India’s milk supply comes from millions of small producers, dispersed throughout the rural areas. These farmers maintain an average herd of one or two milch animals, comprising cows and/or buffaloes. Ample labour and a small land base encourage farmers to practice dairying as an occupation subsidiary to agriculture. While income from crop production is seasonal, dairying provides a stable, year-round income, which is an important economic incentive for the small farmer. Over the past two decades, the demand for services related to animal breeding, health care and marketing support have increased manifold.
The future success of demand-driven, market-oriented rural advisory services rests in large part on the formation and capacities of farmer groups. A majority of development success stories are the direct result of or dependent on collective action. However, the multifaceted role of farmer organizations in extension efforts is not well understood. In many contexts, the story of local rural development efforts is a tale of failed farmer groups. The majority of those groups, created for various purposes by national agencies or development organizations, commonly lacked essential elements that could have assured their longevity. Improving our understanding of the role of farmer organizations in development outcomes is clearly critical to identifying options and strategies for promoting successful rural advisory services (RAS).
This paper rests on two working assumptions. First, working with community-based farmer groups represents an essential means for strengthening farmer capacity to be involved in a wide range of agricultural and rural development activities, to participate in markets and to be involved in policy formation. Second, different types of investment in RAS influence the types of services available to farmer groups and, consequently, groups’ collective capacity to access and make effective demands on RAS.
Families, communities and indigenous peoples own or manage more than 30 percent of the world’s forests. Th ey have a demonstrated capacity to manage their forests sustainably but have received little policy attention from national governments and international agencies.
A number of factors account for the long-term success of forest management by families, indigenous peoples and local communities. In all cases, however, forest producer organizations, or FPOs, have played central roles. FPOs are formal or informal associations of forest producers – women and men, smallholder families, indigenous peoples and local communities – who have strong relationships with forests and (oft en) farms in forested landscapes.
Encouraging the establishment and successful development of FPOs should be a priority for governments wishing to promote sustainable forest management and prosperous rural communities. Th is paper explores the factors that help build constructive relationships with government counterparts, and the policy and institutional conditions that encourage or hinder FPO development.
Producer organisations (POs) are widely heralded as leading contributors to poverty reduction and achievement of food security (FAO, 2010). POs can successfully strengthen the economic position of their members by providing agricultural inputs, credit, processing and marketing services (Narayanan and Gulati, 2002), In India, the Central Government has identified farmer producer organisation as the most appropriate institutional form around which to mobilize farmers and build their capacity to collectively leverage their production and marketing strength (GoI, 2013) . While several POs are doing well, a large number of POs struggle to continue their activities after the first few years of its formation.
Farmer organizations are crucial both on the demand and the supply side of Rural Advisory Services (RAS). On the demand side, they identify and synthesize needs, demands, and solutions for farmers. They contribute to monitoring and evaluation of RAS and participate in policy formulation. On the supply side, producer organizations provide and co-finance RAS activities. These ideas were clearly articulated in the 4th GFRAS (Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services) Annual Meeting (24-26 Sept 2013, Berlin) and also at the side event organized by GFRAS and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) recently (20 February 2014, Rome) at the IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) Farmers’Forum.