Since the green revolution, food production in India has increased dramatically but still there are alarming issues of food insecurity and malnutrition, particularly for more marginalised communities. The push towards market-led input intensive and production-driven agricultural practices has also seen rampant mechanisation as well as loss of the diverse food basket for small and marginal farmers. Yet still around 70% of the labour force is engaged in agriculture and related sectors.
Today we have large corporate entities making huge profits out of food while the primary producer is working at a loss, not getting prices worthy of their labour and other investments. Meanwhile, there is an even more troubled landless population who remain dependent on agriculture. In such a complex scenario it becomes pertinent to have a thorough understanding on the issues related to agriculture and related sectors.
The agricultural eco-system presents a complex web comprising farmers, consumers, companies supplying inputs (seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, machinery) as well as others involved in the processing of raw food material in the form of products for markets, with the government as regulator, balancing the interest of the producer as well as other sectors. In this web also exists a large number of small and medium enterprises involved from the level of aggregation to packaging.
Creating an Ecosystem for Sectoral Knowledge
The aim of our current ‘Ecosystem’ project is to create sectoral knowledge in the realm of agriculture and corporate citizenship with a particular focus on sustainable development. The programme envisaged creating knowledge products and sharing the learning with relevant stakeholders. The initiative has included:
– A study on corporate foundations
– Theatre productions spotlighting sustainable farming practices, reaching 1200 people in Tamil Nadu
– Identifying promising sustainable farming practices
– Exploring sustainable farming in urban spaces