In India, Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Farmer Producer Groups (FPGs) are important mechanisms for smallholder farmers to organize their efforts, receive valuable training, connect to buyers of their produce, reduce the influence of pernicious middlemen, and increase income. Tanager’s expertise in the support and growth of FPOs has helped tens of thousands of farmers improve their social and economic outcomes. However, as valuable as engagement with FPOs is for smallholder farmers, many of these organizations still face a persistent problem of gender-inequality – especially at the leadership level.
Today is National Farmers Day in India, an important time to reflect on the plight of the rural farmer and examine how Tanager is working to improve social and economic conditions in rural communities. In the Indian economy agricultural accounts for 18% of the country’s GDP, employing roughly 50% of the country’s workforce. In most of the cases farmers in India work less than an acre of land and rarely own more than 2 acres. These smallholder farmers face a unique set of challenges that Tanager works to address through our co-created projects in India. To understand how Tanager co-creates projects help to improve economic and social outcomes for these farmers, we must first understand the challenges of smallholder farming in India.
2019 was a year of incredible achievement and impact for the people, communities, and businesses that Tanager works with across the globe. With activities that positively impact over 105 thousand people worldwide, Tanager’s work won multiple awards, we collaborated on leading industry reports on sustainable agriculture, increased women’s market inclusion across the continent of Africa, improved nutrition outcomes for households, and continued to be an industry leader in the field of sustainable agriculture.
Rathalavath Vijalaxmi is a smallholder farmer from Dachakpally village in Telangana, India. She farms three acres of land along with her husband and three sons. As a young farmer cultivating vegetables like tomatoes, okra, beans, ridge gourds, and chili, Rathalavath often struggles to earn enough from selling her crops to make ends meet for her family. Prior to becoming involved in the Siddipet Horticulture Project, her farm produced an average yield of five to six metric tons.
Tanager and Mars presented a webinar on the design and implementation of the Shubh Mint Project for The Living Income Community of Practice, hosted by the Sustainable Food Lab.
Usha Devi is a mint farmer in Mubarkapur village in Zaidpur cluster of Barabanki District in India. She is also a project participant in the co-created Shubh Mint Project. For Usha, Shubh Mint provides more than an economic lifeline, it empowers her to improve a difficult living situation.
For much of the world, the real face of poverty is a smallholder farmer. According to the FAO, of the 2.5 billion people living directly from food or agriculture sectors in poor countries, 1.5 billion of them are smallholder farmers, with about 65% of those living in extreme poverty and over 50% being classified as moderate poor (1). Recent SDG 1 projections indicate that 6% of the world’s population will still be living in extreme poverty in 2030 if current trends continue.
How do we bridge the gap towards achieving an end to poverty?
Tanager, through the Walmart Foundation-funded Andhra Pradesh Farmer Market Readiness Project, introduced Kinubudi and his Farmer Producer Group to MFN and provided training on how to use the app to connect to buyers. The MFN app is simple to use. With a few clicks, sellers upload what they have to offer allowing the buyers to then bid on the produce. Farmers select the buyer offering the best price. The Farmers Producer Group then collects the produce in bulk and delivers it to the buyer, saving the farmer even more time.
Jayesh Bhai Jaman Bhai Bhakkad is a 41-year-old farmer from Thanapipli, Junagadh, Gujarat (western India). For 24 years, Jayesh farmed cash crops like cotton, peanuts, and vegetables using traditional farming methods. Last year, Jayesh began noticing a decline in his output and income, due in part to a fungus that was attacking his peanut crop. In response, he sought out training programs from a local university, spent INR 6000 on pesticides to combat the unknown virus that was yellowing his normally green peanut plants. However, despite Jayesh’s efforts in applying the pesticide and taking classes from the local university, his crop continued to wilt.
In June of 2018, Agribusiness Systems International (ASI) changed its name to Tanager and launched a new visual brand and website. Tanager – a species of bird identified by Charles Darwin for its unique ability to manipulate tools with its beak and adapt to different environments – was chosen to represent an organization that refines its approaches and techniques to help life-changing economic and social opportunities take flight. Those qualities of adaptation and innovation are reflected in the impact we have had in the last year.