Uttar Pradesh Fifth Outreach Meeting with
Farmers and other Producer Groups
Gorakhpur District, Uttar Pradesh, November 7, 2005
Total persons attended the outreach meeting – 110
The signatures collected from the rural communities for
GRANITE Uttar Pradesh document – 110
The Network of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (NEED) and GRANITE team organised a daylong outreach meeting at Campeerganj area of Gorakhpur district, on November 7, 2005. It was organised in partnership with the local grassroot pro-poor driven non-governmental organisation (NGO) Purvanchal Gramin Seva Samiti (PGSS), Gorakhpur.
Grassroot level marginal farmers, craft persons, artisans, weavers and local handicraft producers of terracotta, workers and organic disposable utensils makers as well as local media, other NGOs, government functionaries and other concerned stakeholders like women producers group, panchayat (village council) members, and self help groups (SHGs) attended the meeting.
The meeting began with the inaugural remarks of Father Gibi, Director PGSS; M P Singh, District Development Officer (DDO), Gorakhpur; Vinod Kumar (member, Vikalp NGO), Surendra, Member, GEAG and Shanu Somvanshi, Project Coordinator, GRANITE; addressed the gathering. This was followed by a group active interaction with the resource members on affirmative clarifications related to global scenario on trade and economics.
Background of the Participants
Despite having efficient skills on crafts, local handicrafts (terracotta, etc) and agro resources, most of the people are idle because of non-marketing techniques or are forced to sell their produce at very low cost. Moreover, for them, any of this produce provides them sustenance level earnings. Rich and poor disparity is high and leads to price fluctuations.
The major produce in agriculture is sugarcane, banana, rice, etc. They are very well skilled in weaving interior sheets and dress materials item but less availability and high rates of electricity, thread and other inputs is a major problem. Soil is fine and suitable to make terracotta stuffs and people are highly skilled too. Due to lack of capital and marketing avenues, they are forced to sell their produce to middlemen. Even though they may perform colossal production, then also their economic condition is minimal, which led them to become a labour rather than to become entrepreneur.
The basic problem is high costs of inputs:
- terracotta workers pay huge sum of money to get good soils; and
- handicrafts people get expensive thread, etc.
Despite having varieties of indigenous skills, their living condition is miserable. They are unable to get opportunities (selling and technical producing) and space in the market due to skilled and rich middlemen, lack of electricity and high cost inputs available in the region. Lack of awareness on value added products and processing, packaging techniques are the problems.
The objective of the meeting was to bring all the marginal producers of agriculture, weavers (textiles), clay workers and other producer groups to a common platform, to share and discuss the opportunities and challenges in textiles, agriculture, agro-allied, clay handicrafts and other information and opinions related to trade.
Highlights of the discussions
- Father Jibi, PGSS addressed the objectives of the meeting.
- Shanu Somvanshi, Project Coordinator, GRANITE discussed the objectives of GRANITE and the impact of WTO on marginal producers.
- MP Singh, DDO, shared the relevant and implemented government schemes beneficial for marginal producers.
- Surendra, Member, GEAG, discussed the plights and potential of marginal weavers.
- Vinod, Member, Vikalp NGO, discussed the ill effects of pesticides and chemicals and benefits of organic farming.
- Savitri Rai, Secretary, Ankit Seva Sansthan shared the problem of marketing and middlemen.
- Farmers require an awareness session on the value added products.
- Demand for availability of fertilizers at reasonable prices.
- Soil testing procedure and centre.
- High demand for high variety seed at near centre at rational prices.
- Lack of awareness on rural credit, insurance schemes.
- Price fluctuation and low rate of return.
- Lack of Infrastructure facility and technical skills.
- Soaring middlemen role.
- Marketing avenues and technology centre need to get promoted.
Textiles and Clay Work (Terracotta)
- High cost and less availability of materials like thread, etc.
- Lack of packaging and grading techniques and their implementation.
- Lack of marketing avenues.
- Lack of infrastructure facility.
- Lack of technical infrastructure facility.
- Terracotta products maker has to pay high price for clay.
- Lack of export procedure awareness.
- Proper demand and supply implementation mechanism.
- Advertising to promote trade.
- Promote fair wages and other environmental and health safety measures.
- Regular update information on trade and economics.
- Value added skill upgradation.
It is on this endeavour, NEED had organised the outreach meeting at the grassroots, by inviting farmers, weavers and other rural producer groups from the rural areas, to listen, understand and share the existing pro-poor driven issues, challenges and concern with respect to the prime focus on trade and economics related problems