Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Agriculture

Welthungerhilfe India, Nepal, Bangladesh

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Photo © Christina Felschen

Key Facts

67%

of Indian Population live in rural areas (World Bank)

58%

of rural population engages in agriculture and allied sectors (National Sample Survey Organisation)

Nearly 90%

of workers are employed in the unorganized sector (National Sample Survey Organisation)

Of the 430 million youth in India, 86% drop out of school after 15 and only 2% can access formal training. According to a government survey, 13 in 100 in the 18-29 age group are unemployed. With 10 million youth entering the job market every year, the country faces a huge challenge of creating employment for them. The challenge is bigger in rural areas, where nearly 70% of the population live and depend primarily on agriculture. 65% of India’s farmers, predominantly youth, belong to small and marginal category, who in cases of poor crop, flooding or drought are often forced to work as laborers in informal sectors.

Our work

The Welthungerhilfe Skill Initiative in India therefore aims to promote Green Colleges for skill development on green trades such as sustainable farming, animal husbandry, veterinary para professionals, integrated fishery, sustainable harvesting and processing of forest produce, solar lighting etc. The training courses combine the traditional wisdom of these communities with modern scientific knowledge to help the small producers grow into `ecopreneurs’ by having better access to business development skills, entrepreneurial skills and technology, thus ensuring higher income and bringing back pride and dignity to these rural professions.

Our initiative in sustainable agriculture follows an integrated approach (Sustainable Integrated Farming Systems) where not only crops but, varied types of plants, animals, bird, fish and other aquatic flora and fauna are combined in such a way and proportion that each element helps the other; the waste of one is recycled as resource for the other to improve the whole farm production. Capacity building of farmers on farm designing and technical skills are done through Farmer Field School (FFS) – which is also a part of the Green Colleges. Improving management practices through value addition in making farmer’s cooperative for processing, distribution, certification and marketing of farm produce through and managed through Community Social Enterprises. A supportive Agro-advisory Service through SMS and Community Radio run by the farmers is now being piloted.