Mandla - A case study on Climate Risk Assessment of Minor Millet-Value Chain

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Mandla - A case study on Climate Risk Assessment of Minor Millet-Value Chain

On 01 November 2021, the Foundation Day of Madhya Pradesh witnessed the formation of an agile cooperation model in Mandla with the aim of promoting climate-resilient livelihood opportunities for vulnerable communities in the district by supporting an integrated millet value chain.  A wide range of actors from the public and private sectors as well as civil society joined hands to lend their support to Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) from Mandla to integrate millet into their business models. These included District Administration, Department of Agriculture, Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD); Cluster-Based Business Organisations like Social Action for Research and Development Action (SARDA), Foundations like Reliance Foundation and research institutions like the Indian Institute for Millet Research (IIMR). The regional office of NABARD Madhya Pradesh through its Mandla district office provided a platform to enable these actors to share their potential roles and expectations from this collective endeavour on tackling challenges posed by climate change to the agriculture sector in the region. The technical analysis of climate risk and its potential impact on the business model of selected FPOs from the district was steered under the umbrella of Indo-German Development Cooperation project ‘Climate Adaptation and Finance in Rural India (CAFRI-NABARD)’.

The project is commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), jointly implemented by NABARD and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

The foundation of the cooperation and partnership model was laid in September 2020 when GIZ and the Reliance Foundation in cooperation with the NABARD district office conceptualised a study followed by a series of stakeholder (online) consultations which resulted in a comprehensive detailed project report (DPR) capturing various components of climate-resilient millet value chain. The comprehensive DPR included components of agronomic practices, soil enrichment, primary processing, and marketing branding. The overall objective was to demonstrate a scalable model to enhance the climate resilience of the farmers in Mandla which ensures at least a 20% increase in the market value of millets for FPOs.

During the process of consultations, discussions and brainstorming sessions, agencies across the sectors and levels (micro-meso-macro) acknowledged the huge risk posed by climate hazards on the livelihoods of farmers. The dialogue process exposed their limited individual capacities to cope with even minor climate stressors and highlighted the need to explore ways and means to forge a cooperation model to enhance the resilience of the people and the eco-system against extreme climate variability. The need for designing and implementing adaptation measures ranging from techno-managerial, technical, institutional to financial measures demands well-crafted dialogues and discussions among multiple actors from the public and private sectors as well as civil society under an institutional umbrella. The dialogue should aim to build trust and cooperation among actors through formal and informal consultations around problem identification, expected outcomes and mapping of roles to develop a workable partnership for climate-resilient development model.

The study on Climate Risk Assessment of Minor Millet-Value Chain in Mandla provided interesting options to kick start such dialogues and conversations on climate risk and opportunities among concerned actors. For example, the study revealed that smallholder tribal farmers who are primarily engaged in the production of minor millets earn only a fraction of the end consumer price which stands at 100-200 rupees a kilogram. They receive between 10-20% of the consumer price due to inefficient distribution of margins across the value chain – notably due to inefficient post-harvest processing adopted by local millers. At the same time, due to poor farming practices, crop productivity has remained low at eight to nine quintals per hectare, as against its potential of 18-19 quintals in the district. If the productivity of millets goes up to 15 quintals per hectare (which is the ideal yield for millets) and market prices go up to Rs 35 per kilogram, the farmer will be able to earn Rs 52,500 per hectare from millets providing higher income.

The dialogues initiated by NABARD, GIZ and the Reliance Foundation with FPOs, government and private actors have brought in new energy and motivation among FPO members to promote the minor millets-value chain.

Bringing farmers into an institutional framework like FPOs not only reduces individual farmers risk of staying put in agriculture but also facilitates improved access to knowledge, investments, technology, and markets. FPOs can infuse huge momentum towards a transformative and climate-resilient agricultural practice if access could be facilitated to financial services, processing, marketing, and distribution in the value-chain.

The dialogue also brought in a Cluster-Based Business Organisations (CBBO) – SARDA into the forum to bring professional expertise and technical resources closer to the FPO. This will necessarily weed out unnecessary delays in availing critical inputs and decision-making at the farmer’s end. Knowledge institutions like the Indian Institute of Millets Research, Hyderabad (ICAR Institute) and ICRISAT have been consulted for supporting the FPOs with improved seed varieties and sowing practices. Public institutions like the Department of Agriculture, KVK and ATMA plan to collaborate to enrich the soil, improve crop quality. Dialogues are planned with Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) to promote the sale of good quality vermi-compost and seaweeds. The programme will consciously seek to build community-owned assets that aid soil development in collaboration with MGNREGS.

Another critical component of the project is access to a nutritious and wholesome diet for the community through public institutions.

It proposes to carry out demonstrations of 100 community nutrition gardens at the household level and provide training and extension services to promote more farmers to adopt such practices. NABARD has provided support to the project through three funds, namely the Rural Infrastructure Promotion Fund (RIPF), Livelihoods and Enterprise Development Programmes (LEDP) and the Farm Sector Promotion Fund (FSPF). For identification of the appropriate technology solution to set up processing facilities, GIZ and the Reliance Foundation organised multiple consultations with technology providers. The Reliance Foundation shall be supporting the FPC in packaging, branding, and marketing. The programme proposes to set up value-addition and processing facilities in Mandla steered by a well-functioning Farmer Producer Company (FPC), Narmada FPC supported by Reliance Foundation (RF). NFPC will run the processing unit and sell ‘Ready to Cook’ millets rice under custom packaging and brand into major retail and wholesale markets.

Partnerships emerging from such extensive consultative dialogue provide important lessons in scaling up the minor-millets value chain elsewhere. It is in this context that the involvement of multiple stakeholders is needed to make more effective use of each other’s resources to produce positive and sustainable results. These stakeholders can develop partnerships to leverage private investment, strengthen policy dialogue, and secure necessary technology and know-how to improve farmers yields and income in an increasingly uncertain context of climate vagaries. The need now is to create a set of systemic and self-sustaining financial incentives for farmers to continue in climate-adaptive farming systems.

[author title=”Dr Shailendra Dwivedi – Senior Advisor, Environment, Climate Change, Natural Resource Management at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and Anindya Das – Junior Advisor, Climate Adaptation and Finance in Rural India (CAFRI), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH” image=”http://”][/author]


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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