There is nothing “small” about smallholders: Smallholder Consultation on Sustainable Agriculture

Agriculture has always been a risky business. Today, the impact of climate change and the associated increase in the number and severity of extreme weather events has made agriculture riskier than ever. At the same time, demand for food is rising annually from a human population that is growing and expected to surpass 9bn by 2050. Clearly, it is necessary to have food systems that are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable if we are to feed a growing world population at a time when the earth’s ecosystems are becoming more stressed.

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There is nothing “small” about smallholders. Not in their numbers, not in the challenges they face, not in the outsized contribution they can make toward helping to achieve the global. Millions of smallholders live in poverty, unable to meet basic needs. The responsibility is large while access to resources, markets, and agricultural know-how often fall short for smallholder farmers. They need to improve their production, incomes, and competitiveness to achieve and sustain a decent standard of living.

In this contrast, Caritas India holds a one-day state-level farmers conference in Ranchi where 95 smallholder representatives were participated and shared their experiences. Mr. Amitav Biswas, Asst General Manager, NABARD Ranchi was the chief guest to grace the occasion along with Fr. Bipin Pani, Director SIGN.

Appreciating Caritas India’s efforts in taking lead to mobilize thousands of smallholders across Jharkhand inclusive of civil societies working with smallholder farmers, Mr. Amitav Biswas gave emphasis on promoting smallholder farmers’ institutions to address their issues and challenges through an organized platform and thereby forming a farmers’ led producer organisation to diversify and improve their farm production and income in a collective way. The audio-visual documentary on FPO shown was highly appreciated by him.

While addressing the smallholder farmers, Dr. Pallab De drew the attention towards the importance to increase small farm production, promoting traditional/local knowledge and innovations and collective marketing of small farm produce. The blending of local knowledge and technical know-how can play a major role in small farm production. He narrated further.

Difficult to maintain our production while access to farm input is still a big challenge for many of us shared by Kamal a smallholder farmer of budmu block. Keeping this scenario, smallholder representatives were divided into their respective district-specific groups to discuss and share all major concerns faced by them. During the session, 16 smallholders were nominated from 8 districts as their front-line representatives to take the lead to address the issues in coordination with relevant institutions and departments.

Witnessing Caritas India’s work irrespective of caste, creed, and race, Pradipta Kishor Chand, shared the Caritas India’s presence and contribution towards organizing smallholder farmers in the field of Climate adaptive agriculture and Food Sovereignty across the country.

Appreciating smallholder’s enthusiasm who came from distant and remote locations across the state, Mr. Alex Kerketta thank each one of them and special thanks to NABARD and SIGN Jharkhand forum for their continuous support and guidance.