Commitments to action
Farmers as owners
Annamrit Farmers as Owners Foundation, Shri Jagdamba Samiti, Himalayan fresh produce
This new approach is pilot tested with apple-growing farmers in Uttrakhand since 2006. A more detailed description of the approach is given in the paper “Fostering farmer organization with business rigour”, by the same authors. Based on this experience, this paper intends to explore how the approach could be replicated in India.
Although India is positioning itself as a worldwide leading economic power, it is still home to one-third of the world’s poorest people, concentrated in its rural areas. In contrast to the strong urban-based economic development, rural development is lacking behind as farmers are caught in traditional trade relations with middlemen for finance, trading, and price setting. The growth potential of rural India however, is enormous with increasing concern about food security and increasing food prices. The new approach could well capitalize on the immense potential of rural India and break through the inefficiencies of the current rural production-trade relations.
It is this paper intends to engage in a broader debate in India with different actors, ranging from banks, knowledge institutions, government, financial institutions, private sector businesses, NGOs, committed individuals, and others: how can we build on the lessons learned from the new approach, implemented on a relatively small scale? Can it be used as a basis for new, innovative collective initiatives to advance India’s rural development? Let’s first take stock of some of the lessons learned in implementing the new approach so far.
The project with apple growing farmers was started to set into motion a self-perpetuating model to assist small-scale apple growing farmers in Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh states of India. To do so, the social investor SHGW (a Netherlands-based private foundation), Fresh Food Technology (FFT, a Dutch private company), and SJS (an Indian NGO based in Rishikesh) started with the farmers, to have them organized in trusts, which would become their legal business partner in the new business. Subsequently, joint venture companies were formed for value addition at the primary level (sorting, grading, packing, and pre-cooling at orchard level) and later also at the secondary level (for long-term storage of premium apples, for off-season sales, as well as for juice processing of inferior quality apples). These joint venture companies are collectively owned by the investor, the private sector partner and the farmer trusts.
Nourish All People
Boost Nature-Based Solutions of Production
Build Resilience to Vulnerabilities, Shocks, and Stresses
Advance Equitable Livelihoods, Decent Work, & Empowered Communities