Grameen Foundation India, in collaboration with the Walmart Foundation, will be holding a National Conclave on Market Access for Smallholder Farmers on 23 May 2023, from 9.30 am to 5 pm at the Hyatt Regency in Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi. The conclave aims to address the challenges faced by smallholder farmers in India’s agriculture sector.
India’s economy heavily relies on agriculture, providing livelihoods to nearly half of the population. However, small and marginal farmers dominate the farming landscape, facing numerous obstacles such as limited bargaining power, inadequate access to input services, and outdated farming methods. Insufficient technology, post-harvest management facilities, and extension services further exacerbate the problem. These challenges, combined with climate change impacts, hinder farmers’ income and resilience.
To address these issues and enhance farmers’ livelihoods, the Government of India has encouraged the formation and strengthening of farmer-producer organizations (FPOs). Nevertheless, many FPOs struggle to establish profitable market linkages, particularly in new value chains. The adoption of digital tools remains slow, hindering operational efficiency and market access. Moreover, FPOs face capital constraints, gender disparities, and unmet financial service needs.
Grameen Foundation India, with support from esteemed partners such as the Walmart Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Swiss Development Corporation, GIZ, and the Government of Uttar Pradesh, is working to empower FPOs and smallholder farmers, with a focus on women. The initiatives cover 82 FPOs across 23 districts in Uttar Pradesh, directly benefiting 58,000 small and marginal farmers.
Through these efforts, significant achievements have been made in agri-based livelihoods. FPOs have experienced a remarkable 230% increase in turnover, primarily driven by improved linkages with input and output markets. Farmers have witnessed a 200% increase in the use of input services and a substantial 367% increase in output services. Notably, 82% of farmers have enhanced their negotiation abilities, demonstrating increased trust in FPOs. Progress has also been made in digitalizing data collection, with 90% of FPOs collecting farmer data. Moreover, women’s participation in FPOs has increased, leading to greater gender equality in decision-making and a shift in community perspectives.
The National Conclave on Market Access for Smallholder Farmers will bring together key stakeholders from the agricultural and FPO ecosystem. Experts from the government, private sector, agribusinesses, financial institutions, non-profit organizations, and donors will engage in insightful discussions on markets, technology, finance, and extension services. Through a combination of keynote addresses, panel discussions, interactive sessions, and the launch of informative reports, participants will contribute to finding solutions for enhancing the income and resilience of smallholder farmers, especially women.
This conclave aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Wellbeing, Gender Equality, and Decent Work and Economic Growth. It aims to foster partnerships among stakeholders committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of smallholder farmers, particularly women.