India: Stakeholder Consultation on Smallholder friendly integrated farming system model

Caritas India, in coordination with her local implementing partners, Manav Vikas Seva Sangh (MVSS) & Jabalpur Diocesan Social Service Societies (JDSSS) organised district level multi-stakeholder partnership meeting on 27th, 29th & 30th of May at Mandla, Vidisha & Sagar on Integrated Farming System (IFS) to enhance dialogue among civil societies organisations, agriculture research, extension agencies & academic institutions to have a more inclusive & responsive smallholder friendly action research.

The Integrated Farming System (IFS) is a process of change in the farming practices to maximise the farm production while taking care of optimal utilisation of existing farm resources in a integrated manner while reducing the input cost and build connections among all farm components suited to the given agro-climatic conditions and socio-economic status of small-farm-families to bring local food production, income, nutrition and resilience to the changing climatic conditions. Stakeholders like Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK – Regional Agriculture Research Stations), Department of Agriculture, Department of Horticulture, Agriculture Training and Management Agency (ATMA), Department of Animal Husbandry, Agriculture College, Regional Agriculture University, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and Civil Societies working with smallholder farmers (SHF) in the context of climate change were part of the discussion.

Increase in production is necessary but not enough alone to deal with the present scenario of smallholder’s food requirements and leads to end hunger. Agriculture, in the future have a low social and environmental impact, multi-functional and resilient to climate change. Hence, Productivity need to be integrated with diversity, efficiency and with low external inputs. Focusing more on the aspect to access healthy and culturally appropriate local food which to be produced through ecologically sound and sustainable practices inclusive of their rights to define their own food as farming systems are highly depended on the external actors in the present scenario.

The central focus was given more towards the restoration of traditional seeds (Field crop – local climate-resilient varieties) and improved livestock management practices as a key to IFS. While sharing the primary data findings of respective districts, stakeholders realised the importance/role of integration of ecosystem services through agroecological techniques to enhance farm productivity instead of crop productivity alone by enabling/recycling all existing farm components to help SHF to achieve local food and nutritional security.

Further to this, Caritas India SAFBIN team discussed on potential integrated farming system models for smallholder farmers in the context of SAFBIN (Production, Income, Nutrition, Resilience and Farmer control). South Asia Regional Enablers (SARE) team also joined the multi-stakeholder partnership meeting at Mandla to witness the proceeding and provided necessary input for strengthening the collaboration between the stakeholders.