Agriculture sector has been a major contributor to India’s GDP. However, from over 50 per cent in the early 1950’s it has come down to 18.6 percent in 2005, considering that the agricultural sector employees around 60% of the total workforce, the figure is only dismal. Ironically, at the same time the shares of manufacturing, transportation and banking and service sectors have doubled in the last 60 years.
According to World Bank’s “India: Priorities for Agriculture and Rural Development", of the many factors, weak framework for sustainable water management and irrigation are key in the massive slowdown of the agricultural sector in India. This includes inequitable allocation of water across states and deteriorating irrigation infrastructure and reducing farm sizes with complete dependence on rainfall for irrigation. Smallholder farmers in India cultivate a plot less than a hectare in size & remain trapped in ongoing cycle of hunger and poverty.
In contrast to the prevalent outlook, IDEI views these smallholder farmers not as marginal recipients of charity instead as customer entrepreneurs who have the potential and an aspiration to build their own future. We strengthen smallholder farmers access to affordable, efficient irrigation technologies thus facilitating an increase in their agricultural productivity & related income that could be spent on better food, housing, education, healthcare and asset building. Our “profit for progress” methodology, of nurturing private sector supply chains engaged in manufacture & distribution of technologies, ensures not only a profit for the manufacturers but also a fair price for the end user- smallholder farmer.
The market based approach that we follow includes manufacturers (who manufacture the technology), dealers (local shopkeepers who sell other related things and with them sell IDEI promoted technologies as well) and the village based mechanics (who install the technology at farmer’s field). Together there are over 4, 000 members in this supply chain.