Inclusive organic agriculture farming for all, with approximately half being persons with disabilities
- CBM - Christoffel Blind Mission India
- Country of Implementation
- Asia & Pacific
- South Asia
- Start Year
- First published
“I was the first woman with a disability to join the farmers’ group in my village, and at that point I started working towards becoming independent and taking on the role of the ‘man’ of the house!” Ms. Maya Devi, organic farmer
India’s largest source of livelihood is agriculture, and people with disabilities often have a hard time joining this work force due to a lack of adequate training and support.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
CBM cooperates with local partners across six states of India to train farmers, including people with disabilities, in organic farming and in supporting them by providing community loans for the procurement of equipment and machines, beekeeping boxes, and livestock. Farmers are trained in a variety of organic practices, such as vermicomposting, creating poly-houses, processing species, and harvesting honey. The produce is certified organic and the farmers are connected to producer groups to facilitate production, harvest, and sales. Farmers with and without disabilities work together and in inclusive self-help groups (SHGs), where they contribute part of their monthly income to a general pool so as to create a fund from which members can borrow as needed, such as for supporting their healthcare, education, and housing.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
In the four years from 2012 to 2016, the project has incurred a cost of approximately US$1.24 million. During this period, CBM has established partnerships with seven organizations, and has spread the project from two to six states in India. Within the next three years, CBM and its partners expect to become a self-sustaining agricultural value chain.
THE STORY OF MAYA, SHOP OWNER SELLING ORGANIC PRODUCE
On the path to economic security, and a strong voice in the community.
Maya, 36, is a single mother of four children and the family’s bread winner. Poliomyelitis infection at the age of five affected her with neuromuscular paralysis, taking away her ability to stand or walk independently. Maya also lost her husband to tuberculosis, and the responsibility of four children then fell solely upon her. With no marketable skills, finances, or assets, and with only a fifth-standard education, Maya appeared to have no income-generating opportunities. But today Maya is part of a disability-inclusive organic agro-enterprise project, supported by CBM, the international Christian development organization. Maya is also a budding shop-owner, processing locally grown organic produce. Specifically, she has been trained in the marketing and packaging of organic spices that are grown by her and other farmers. One of the main features of the project is that of bringing individuals and the community together so that they can access government schemes designed for the poor and for people with disabilities. The livelihood project has not only set Maya on the path to economic and food security but it has also established her as a strong voice in the community.