Success Story: Working towards healthy diets for smallholder farmers in India

Tanager is committed to helping smallholder farmers access a nutritious and diverse diet. To that end, in India, Tanager is working with Self-Help Groups as part of the Shubh Mint program to encourage households to adopt the use of kitchen gardens to improve household nutrition, including advice on starting and managing their gardens and providing on-going support as the gardens are developed. Currently, there are around 700 smallholder farmers who have raised kitchen gardens, growing 5 types of seasonal vegetables with the support of Tanager’s extension teams and Self-Help Group supervisors.

To better understand the impact of kitchen gardens on project participants, and with respect to the current government restrictions put in place to combat COVID-19, Tanager conducted a rapid assessment over the phone with participants from 26 villages across three Shubh Mint clusters in Barabanki and Lucknow.

The results of the rapid assessment are encouraging: The vast majority of those interviewed reported that by spending just a half an hour each day, they can grow and provide  more nutritious, organic vegetables for their household. Some farmers have reported being able to sell these vegetables to their neighbors. While in about one third of the cases, the kitchen garden was managed solely by women; in other cases, it is a family affair where men as well as other family members are involved. Almost everyone was appreciative of the fact that their kitchen garden proved to be immensely helpful in mitigating the effects of the lockdown, which has severely limited market accessibility.