Reported By: Ms.P.V Swati,Officer, Gender Mainstreaming
Edited By : Communications Team
Bhubaneswar,Odisha: IGSSS organized the National Consultation on Small Farmers and Family Farming on 20th and 21st January, 2015. The programme aimed to look into the existing challenges and possible prospects. More than 200 participants representing civil society organizations, agriculture experts and government policy makers along with farmers from across the country attended the consultation convoluting perspectives and experiences from multiple vantage points.
The national consultation provided a very pertinent platform to stakeholders, engaging beneficiaries and service delivery personals in a multi-facetted discussion on the concept of family farming and its importance for reducing poverty. The two-day event specifically worked towards sharing relevant experiences in family farming and small farming, their achievements, challenges and opportunities with special attention given to the experiences of women, youth and indigenous groups. The farmers also exhibited many working models, proto types of farming techniques and varieties of indigenous seeds in order to bring their best practices to the fore.
The keynote speaker at the session stressed on the importance of identifying and strengthening India’s agriculture related capabilities. In his address to the partners, Mr.Devinder Sharma, Agricultural Economist, said “documentation of traditional knowledge related to small farmers and family farming is urgent need for initiating dialogue with policy makers on its importance and the need to support the small and marginal farmers”. Dr. Manoranjan Kar, Vice Chancellor of Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology resounding this emphasized the need to create a conducive environment for small farmers and family farming to flourish in India.
Mr.John Peter Nelson, Executive Director of IGSSS shed some critical light on the transformations in the Indian agrarian society and its swift move towards a consumer driven economy with the sole aim of growth in manufacturing sector and industrialization as a measure of increasing GDP. He said “For happy existence of human life there is a greater need to develop the agricultural sector”. Dr. Karunakar Pattnaik, retired IAS personnel and Mr. Abrol, Chair Person of SPWD added to the pool of perspectives by incorporating the experience of service delivery agencies.
After the inaugural session of the consultation, the honorable guests present inaugurated the exhibition set up by the IGSSS’s partners and farmers. They featured the traditional seeds and agricultural produce that they grow in their respective areas. The farmers presented models of integrated farming system, drip irrigation, SRI rice cultivation system and many other innovative methods. The exhibition gave these farmers from across the country a platform to come together and know and learn about each others farming techniques.
Over the two days of consultation, farmers from across the regions deliberated the contemporary challenges faced by them and scope of possible solutions. The major challenges and solutions presented by the groups concentrated on issues like lack of adequate irrigation facility, lack of access to quality seeds, climate change leading to inadequate rainfall, cyclones ruining crops in the field, depleting quality of the soil and absence of proper marketing linkages.
The sessions in the second day of the consultation moderated by Mr.Prabhat Falibus who is an expert in the area delved deeper on specific forms of marginalization and vulnerability faced by the farmers based on their socio-economic positioning. Ms.Amrita Patil set a tone to this process by bringing in a gendered analysis which highlighted issues faced by women farmers in accessing agricultural land, assets and resources.
Ms.Sabarmati spoke about the use of traditional seeds and the need to conserve traditional seeds for reducing the dependence of the farmers in the government. She laid emphasis on exchanging seeds across communities to maintain seed sovereignty. Promoting farm based and non-farm based activities with specific focus of ensuring food security and reducing climate change vulnerability of families is one of the key strategies of IGSSS in its livelihood interventions. Similarly, Dr.Aurobindo Behera, pointed out the importance of developing a sustainable agricultural system with focus on changing climate and the economic situation of the country for the sovereignty of food security among the small scale farmers or the rural poor.
IGSSS formulated the thematic focus of the national consultation much in synergy with the years of learning and takeaways from its work with small and family farmers at the ground level. As a national level development IGSSS has actively worked towards promoting farm based and non-farm based activities with specific focus of ensuring food security and reducing climate change vulnerability of families is one of the key strategies of IGSSS in its livelihood interventions. It is very important to develop a sustainable agricultural system with focus on changing climate and the economic situation of the country for the sovereignty of food security among the small scale farmers or the rural poor. In this context IGSSS through its livelihood interventions focuses on promoting specific models within its intervention areas through its partner organizations which are associated with a similar goal.