price realization through IT enabled marketing platforms, promoting application of information and communication technologies, empowering producers by building formal and informal farmer collectives, and forging convergence with various government initiatives.

Various indigenous and innovative models have been promoted to ensure cropping intensity, productivity of fragmented holdings through systems of root intensification, 'machan' cultivation, kitchen gardens. IGS has also capacitated communities to prepare and use bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides as steps towards responsible agricultural practices (RAP). Modern agricultural technologies like protected cultivation, drip/sprinkler irrigation to enhance productivity have been promoted. Concepts like seed village, seed bank have also been promoted to increase the seed replacement rate as well as germination percentage.

Our Approach

  • Productivity Enhancement : improving the output per input ratio, maximizing the output for a given input. Input cost reduction through low cost input facilitation and sagacious and scientific use of inputs, ultimately increase net income.
  • Local Value Addition : process which facilitates producers to add value to the product thereby helping them realize enhanced prices.
  • Alternate Market Linkages/ Market Intelligence : process of linking buyers and sellers keeping in mind the deal's competitiveness; linking producer groups to e-marketing portals for Agri input and output marketing.
  • Aggregation : ofinput demand and output supply by promoting farmers' institutions who can exercise greater bargaining power in markets.
  • Risk Mitigation : reducing the probability and/or intensity of an incident happening. For instance, vaccination reduces the risk of disease infestation leading to the death of the livestock.
  • Diversification : of livelihood portfolios for spreading the risk as well as seasonal incomes, by promoting entrepreneurship around agriculture and allied sector inputs, commodities and services, in different combinations.
  • Vector strengthening : by working to meet the affordable financing needs of entrepreneurs.

Current Efforts

IGS has promoted over 170 FPOs of small and marginal farmers throughout the country, and has acquired some level of expertise and efficiency in organizing business institutions of the poor. We have worked in various subsectors - aquaculture and fisheries, cotton, dairy, paddy, poultry, pulses, soyabean, and vegetables, promoted NTFP-based microenterprises of forest-dependent households, and also promoted organic agriculture successfully in Eastern and North Eastern parts of the country.

We are currently implementing 12 different projects focusing on enhancing incomes and market access of agri-and allied producers. We have direct access to and rapport with over 1,00,000 small and marginal farmers, including tribals and women, whom we are supporting in developing resilient enterprises that can support livelihoods sustainably.

Opportunities to Collaborate

IGS is interested to work with diverse stakeholders - community institutions, corporates, government, NGOs, researchers and innovators, and technology and service providers, for:

  • Developing innovative product, service and business models along agri- and allied sector value chains to promote rural entrepreneurship
  • Providing a community platform for integration of AI and IoT in agri-and allied context
  • Piloting financial products that meet the needs of agri- and green entrepreneurs
  • Modeling farm-to-fork solutions in specific crops and commodities
  • Developing contract farming innovations in partnership with corporates
  • Incubating NTFP-based enterprises for distant and export markets

For more information on IGS's program onBuilding Agri- and Allied Businesses of the Poor, please contact kumaresh@igsindia.org.in