Promoting Sustainable Farming
For small-scale farmers in India, it has become increasingly difficult to earn a living. They rely on agricultural businesses for their seeds and fertilisers, and have to compete with big industrial farms. While the agricultural sector is still the largest concerning workforce, its share in India’s economy keeps shrinking. Moreover, the distribution of the revenue becomes increasingly unequal and individual farmers impoverish while the agro-industry grows. In combination with the decline of government subsidies and the effects of climate change, this development leaves many farmers with few alternatives but to give up agriculture. Often, they migrate into an uncertain future in India’s industrial centres to work there under precarious conditions. Others even choose to take their own lives to escape the trap of debt and hunger.
Our partner, Focus on the Global South (FoGS), supports small-scale farmers and advocates for a change in public opinion and policy, so that sustainable forms of agriculture become more viable for the farmers. Such alternative forms of agriculture could preserve the farmers’ independence from international companies and contributes to environmental protection. FoGS also works together with policy makers, farmers’ unions and civil society institutions and encourages them to increase the public awareness about alternative methods and policies of sustainable agriculture.
In our joint project, FoGS organises workshops, seminars and training sessions for farmers and activists. The workshops aim at strengthening their understanding of possible challenges to small scale agriculture in the form of free-trade treaties, contract farming, public-private partnerships, and climate smart agriculture. Secondly, participants attain practical skills and knowledge how to implement alternative techniques like agro-ecological farming on their own land. Furthermore, FoGS publishes a range of information brochures and booklets for organisations working on agricultural issues, as well as activists on the grassroots level. This makes it easier for them as well as the workshops’ participants to act as multipliers of agricultural knowledge and reach a wider audience all over India.
Focus on the Global South was established in 1995 in Bangkok. Today, it has offices in Thailand, the Philippines and India. The organisation combines policy research, advocacy, activism and grassroots capacity building in order to generate critical analysis of social developments and encourage debates within the society. Its work focuses on the social and environmental impact of industrial agriculture and resource extraction, but also militarisation as well as global trade and financial policies. The publications supported by RLS can be found online.