Challenges facing small farmers

Lack multi-seasonal support, productivity losses, labor challenges, drying losses and more

“Smallholders account for 86% of farmers in India but are economically impoverished, as they are unable to capture commensurate value for their produce.”


Productivity losses

Many smallholder farmers lack access to quality produce seeds, seedlings, and community-based growing support services to encourage crop diversification and higher yields.  Searching for reliable and desired products or support can be costly. In addition, after planting, early season drought can adversely affect seedling growth if seedlings are not properly developed and hardened, leading to crop failure. These situations not only add to resource and logistical hurdles but also to the mental barriers which prevent farmers from growing high-value, high-nutrition produce crops over lower-risk, lower-return staples.

Drying losses

Despite the widespread perception that open-sun drying is free of cost, this practice often requires hiring manual labor and takes weeks to complete. Furthermore, during this weeks-long drying, the harvest suffers from environmental factors such as unexpected rain or fog and ever-present factors like pests, dirt, and UV photobleaching. These result in food and income loss.
Drying losses due to traditional practices decrease the farmer’s income potential by approximately 30-35% for chillies due to an increase in the second-grade quality or complete loss from unexpected rain and fungus. 

Small and marginal farmers face production losses and reduced earning ability at growing and post-harvest management stages, especially drying. Further, they lack multi-seasonal support to address evolving climate change challenges. 

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