Centre for Sustainable Agriculture ( CSA)

Project Theme

Small Holder Agriculture & Climate Change

Target Group


Project Period

01 Jul 2015 - 29 Jun 2016

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Small and marginal farmers with operational holdings below 4.0 hectares (ha) constitute 93.6% of the operational holdings covering 62.96% of the operational area in India as per the 2001 Census. These smallholders have their own identifiable disadvantages and vulnerabilities in terms of their socio-economic background in the Indian context as well as access to agricultural support systems and services from the State. The dominant policy discourse terms small holder agriculture as unviable, inefficient and unproductive. The investments by the government in the form of subsidies, institutions built to support, credit, marketing and technology support systems have not helped the Smallholder farmers. The 2011 census data shows that the number of people depending on agriculture is coming down and the numbers of agricultural workers are increasing.  Between 2001 and 2011 the number of farm families who moved out of the farming are about 150 lakhs. One of the reasons behind the struggle facing by the small farmers is the lack of proper infrastructure support; it is observed that proportional investments on agriculture are coming down. The total share of agriculture in the union budget was about 18% in 1980s and today it has come down to about 2% where as the number of people depending on agriculture have only reduced marginally.  Even in the investments made in agriculture, they are highly skewed towards large farms, irrigated agriculture.  The rainfed farming and small holder agriculture are completely neglected.  The support to small farm machinery has come down and large chunks of subsidies are diverted to heavy farm machinery like harvesters, laser guided levellers etc.  Hence, it is a need to take stock of these changes and analyse their impacts on small holder agriculture and campaign on how the public investments can be redesigned to support small holder agriculture particularly in the rainfed areas.

The crisis in Indian agriculture is threatening the existence of small and marginal farmers. The rapid increase in the costs of cultivation due to excessive dependency on external inputs has not only caused deep economic crisis but led to serious ecological crisis. The increased monocultures of crops due lack of proper advisory and technical support services to farmers, and changing weather situations  also have increased the risk of crop failures. Experiences of Centre for Sustainable Agriculture in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh (current AP and Telangana) and Maharashtra have shown that the situation can be reversed if proper and regular technical support can be provided for the farmers groups on agro-ecological approaches.  The CSA works in building community resource persons/field staff and equip them with proper resource material who in turn can provide trainings to farmers and help them to adopt sustainable agricultural practices. CSA’s work in Andhra Pradesh on Non Pesticidal Management has spread into more than 35 lakh acres and CSA won Best Rural Innovation Award in ‘2nd Bihar Rural Innovation Forum’ in 2014. Similarly, the ‘Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture’ model in Maharashtra has won Best Rural Innovation Award in ‘Maharashtra Rural Livelihoods Innovation Forum’ in 2014.

About the Project: The project with the support of Oxfam India started on this aspect from 2013 onwards. In the last 2 cycles the project has been able to evolve a strong national platform to discuss issues concerning small holder farmers. In the beginning consultation meetings were held with likeminded organisations and farmer groups. To strengthen the process CSA published a bulletin named Rythu Mitra. The various issues of Rythu Mitra focused on various aspects pertaining to farming. This was done in 2013-14. However, nationally there was a demand by other groups to receive similar publications. Hence, CSA started a portal named eKrishi and started putting the information. The scope of eKrishi was also much larger and it provided information on policies as well as production practices. In 2014-15 CSA is converting the portal as Krishi TV. It is proposed that the project will collect secondary data at the state and national levels; analyse the data and put out on a dedicated website. The secondary data analysis will be supplemented by primary data collected from the farmers and agriculture department officials. CSA will take the responsibility of collecting the secondary data both for the states and at the national level. As regard primary data CSA will collect the primary data in the states of Andra Pradesh and Telengana. In states like Odisha and Chattisgarh OXFAM partners will be involved in primary data collection. 


Results to be Achieved / Impact: 

  1. Analysis of budgetary investments in agriculture and their impact on small holder agriculture
  2. To study the investments in agricultural research and their contribution to smallholder agriculture.
  3. To analyse the Rastriya Krishi Vikas Yoajana and Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) programs and their contribution to small holder agriculture
  4. Form a network of likeminded organizations and keep updating them with small analysis on agriculture situations so that effective advocacy happens at the respective state level.


Outcomes: We have so far achieved (Achievements):

  1. Tracking of agriculture investment done through RKVY scheme in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra to analyze whether the benefit of PPP ( Public- Private – Partnership) promoted by this agriculture scheme is reaching to small farmers or not.
  2. A documentation of Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture Practice promoted in Andhra Pradesh by non government organization and expanded by Andhra Pradesh Government to understand sustainability and replicability of these practices
  3. A kit on Sustainable Agriculture Practices