Success Story: Navya farms okra to tackle poverty & malnutrition in Andhra Pradesh, India
Conditions in Andhra Pradesh, India can make life difficult for smallholder farmers. When drought combines with poor soil health, profits from farming can be slim. To make matters worse, to save money farmers often rely on staple crops as their only food source. These staple crops are high in carbohydrates but low in vitamins and nutrients. This lack of dietary diversity leads to malnutrition, further driving down productivity and incomes. The Andhra Pradesh Farmer Market Readiness Project (APFMRP) – implemented by Tanager – is working in Andhra Pradesh to break this vicious cycle and give farmers the opportunity to earn more money and live happier and healthier lives.
Navya is a 27 year-old farmer in Ananthapur, Andhra Pradesh. She has two sons. Before farming okra, she had never received a formal education. Farming is her way of life, one that she is proud of. However, in the past, making enough money for her family to live on was a constant struggle. “I come from a very unfortunate financial background and others even wonder how I have managed”, she says sadly.
In 2018, Navya attended a meeting at the APFMRP-supported peanut cluster. At this meeting Tanager experts were working to convince the farmers to address their income and nutrition problems with a simple – and delicious – solution: Okra. Not only is okra nutritious, but it also has a high value in the open market compared to staple crops.
With technical support from Tanager, Navya began growing and selling okra. She noticed right away the persistent demand and high market value for okra compared with the vegetables she was farming. Her profits and her personal nutritional health improved thanks to her hard work, Walmart Foundation’s vision, and Tanager’s support. Today, Navya is planning to pursue a formal education for the first time in her life.
“With the help of my husband and technical support by Tanager team from my ½ acre of land where I grow okra, I now earn nearly Rs. 8000 in 10 cuttings.”
The APFMRP project – implemented by Tanager – has reached many families like Navya’s. Since 2018, the project has targeted over 2000 peanut and red gram smallholder farmers in Andhra Pradesh. Tanager engages these farmers in every step of cultivation, from raising and providing seedlings to the final marketing of their crops. By recognizing and tapping into the connection between higher incomes and nutritional health, APFMRP is proving how farming can be profitable, and healthy, in India.