A partnership approach to doubling farmer income

To transform the agriculture sector, it needs to move from a production-driven system to a demand-driven food value chain that increasingly connects the consumer to the producers


The Andhra Pradesh has identified 25 growth sectors covering agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, and fisheries, and within a few months has mobilized more than $175 million in private sector commitments to support several value chain projects. Photo: Mint
The Andhra Pradesh has identified 25 growth sectors covering agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, and fisheries, and within a few months has mobilized more than $175 million in private sector commitments to support several value chain projects. Photo: Mint

In an effort to boost the agriculture sector, the government has set the ambitious goal of doubling farmers’ income by 2022. In doing so, it has unveiled strategies ranging from a focus on irrigation to provision of quality inputs, investments in warehousing and cold chains, promotion of food processing and crop insurance schemes, among others. What is clear is that to transform the agriculture sector, it needs to move from a production-driven system to a demand-driven food value chain that increasingly connects the consumer to the producers.

Generating such a transformational impact will require new approaches, innovations, and increasing alignment and collaboration with the private sector and other stakeholders in the food system. It will require integrated value chains that connect farm to fork, competitive markets that provide better prices to farmers and an enabling environment that supports innovation and action.

No one stakeholder, whether government, private sector or civil society, can do this alone, especially given newer realities including climate change and increasing pressure on land and water resources. Instead, combining the competencies of diverse organizations and stakeholders and creating better alignment through partnership platforms can generate much greater impact. This can include leveraging of greater investments and on the ground resources, development of new innovative collaboration models that combine knowledge and resources of diverse stakeholders, and sharing of best practices, risks and mutual accountability for results.

Several such partnership platforms are now being developed in key states, including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Supported by the World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture initiative, these state-level platforms bring together government, private sector, farmer organizations and civil society to create a shared vision and jointly develop solutions for integrated value chain projects that will provide more opportunities for farmers. There are currently more than 20 organizations engaged in these state partnerships ranging across the value chain from input companies to processors and retailers, from global multinational corporations to local small and medium enterprises and farmer producer organizations. There is a strong commitment from CEOs to support this model though business leadership and support.

Maharashtra was one of the first states to initiate this partnership model in 2012 under the Indian government’s public-private partnership for integrated agriculture development (PPPIAD) programme which aimed to develop an integrated value chain for specific crops. Within three years, the initiative had reached half-a-million farmers and improved farmer income ranging from 10-30%. Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis last year set a goal of reaching 2.5 million farmers by 2020. This year the state government has introduced several landmark marketing laws that will encourage more competition and investments in agriculture markets.

In the state of Andhra Pradesh, under chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, the state launched a partnership platform focused on achieving double-digit inclusive agriculture growth in the state. The state has identified 25 growth sectors covering agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, and fisheries, and within a few months has mobilized more than $175 million in private sector commitments to support several value chain projects.

In Karnataka, the government launched the public-private partnership for integrated horticulture development (PPPIHD) in December 2015 to improve horticulture value chains through value addition, technology and marketing solutions. In less than a year, five projects are already underway led by both global and local private sector companies.

While each state-level partnership follows a unique model, they share similar guiding principles which have been developed and validated by countries around the world:

•Locally owned and aligned with the state’s goals and priorities for the sector

•Market-driven with projects led by the private sector and rooted in viable business models

•Multi-stakeholders with open and inclusive engagement that includes all relevant stakeholders

•Holistic, integrating full value chains that benefit all actors in the food system, and

•Globally supported by an international network providing solidarity, connection and resources.

The state-level partnership platforms hold great potential for application elsewhere in India and several other states have indicated interest in launching similar initiatives. A key success factor for such models has been strong leadership and co-creation, with the government setting the vision and enabling policy framework, the private sector helping to deliver on that vision through scalable, inclusive market-based activity, and key stakeholders such as farmer organizations, civil society and international organizations combining their resources and expertise. Only through such strong leadership from diverse stakeholders can we create the conditions needed for unlocking the entrepreneurship of the smallholder farmer and ultimately boosting his or her income.

Saswati Bora is project lead for the New Vision for Agriculture in India at the World Economic Forum.

This article has been produced in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and in line with the programme topics of the India Economic Summit on 6-7 October 2016 in New Delhi under the theme “Fostering an Inclusive India through Digital Transformation.” For more information about the meeting visit wef.ch/ies16

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