Uttar Pradesh Fourth Outreach Meeting with
Farmers and other Producer Groups
Chandranagar, Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, October 29, 2005
Total persons attended the outreach meeting – 175
The signatures collected from the rural communities for
GRANITE Uttar Pradesh document – 155
The GRANITE-UP team organised one-day outreach meeting at Chandranagar (Jhansi), in partnership with a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) Margshree Charitable Trust (MCT), on October 29, 2005.
The outreach meeting was an attempt to reachout to the diverse land and craft region of UP villages and make out and assemble the information associated with their daily problems faced by them while performing their economic activities.
The Network of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (NEED) is the CUTS partner in implementation of the GRANITE project in the state of Uttar Pradesh. MCT is a grassroot NGO of Jhansi, which is associated with NEED and works on varied socio-economic issues. As the socio-economic condition of Jhansi to a certain extent is dissimilar to other regions of UP, where the previous three-outreach meetings were held, the fourth meeting was organised at Jhansi to get a picture of the complete state.
The meeting was attended by a large numbers of farmers and other producer groups including cultivators, artisans, peasants, local self help groups (SHGs), associations, clusters, panchayat (village council) members, craft persons, women producer groups and other stakeholders including local media of the block. More than 70 percent women attended the meeting. The meeting began with the inaugural remarks of D S Yadav, Director, MCT. Subsequently, Anant Tewari, Director, Pragyati Seva Sanasthan; Jhansi, Sudha, Member, Adarsh Gramin Vikas Seva Sansthan; Santosh Chawdhary, Lecturer, Jhansi University; Rajni Jain, Advocate, G S Das, School Master; and Usha, ward member, Village Pradhan (head of a cluster of villages) of Chandranagar addressed the gathering. Shanu Somvanshi, Development Manager, NEED, gave a description on GRANITE project and its objectives as well as relevance at the grassroots level.
An interactive session was organised where all the participants including women group who actively participated and shared the problems, difficulties and other constructive information on agriculture and textiles sectors.
Background of the participants
The farmers and other producer group can easily be categorised at marginal level. There is a wide schism between rich and the poor. High ratio of the land is concrete and the soil is red with low level of groundwater. Jhansi is bestowed with varieties of oil containing crops for agro value-added produce and indigenous crops containing fibres for making value-added craft products. This included groundnut, til, soyabean and medicinal plants (jatropha, isabgol, satawar, Ashwagandha, chandrasool), indigenous craft raw material from which basket and other related products can be made (amai, sain, plash, khajoor, gotra and kaas).
Equivalent to other rural areas, the common producer groups have been neglected on several fronts. The reason behind their poor condition in this global age, is non-adaptability
or non-reachability of updated knowledge and skills in marketing, infrastructure facility at the grassroot level. In spite of contributing long number of hours and hard work, they live at sustenance level. There is no direct access to market, trade information and infrastructure facilities.
The objective of the meeting was to provide the marginal farmers, craft persons and other stakeholders a common platform so that they can easily share their livelihood related difficulties, opinions and discusses the opportunities, challenges and threat of indigenous skills, produces and market. The aim was also to gather grassroots level information and statements which can enable in placing the documents in front of State Government heads for State Trade Policy Council (STPC).
Highlights of the Discussion
Director, MCT who shared the objectives of the meeting, started the session.
A Tiwari (PSS), talked about the indigenous crops nucleus problem .The farmers, craft workers and other producers groups faced the problem of poor earning due to corporate and middlemen alliance, non-adaptability of government policies. He motivated them to adopt modern technologies and group entrepreneurships.
Rajni Jain also encouraged them to promote and work on local indigenous crops and related value-added products by improving technical and finished products skills.
Sudha, Ms Chowdhary, Usha (Ward member) and Gram Pradhan discussed the various government schemes on marketing, insurance, loan through which farmers may improve marketing skills, lessen the risks and easily get loan.
Shanu Somvanshi explained in detail the project and its objectives. She urged the participants to come forward and share their problems.
Participants were divided in groups and each resource person was with them to facilitate them to analyse agriculture and textiles related difficulties (on seed, infrastructure, processing unit, indigenous produce and technical skills, market access) and expectations and later on the entire group shared its outcomes.
Main Issues Discussed in the Meeting
- Indigenous crops produce needs to get promoted and used as raw material for craft work (basketry, dolls, etc) so raw material will be available at less cost in village itself.
- Value addition and skill enhancement technique will be made available to marginal groups at low cost.
- Middlemen enjoy maximum share due to corporate alliance.
- Need to pay attention on finishing of the product to promote exports.
- Lack of export procedures, skills and knowledge.
- Lack of infrastructure facility – like oil extracting units, preserving and packaging facility and marketing department.
- High Price fluctuations of the product.
- Lack of capitals to establish micro enterprises on agro food and craft produce.
- Oil and basketry related enterprise can be promoted but due to lack of skills, profit is enjoyed by middlemen.
- High requirement of export and marketing guidance.
Quotes of the Participants
- Man Singh, Khairapur – do not get proper value of the crops (utchit dam nahin milta)
- Meera, Dahariya – would like to continue cultivation but money and water is a major problem (kheti karma chahte hain par paani aur paise ki dikkat hai)
- Leela Devi, Chandranagar – craft work does not have a pay market (baajar mein mol nahin hai gudia ya daliya ka)
- Bhumari Lal – does not get good quality of seeds at a reasonable price, (badiya beej utchit dam mein nahin milta)
- Kastori, Pathwara – where to sell the product is a major problem (saaman betche kahaan)