How can we empower smallholder farmers to access markets for their products?
Smallholder farmers, who comprise 75% of India’s cultivators, are critical to the government’s aim to double farmer incomes by 2022. Two critical levers to meet this target are finance and access to markets. There are also various impediments that prevent accessibility to these, including: regressive policies, infrastructure constraints, lack of technical know-how and information, credit and insurance. Cultural norms may also be additional barriers, especially if they impede women farmers. Athena’s exploratory market study in Eastern Uttar Pradesh aims to understand the ecosystem for smallholder farmers. A mixed research methodology will help with addressing various stakeholders, including farmers, market traders, food processors, extension service providers, local bureaucrats and policy-makers. The data from this study will help identify and recommend interventions to help farmers move from subsistence to pre-commercial/commercial farming.