The British Asian Trust has launched a new Rural Livelihoods Fund to support smallholder farmers in India, following the findings of its recent study.
HRH The Prince of Wales, Founder and President of the British Asian Trust, hosted a high level meeting at Clarence House to discuss the outcomes of a new report commissioned by the charity, on rural livelihoods in India.
The report found that close to 200 million people in rural India live in poverty and most of them are smallholder farmers. India has 25pc of the world’s small farms – 118 million in all – and more than 50pc of Indians rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.
A majority of Indian smallholders’ farmers are trapped in poverty, earning less than $1.25 per day, with a significant proportion of them being women.
The Trust’s initiative will put farmers at the forefront of improving rural livelihoods in India. Each farmer supported by the British Asian Trust will be a powerful and valuable partner in the efforts to guarantee India’s future food security and reduce poverty across the country.
Through a combination of funding, expertise, partnerships and thought leadership from the private and not-for-profit sectors, the fund aims to: Improve farmer incomes by enabling better access and links to market; Train farmers and agriculture workers in processing and packaging skills, to boost product value; and Look at innovative solutions to scale up rural livelihoods work across India.
The roundtable discussion at Clarence House brought together government, private sector, NGOs, agricultural thought-leaders as well as representatives from the Anthony Pratt Foundation, which has supported the launch of the fund with a $1 million donation.
Richard Hawkes, CEO, British Asian Trust said: “It is incredibly exciting that The British Asian Trust is entering a new phase of strategic work to support one of India’s most vital sectors. In a country rich with creative and dynamic solutions to its own challenges, we have the opportunity to support locally led solutions to drive the most meaningful change for India’s smallholder farmers. By scaling proven solutions, testing innovative approaches and creating powerful partnerships, we are well poised to reduce poverty and make a truly transformative difference to the challenges facing India’s smallholder farmers.”