Uttar Pradesh Second Outreach Meeting with
Farmers and Other Producer Groups
Kakori, Lucknow District, Uttar Pradesh
September 12, 2005
Total persons attended the outreach meeting – 350
The signatures collected from the rural communities
for GRANITE UP document – 225
The GRANITE project is being implemented in Uttar Pradesh by Network of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
(NEED), Lucknow, with support from Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS), Jaipur. The project aims at capacity-building of civil society organisations (CSOs), media, grassroots groups, government officials, etc. on the complex issues of globalisation and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and its impact on economic development
NEED being a GRANITE Partner in Uttar Pradesh organised a daylong outreach meeting on September 12, 2005, at grassroots-level with farmers and producers community including artisans, cultivators, peasants, self-help groups (SHGs), clusters, associations, panchayat (village council) members, craft persons, women producer groups and other concerned stakeholders including local media of Kakori rural block of Lucknow district.
The meeting began with the inaugural remarks of Sandeep Srivastava, NEED. Subsequently, Subodh Singh, Project Coordinator, GRANITE-NEED, S Dayal, Krishi Prasar Adhikari, P Kumar, Agricultural Development Officer (ADO), R Singh, and Project Associate NEED addressed the gathering. This was followed by interactive session with the individuals and their affirmative clarifications about GRANITE’s objectives and implementation.
Kakori is near Lucknow. Most of the farmers in the region are small and marginal farmers possessing small sized landholdings (less than three acres). The percentage of backward residents is high. There is a life-size gap and discrepancies existing in the condition of rich and poor farmer/producer groups. The living condition is below average and most of the families here own a ‘Kuchha’ house, which clearly manifests their poor condition.
The major cultivations are vegetables, wheat, paddy, and mango out of which presently vegetables and mango are produced on a large scale. These crops can result into colossal production but due to non-availability of infrastructure and other resources, the socio-economic condition of the marginal farmers and other producer groups is poor. Still, the farmers and other producer groups take agriculture as a sustenance activity and not as a business.
Moreover, a large number of women in the area are engaged in Chikancraft and Zardozi work. This craft has been present in the area for a long time but is highly affected by the middlemen’s active role in exploitation of the craft workers.
- despite devoting enormous time to agriculture and textile sectors and working efficiently, they are in a deprived and evicted position. They are also unable to get direct access to the market opportunities, infrastructure facilities, trade information, decisive and other participative role;
- the gap between the rich and poor is widening which can be fatal in the end; and
- lack of knowledge about WTO’s advantages or disadvantages particularly in agriculture and textiles sectors.
The objective of the meeting was to bring farmers and other producer groups to a common platform, to share and discuss the opportunities and challenges in agriculture, agro-allied, textiles and other information and opinions with reference to their livelihood.
Highlights of the discussion
- S Srivastava, Project Coordinator, NEED shared the objectives of the meeting.
- S Singh, Development Manager discussed objectives of GRANITE and impact of WTO.
- S Dayal, Krishi Prasar Adhikar and N Kishore, farmer, discussed the ill effects of pesticides and chemicals and benefits of organic farming.
- Prahlad Kumar, ADO, Kakori informed the schemes of Agriculture Department.
- R Charan, farmer told that lack of effective irrigation facility worsens the crop.
- R Pal, farmer discussed the problems of marketing and middlemen. He suggested that a local ‘Aadhat’ or ‘Haat’ should be established.
- Kanchan, craftswomen expressed that lack of adequate work, wages, marketing skills and exploitation.
- C Lal, farmer spoke on malpractices
done at mandi, seed department,
Main Issues Discussed in the Meeting
The discussion done during the meeting has been classified into agriculture and textiles sector-
- Farmers require an awareness session on the seeds quality, weighing practices, use and misuse of pesticides/insecticides.
- Demand for availability of high quality seeds in sufficient quantity and at reasonable costs. For this, seed-manufacturing unit should be established which at the same time would generate employment also.
- Micro credit is to be promoted for easy access to capital.
- Roads are in a dilapidated condition and there is lack of transport facilities also.
- Irrigation gets affected due to inadequate and irregular supply of electricity.
- Lack of awareness on rural insurance schemes and other safety nets.
- Importance to be given to go down facility; marketing avenue (as no market has “women haats” and there is no direct access to market also); cold storage center and modern technology centre.
- Linkages between the fair trade buyers, other market forces and the producer groups should be promoted. Different groups to sell products collectively.
- Consumers should be convinced to buy handicrafts by making them aware through media and other sources about the handloom and handicraft products and their importance for the producers groups and harmful effect of plastic bags and also promote use of jute.
- Products to be marketed at exhibitions and trade fairs.
- Proper survey and matching of demand and supply of crafts to be done.
- Promoting fair wages, safe working conditions for the workers, social security systems like health/life insurance, provident fund, etc.
- No gender bias, religion or caste based discrimination.
- Regular information dissemination of economic policy issues.
- Infrastructural development including training cum production centres.
- Entrepreneurship promotion to alleviate poverty and promote employment.
- Value-added skill upgradation could add value to the produce.
It is against this backdrop that NEED organised the outreach meeting at grassroots level, by inviting farmers and other producer groups 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 nature of trade and economics-related problems.