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Farmer Organisations

This issue of LEISA India, brought together experiences of small farmers, individuals and institutions who are empowering farmers by organising them and fostering unity.

Across the globe, agriculture and those dependents on agriculture, especially the small holders and family farmers, face a number of challenges. These challenges range from production challenges like degradation of resources and climate change impacts to access to knowledge and services like inputs, credit and markets. Most often, it is impossible to overcome these challenges, individually.

Interestingly, new forms of innovative organizations and institutional arrangements have emerged to provide a response to the numerous constraints that small producers face. These arrangements are enabling farmers to not only access knowledge and services, but are also emerging as platforms for sharing, learning, strengthening their capacities, thereby empowering farmers to also influence policy makers. Primarily, they are based on the basic principles – ‘Together, we are stronger’; supported by enabling agencies believing in ‘helping those to help themselves’. This issue focuses on showcasing few such experiences which not only offer inspiration but also bountiful learnings

LEISA India | Vol. 14, no. 3 | September 2012

Table of contents:

  • 4 - 5
    No other ‘Producer’ faces more challenges than a farmer does. He has to grapple with resource degradation, uncertain and unpredictable climatic conditions, poor advisory and other support services, unfavourable policies and the priorities of the government, all resulting in making him helpless, much more than what he/she already is.
  • 6 - 8
    With a little support, poor farmers can organise themselves and improve their livelihoods through collective efforts. Vrindavan Pushpa Utpadak Sangha has shown the way.
  • 9 - 10
    By neglecting the village common water resource, fishermen in Malliyabad had lost a livelihood opportunity. By getting organised into user groups and practising community-based fish culture, the local communities have not only benefitted individually, but have also contributed towards the maintenance of common property resource of the village.
  • 11 - 13
    Small Farmers Groups (SFG) can play a very important role in managing the shrimp farms and environment. The Shrimp Farmers Association is a successful case which has been instrumental in sustaining and upscaling shrimp farming in Pattukottai taluk.
  • 14 - 15
    In 2004, the province of Aceh in Indonesia was affected by a devastating earthquake and tsunami. The impact on the rural communities was particularly harsh, exacerbating the poverty and poor living conditions caused by a long separatist conflict. Under these difficult circumstances, the network of women farmers is not only benefitting all participants, but also their families and communities.
  • 16 - 16
    The international dignitaries who left Rio de Janeiro soon after the UN Earth summit missed a remarkable grassroots movement seeking to transform rural Brazil into a more equitable and sustainable economy.
  • 17 - 19
    As a farmer, the newly appointed FAO Special Ambassador for Co-operatives, Elisabeth Atangana, is familiar with farmers’ organisations at many different levels.
  • 20 - 23
    Market access is one of the most critical linkages in farming business for the rural farm households; it is also evident that they are a prerequisite for enhancing agriculture-based economic growth and increasing rural incomes. Rural incomes will not be substantially increased by exclusive emphasis on subsistence food crop production; rather, more market-oriented production systems are needed. These require intensification of agricultural production systems, increased commercialization and specialization of production. The innovative marketing linkages through contract farming have yielded positive results.
  • 24 - 27
    Agricultural extension systems in both developed and developing countries have successfully increased the technical, economic, social, leadership skills and knowledge of farmers by helping them organize into producer and farmer groups. A new agricultural extension model in India which followed such a decentralized, bottom-up group approach, not only improved the quality of extension services being provided to the rural poor, but also encouraged full accountability and transparency within the extension system.
  • 28 - 30
    Alienation of local communities from the forests and their management has resulted in resource degradation and loss of livelihoods. Rajasthan Charwaha Vikas Sanghathan, a people’s network is a platform to help tribal communities regain their traditional rights over the forest resources.
  • 31 - 31
    From a joint family to the United Nations we have a good experience of the benefits derived of being organized. There are organized unions for every sector all over the world.
  • 32 - 33
    Access to land is the greatest limitation, especially for the poor women. The problem becomes more acute when these women are single and neglected by families, often leading to hunger and starvation. The Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective has succeeded in enabling such women to come together, pursue collective farming, produce food for the family and lead a life with dignity.
  • 34 - 35
    Sustainable diets and biodiversity | Only One Earth | Just Transitions | Banking on self-help groups | Good practices in building innovative rural institutions to increase food security | Informal Institutions and Rural Development in China
  • 36 - 36
    Farmers in North Karnataka region have organised themselves and have found solutions together in overcoming crop failures. Their initiative in including medicinal herbs in their cropping systems is paying rich dividends.
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