In-Depth Jobs


Volume-7

Tribal Livelihood Business Incubation Scheme for Developing Farmers as Entrepreneurs

K. P. Singh, Amit Kataria, D.S. Thakur, Beena Singh and Kapil Dev Deepak

After attaining Independence in 1947, major emphasis by the Government of India was laid on achieving self –sufficiency in food production especially in cereals. After the Green Revolution in the sixties, it however, becomes clear that horticulture, for which the Indian topography and agro-climate are well suited, is an ideal method of achieving sustainability of small holdings. However, the need for diversification was acknowledged by Government of India only in mid- eighties to make agriculture more profitable, through efficient land use; create skillful employment for rural masses and women, and optimize the utilization of natural resources (Soil, water and environment).
The total geographic area of Chhattisgarh is 13.79 million hectares, out of which the land forests occupies 4.47 million ha (32.44%). Forest area in Bastar Plateau is the highest (42.7%), followed by Northern Hills (36.4%) and Chhattisgarh Plains (26.6%). However, the net sown area is inversely proportional to the forest area. Barren land is also high (3.5 lakh ha) and it is the highest in Chhattisgarh Plains (1.4 lakh ha) followed by Northern Hills (1.24 lakh ha) and Bastar Plateau (0.85 lakh ha). The total cultivated area of the State is about (47.70 lakh ha). The population of the state is predominantly rural. The rural population constitutes about 82.61 % of the state. Tribal and scheduled caste population constitutes about 31.13 and 22.32 % of the state. Tribal and scheduled castes population, alongwith economically backward classes have significant economic and cultural dependence on the forests of the state. They derive livelihood security from the forests of the state. The percentage of rural population is above 90% in Bastar, Kanker, Dantewada and Bijapur districts, the tribal dominated districts of the State. Chhattisgarh has abundant mineral resources. The presence of vast deposits of coal, iron, limestone, diamond, etc. has made the State a favourite destination for flow of investments. The State accounts for production of about 40% of total cement production in the country. The major crops grown in the State are cereals (Paddy, Kado-Kutki, Maize, and Wheat), pulses (Gram, Tiwra) and oilseeds (Ramtil, linseed and mustard). Food grains including pulses account for 84.60% of the area sown in the State.
The major problem faced by Chhattisgarh is conversion of paddy fields to other enterprises and drastic decrease in paddy areas, which had made many agricultural labourers especially the women, jobless. Moreover, leveling of flood channels in paddy fields started inducing flood problems in different parts of the State, which aggravated ground water depletion during summer. The combined effect of environmental and farm degradation, mono-cropping, less usage of organic components in farming, have led to reduction of agriculture production in the State as a whole and it had become high time for the extension agencies to take up alternative cultivation approaches.
Bastar District has a total geographical area of 1010.288 (‘000 ha) where in the cultivated area is 52.189 (‘000 ha) while forest area compresses of 238.8 (‘000 ha). The huge amount of diversity, flora and availability of the land is available in Bastar, but the farmer’s income is not sufficient versus national level or state level. This is due to lack of advances technologies, lack of technical knowledge, motivation and poor capacity of holdings like irrigation facility, agriculture equipments and other inputs.
Fruits and vegetables account for nearly 90% of the total horticulture production in the country. India is now the second largest producer of vegetables in the world and is the leader in several horticultural crops, namely mango, banana, papaya, cashew nut, arecanut, potato, and okra (lady’s finger). However, the nature of horticultural crops is such that it is not easy to make assessment of their production. These crops, especially vegetables, are grown in small plots, fields, or in the back of the houses, and they do not have single point of harvesting in most of the cases which makes their assessment difficult. Many horticultural crops have multiple pickings in a single season. Similarly, many fruit trees are scattered, which do not count for assessment. In view of above difficulties several research studies were taken up by agricultural scientists in the past.
The District Administration has critically reviewed the real situations which are responsible to create such situation for poor status of the farmers of Bastar. Moreover, the authorities were worried, how to overcome from this situation. With these facts it was decided to formulate TLBI programme so as to focus on practical’s to assess the fruitfulness of this programme. Agricultural sector provide means of livelihood for more than 65 per cent of rural populations of India. This sector is still using age old technologies for the production of various crops. Realizing the need of new technologies, like mechanization, processing for modernization District Administration through its allied departments has developed TLBI.
The TLBI is a curriculum based approach to extension aimed at building farmers’ entrepreneurial capacity. Learning takes place in the context of the participants’ farming businesses and takes place. The TLBI aim to help farmers learn how to make their farming enterprises and operations profitable and to be able to respond to market demands. It helps farmers learn and increase knowledge, change attitudes and develop the skills needed for profitable farming – while working on farms. The TLBI programme is farm-based with practical exercises conducted at different times of the production season. The learning programme is designed to match the activities of the farm season and gradually build and reinforce farmers’ skills and competencies. In the TLBI programme learning is recognised as a process that requires time for skills to be developed. The knowledge and skills learned are made to match the knowledge and skills actually needed in the various stages of development of the farm business.
Small-scale farmers all over the world have shown a remarkable ability to adapt. They look for better ways to organise their farms. They try new crops and cultivars, better animals, and alternative technologies to increase productivity, diversify production, reduce risk – and to increase profits. They have become more marketoriented and have learned to take calculated risks to open or create new markets for their products. Many small-scale farmers have many of the qualities of an entrepreneur.
Smallholder farmers usually cultivate crops for one of four reasons:
*Exclusively for home consumption with rarely any surpluses produced;
*Mostly for home consumption, but with the intention of selling surpluses on the market;
*Partly for the market and partly for home consumption; or
*Exclusively for the market.
Goals and motives for farming:
*Farming Exclusively for the Market
*Farming Primarily for the Market with Some Home Consumption
*Farming Primarily for Home Consumption Marketing Surplus
*Farming Exclusively for Home Consumption
On the first step farmers who farm exclusively for home consumption. If there is a surplus, they will sell it on the market, but this is very rare. Often these farmers are struggling with the basic survival of themselves and their families. They usually lack security in terms of health, water, food and shelter. They are rarely in the position to commit their minds and bodies to entrepreneurial tasks. While they may be entrepreneurial in spirit, they usually lack the opportunity to farm as entrepreneurs.
On the second step are farmers who have greater opportunities that allow them to produce beyond just surviving. These opportunities are still very limited. However, by changing their resource mix and overcoming access and risk issues, opportunities can be expanded. Such farmers are sometimes viewed as ‘pre-entrepreneurial’, requiring support to move into a more independent position. At this level the farmers are not ‘entrepreneurs’ in the true sense and neither are they truly market-oriented. They have a greater appreciation of the market and have expanded their survival farming to include some economic activities. They are just starting out on the path towards developing profit-driven farming businesses. These farmers do yet see their farms as businesses. Long-term investment is not yet a priority. They are hesitant about diversifying to higher value products. They are comfortable selling surpluses of their food crops. Shifting to cash crops is too extreme and involves risks that they are not willing to take.
Farmers as entrepreneurs
Farmer-entrepreneurs see their farms as a business. They see their farms as a means of earning profits. They are passionate about their farm business and are willing to take calculated risks to make their farms profitable and their businesses grow.
The entrepreneurial environment
Farmer-entrepreneurs operate in a complex and dynamic environment. They are a part of larger collection of people including farmers, suppliers, traders, transporters, processors and many others. Each of these has a role to play in producing products and moving them through to the market – through the value chain. Each one needs to be an entrepreneur. They also need to respect each other and work together to make the whole system work better and be more profitable.
Modern practices:
Table: 01 Costs and benefits (acre) of different crops grown under TLBI programme at College of Horticulture and Research Station.
 
Crop- Chilli
Cost of cultivation-18623
Yield (Q/acre)- 90           
Gross income (Rs.) (at the lowest price)-45000 (@ Rs.5/kg)                                         
Market price range (Rs.)- 5 - 15/kg
 
Crop- Okra
Cost of cultivation-16437
Yield (Q/acre)- 40           
Gross income (Rs.) (at the lowest price)-24000 (@ Rs.6/kg)                         
Market price range (Rs.)- 6 - 15/kg
 
Crop- Cauliflower
Cost of cultivation-20850
Yield (Q/acre)- 12955 flower
Gross income (Rs.) (at the lowest price)-64775 (@ Rs. 5/flower)                               
Market price range (Rs.)- 5 - 15/flower
                               
Crop- Radish
Cost of cultivation-6000
Yield (Q/acre)- 70
Gross income (Rs.) (at the lowest price)-21000  
Market price range (Rs.)- 3 /kg 
                                               
Entrepreneurship dynamics
But beyond this, successful farmer-entrepreneurs are technically competent, innovative and plan ahead so they can steer their farm businesses through the stages of enterprise development – from establishment and survival to rapid growth and maturity. However, there are many challenges that these farmers face social barriers, economic barriers, regulations, access to finance and information, and their own managerial capacity to cope with risks and changes and to seize opportunities.
TLBI is aimed at promoting scientific technologies for enhancing Tribal Livelihoods in the fields of Horticulture, Agriculture, Fisheries and Veterinary.
At TLBI an incubatee was provided with resources like half an acre of land, seeds, cattle and water for a season. They were practically exposed to market and conservation practices. Their resident was at FTC in order they could expose themselves to the best of R&D in the field of horticulture and allied activities. After completion of incubation period they were provided technical support and handholding to face the market situations thereby transforming themselves into future entrepreneurial champions.
TLBI’s first batch had thirty incubatee’s in the field of Horticulture, Agriculture, Fisheries, Veterinary and Integrated Farming System. TLBI as a whole was a combined effort of Agri-allied departments from Horticulture College, Agriculture College and Krishi Vigyan Kendra Jagdalpur.
Conventional practices:
Under conventional practice generally farmers grow locally available varieties with check basin or furrow method of irrigation. Standard practices of nutrient and plant protection measures are rarely adopted.
Most of the money in farming is made after farmers sell their product. TLBI farmers actively look for ways to capture the added value within the value chain. This will increase profits. In TLBI training farmers processed the radish and made Badi. Badi is supplied in the market and it gained popularity and gave more income as compared fresh radish because of value addition. The shelf life of the value added product is one year.
TLBI is the best example of farmer field school that takes place at field level in college fields here they can gain knowledge, critical skills and self-confidence to make decisions about farm management based on their own observations and experience. The groups usually meet and are encouraged to write up the results of their experiments and discussions to present to other groups. This approach has primarily been used to develop and spread technology.
TLBI farmers see the need to more than focus on production alone. They understand the vital need to develop their farm business management skills.
*Marketing
*Risk Management
*Financial Management
*Labour Management
Above all, a rational, integrated approach to management in all these areas is needed to ensure profitability and competitiveness.
Dr. Krishan Pal Singh is Assistant Professor/Scientist, College of Horticulture and Research Station, IGKV, Jagdalpur, Bastar – 494001,
Email:- drkpsingh2010@gmail.com
Amit Kataria is Collector, Government of Chhattisgarh, Jagdalpur, Bastar – 494001
Dr. D.S. Thakur is Dean, College of Horticulture and Research Station, IGKV, Jagdalpur, Bastar – 494001
Dr. (Smt) Beena Singh is Assistant Professor/Scientist, SGCARS, IGKV, Jagdalpur, Bastar – 494001
Kapil Dev Deepak is Deputy Director Agriculture, Department of Agriculture, Jagdalpur, Bastar – 494001
Image: Courtesy Google