Support for farmers in Madanapalle, India
"Toranam" - a project to support farmers through agroforestry
Thousands of small farmers in India are facing the end due to climatic and socio-economic changes. Together with Movement of Rural Emancipation (MORE), the Greenfinity Foundation wants to help farmers achieve good yields despite drought by promoting sustainable development practices and targeted environmental education.
Climate change, crop losses and high suicide rates
Extreme heat waves, drought and the resulting crop losses have driven thousands of small farmers in India not only into existential fears and despair in recent decades, but even several of them into suicide. For some time now, farmers have no longer been able to rely on regular rainfall, and soil erosion and degradation have increased significantly as a result of climate change and the extensive use of chemicals. As a result, yields have continued to decrease and plants have become more susceptible to pests and diseases. A disaster - because the agricultural sector accounts for a large percentage of India's gross national product and secures the livelihood of almost 70 percent of the population.
A region of crisis: Madanapalle
Also in the state of Andhra Pradesh many smallholder farmers choose suicide as a last resort given the hopeless reality of debt, scarce labor and fluctuating market prices. The Madanapalle project region is an important center for agricultural products and is famous for the production of tomatoes, mangoes, peanuts and silk. But the consequences of climate change are also very noticeable there. The water table has dropped dramatically in recent years - more than 60 percent of the boreholes are currently dry and most villages have no secure water supply.
The dry region around Madanapalle
Water-intensive rice production despite continuing drought
Debt and unstable markets
A central problem is also the dependence on hybrid seeds and chemicals. Large agrochemical companies are pushing farmers into a vicious cycle of debt by making them dependent on hybrid seeds and expensive pesticides. Unstable markets worsen the situation even further, because in the Madanapalle region there are significant price fluctuations due to crop peaks, weather conditions and a shortage of labor. Most farmers grow crops in monoculture, which is highly susceptibile to low prices and crop losses.
Help for affected small farmers
To improve the situation of Indian smallholders, the Greenfinity Foundation supports the agroforestry and climate protection project "Toranam", which was initiated by students from the Technical University of Munich together with Movement of Rural Emancipation (MORE). The main goal is to show farmers by setting up an economic and educational center with a demonstration farm how they can achieve good yields despite drought thanks to ecological agroforestry, and how they can also make more profits by processing agricultural products.
First discussions together with farmers from the region
A guided tour through the demonstration farm
The demonstration farm and the environmental education center are currently under construction. The Greenfinity Foundation is now supporting the ongoing project with further steps, such as setting up processing plants and actively involving farmers. The focus is on further training and the implementation of sustainable agriculture on the land of farmers in 2020.
Sustainable farming system: agroforestry
Agroforestry is a technique that systematically integrates trees into arable land. This creates an added value on different levels: The trees offer shade, food, biomass and a number of other advantages for the plants and products, which are converted into value-added products. In order to demonstrate the model for sustainable development, pilot plots with ecological agroforestry are created in various fields. The pilot plots are designed in such a way that they are well adapted to the local socio-ecological conditions and the climatic variability. From these locations, a farmers' cooperative is to be founded with purchase guarantees from “Toranam” for all products that they harvest with the help of organic agroforestry.
This holistic approach will not only benefit farmers directly. By planting trees and improving water management on arable land, the effects of climate change are also reduced and climate-resistant systems are developed.