British Asian Trust launches initiative to support farmers in India, following results of a new study….reports Asian Lite News
The British Asian Trust launched its new Rural Livelihoods Fund to address the issues faced by smallholder farmers in India, following the findings of its recent study.
HRH The Prince of Wales, Founder and President of the British Asian Trust, hosted a high level meeting at Clarence House to discuss the outcomes of a new report commissioned by the charity, on rural livelihoods in India.
Nearly 200 million people in rural India live in poverty and most of them are smallholder farmers. In fact, India has 25% of the world’s small farms – 118 million in all – and more than 50% of Indians rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.
A majority of Indian smallholders’ farmers are trapped in poverty, earning less than $1.25 per day, with a significant proportion of them being women.
The Trust’s initiative will put farmers at the forefront of improving rural livelihoods in India. Each farmer supported by the British Asian Trust will be a powerful and valuable partner in the efforts to guarantee India’s future food security and reduce poverty across the country.
Through a combination of funding, expertise, partnerships and thought leadership from the private and not-for-profit sectors, the fund aims to:
- Improve farmer incomes by enabling better access and links to market
- Train farmers and agriculture workers in processing and packaging skills, to boost product value
- Look at innovative solutions to scale up rural livelihoods work across India.
The roundtable discussion at Clarence House brought together government, private sector, NGOs, agricultural thought-leaders as well as representatives from the Anthony Pratt Foundation, which has supported the launch of the fund with a $1 million donation.
Richard Hawkes, CEO, British Asian Trust said, “It is incredibly exciting that The British Asian Trust is entering a new phase of strategic work to support one of India’s most vital sectors. In a country rich with creative and dynamic solutions to its own challenges, we have the opportunity to support locally led solutions to drive the most meaningful change for India’s smallholder farmers.
“By scaling proven solutions, testing innovative approaches and creating powerful partnerships, we are well poised to reduce poverty and make a truly transformative difference to the challenges facing India’s smallholder farmers”, he added.
The event also highlighted the ‘Loop’ initiative which was launched in 2015 by the British Asian Trust’s partner Digital Green. The initiative was launched in Bihar and aims to directly raise farmers’ incomes by enabling better links to markets. Loop uses innovative technology to help farmers aggregate their produce to reduce costs and realize higher prices.
The Loop project works to create greater market access and improve transaction efficiency for farmers at a few targeted, key points in the value chain in order to create higher net earnings for their households.
Presenting at the event, Rikin Gandhi, CEO, Digital Green said: “I am delighted that the British Asian Trust is investing in innovative solutions to address the issues faced by small holder farmers in India. The Trust’s support will enable us to scale our approach to connect farmers with one another and access markets in the most challenging, drought prone areas of the country.”
For more information on the British Asian Trust’s Rural Livelihoods Fund and Report, please visit www.britishasiantrust.org