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.
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.
Dandu Bhulaxmi is a 56-year-old woman from Thimmapur village in Telangana, India where she lives with her husband, three sons, and her daughter. She is also a farmer – along with her husband she farms tomatoes, beans, chilies, and cabbages on a three-acre plot of land. Before joining the UNDP-funded Siddipet Horticulture Project, implemented by Tanager, Dandu and her husband struggled to produce and sell high-quality vegetables.