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Enhancing agricultural productivity and boosting income through expert training

Launched in April 2014, our second livelihood enterprise is now very well established and producing excellent results for our farmers. This enterprise is offered to our farmers who have access to small but unproductive plots of land. We start with soil testing and advice on crop selection. Then we train farmers in the use of bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides, some of which can be sourced locally at no cost, for example cow urine. We have witnessed stunning results in productivity for our farmers following this training, seeing their yield increase by 20-30%, directly translating to a 15-20% increase in household income. We are now working with around 500 members on AMS and have worked hard to organise them into Farmer Interest Groups (FIGs) so that they can benefit from better and cheaper supplies and also access banking facilities. The next stage is the transition to Farmer’s Producer Organisation (FPO), which affords them even greater benefits with market linkages and access to bank loans. AMS is proving to be a fully sustainable enterprise for farmers and one where there is a clear exit strategy for Shivia – once our farmers are trained and a FIG member they are no longer dependent on us.

“We are taking a holistic approach to solve the basic problems faced by small scale farmers. The first step is soil testing and, based on the results, we advise on crop selection and use of bio-fertiliszers. We also discuss pest management, focusing on bio-products, to help reduce costs and minimize loss of end produce for our farmers. We have formed a number of farmer interest groups that enable our farmers to have greater bargaining power and better market access, plus access to institutional credit and banking services, which are vital requirements for most agriculturalists to allow for business development and growth. With market linkage for agri-inputs (seeds, fertilizers and pesticides) and agri-outputs, we are able to offer our farmers all the support they need to establish a thriving enterprise that very quickly becomes sustainable.” Joe Rao, General Manager for Shivia India (Nirdhan)

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