08/02/2018, 14.06
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Starting in India, Caritas launches plan for small farmers in Asia

The project is called ‘Smallholder Adaptive Farming and Biodiversity Network’. Some 10,000 farmers will be involved in India, 40,000 in all of Asia. The goal is to create farmers’ collectives to share experiences and solutions.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Caritas Asia plans to support 40,000 farmers across South Asia. Entitled ‘Smallholder Adaptive Farming and Biodiversity Network’ (SAFBIN), the plan was presented on Tuesday a meeting in New Delhi. As a token of the work, a basket of seeds was given to those present at the end of the event.

"All of South Asia depends on small farmers who grow less than two hectares of land,” said T Haque, a former member of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), explaining the importance of the plan. “Yet, while South Korean and Japanese farmers can easily earn five figure incomes annually, the average Indian small farmer earns less than ,000 per year."

The SAFBIN’s goal is to reach the same level. For this to happen, "The answer lies in the plethora of farmer associations these countries have established. This is something SAFBIN will incorporate into its strategy.”

SAFBIN was launched on 11 June and involves four countries: Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. It will run from 2018 to 2022. Its ambitious goal is to eliminate hunger in South Asia by 2030.

Caritas India, in collaboration with Caritas Austria and Caritas Switzerland, launched the project. The latter will provide the necessary resources for the project. Some 10,000 farmers will be involved in India, 40,000 in all of Asia.

SAFBIN’s aim is to pass on "good practices", support small landowners and guarantee food security to rural populations.

The starting point will be smallholder-led research. The goal is to adapt cultivation methods to climate change and create a network of organisations, scholars and farmers who can share experiences and solutions.

Fr Paul Moonjely, executive director of Caritas India, said that "small farmers are crucial to achieve the nation’s good and nutritional security goals.” With this in mind, the Catholic charity wants to create farmers’ collective to secure their assets.

“Generating demand in the marketplace for small-farm products and directly linking urban consumers to rural producers will help in both promoting agricultural biodiversity and preserve the environment," the priest explained. (NC)

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