Small Farmers

Pragati Abhiyan is committed to fighting rural poverty. Pragati Abhiyan works with rural poor to develop solutions that enable them to overcome poverty themselves.

Maharashtra has very low irrigation coverage, less than 20% of its land is irrigated. Most of the farmer families own less than 10 acres (2.5 hectares) of farm plots. So the farming in the state is majorly defined by these two axis. Frequent drought spells is another aspect which affects the performance adversely.  

Changes in agricultural marketing systems and production technologies are opening opportunities for some poor farmers. Escaping poverty through high value horticulture produce is one such option. But lack of information regarding required technologies and markets remain a big hurdle. Very often rural producers have to sell cheaply during the glut that follows harvest. Yet, if rural producers were able to organize themselves, gain access to up-to-date market information then market would become a powerful ally in the effort to end poverty. Pragati Abhiyan, gathering from the experience of the field work of its team, wishes to play a market complimentary role to enable poor farmers to gain from expanding market.

Small Farmer:

  • Agriculture - Empowering Pomegranate Farmers

  • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005

    Ministry of Rural Development, India.

    महात्मा गांधी राष्ट्रीय ग्रामीण रोजगार हमी योजना

    Agriculture - Empowering Pomegranate Farmers

    One promising way for the farmers to break out of the poverty trap is a move towards horticulture. High value crops like pomegranates have the additional advantage of low water requirement. This alternative is therefore found attractive by an increasing number of small farmers in dry areas. Also, horticulture generally involves labor intensive cultivation practices resulting in the generation of local employment that benefits landless labour in the surrounding area.

    However, typically horticulture crops tend to be both knowledge and input intensive. The extension services of the state are in a poor state and have little ability to respond to the immediate needs of small farmers.  Against this back drop we have been taking up series of workshops for the pomegranate growing farmers in  - Satana tehsil in Nashik ,  Sangamner in Ahmednagar and Mohol in Solapur.

    In a three year project, with technology transfer, it was possible to increase productivity and quality while reducing the cost of production by optimising resource use. While farmers were given exposure of all types of technology, they opted for a wise and judicious mix of organic and inorganic which led to the desired results and also nurturing their natural resource base.