Easy as Peanuts
Thank you to all our donors, we have met our fundraising goal.
Ranjini lives in a village in Sri Lanka’s North called Irruttumaddu with her husband and four children. Ranjini used to make her living by selling ground nuts. Since returning to her land, after being in refugee camps for over 2 years, Ranjini has been able to slowly rebuild her business and her life. But these days, running her business is getting harder. Costs are rising, the market has new quality requirements and the middle man seems to be eating into her profits. Ranjini’s way of farming is no longer providing her the profits she once benefited from. She is worried about how she will earn enough income from her farm to continue to support the needs of her family.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
We will be working with 223 farmers to introduce new agricultural techniques that allow them to self produce inputs, improve water management, strengthened soil management and improve farm productivity. This will improve yield by and estimated 50 – 60%. This will in turn significantly improve income and allow families to better stand on their own two feet.
Collectively, we will then work with all 223 farmers to create powerful platform to better engage with the market, to improve bargaining skills, so that the farmers can improve their market power and in turn their price and their profit.
WHY WE ARE DOING IT
In Sri Lanka most of the country’s poor live in rural areas. Their farms are their main source of income. However the poorest are increasingly being left out, due to rising market barriers which means they are unable to access the best price and the best buyers. A lack of knowledge means that they have minimal bargaining power and can be easily taken advantage of more powerful private actors. Empowering farmers with critical market knowledge and teaching innovative agricultural techniques to improve farm productivity and manage the rising water and environmental challenges is critical for them to continue to earn an income from their farms and be included in profitable markets.
By earning an income, families then can stand on their own two feet and not be dependent on aid or welfare. They are able to meet their basic needs and pursue goals important to them. Women like Ranjini can send her children to school, pay for health care facilities and even take them to beach for an ice cream one day!
HOW WE ARE DOING IT
We have identified entrepreneurial peanut farmers in the Village of Irruttumadu, just like Ranjini. With these farmers, we worked with local experts and identified new practices and technologies that could significantly improve the yield of the farmers in the village. The estimated yield increase is approximately 50 – 60%.
Adoption of new practices takes time and in many instances, the poorest are reluctant to engage with these practices because of the risks of the unfamiliar.
In this project we will be working closely with 30 small scale farmers in the village who we call early adopters. They are stronger peanut farmers who see the potential of these practices and are willing to trial and test the method.
We will be providing training on 18 key innovative practices during their harvest, providing close mentoring, linking with the agricultural extension services and subsidising the inputs required for these new practices as an incentive to adopt these new techniques.
A key part of these innovative techniques is training farmers on how to self produce some of their inputs, including seeds. This is critical as quality seeds is one of the key barriers that prevents many from having thriving farms.
Through the engagement of these early adopters and through the results they produce, we want to accelerate adoption through the village to significantly improve their production and quality of another 193 farmers (working with a total of 223 farmers). This will in turn enable Ranjini and the other farmers to better access profitable markets, increase their incomes and improve their ability to meet their daily needs.
Palmera technical training is underpinned by a values based approach which forms the foundation of how we work. This includes many activities, including Pass the Gift, which is a process by which farmers have to pass some of their inputs to the next group of farmers as a way of sharing learnings and giving back to their community. The social capital created through this programme is critical for the ongoing sustainability of the livelihoods in this village.
A HOLISTIC APPROACH
Palmera follows a holistic village approach in how we work. We call this Village2Markets and you can read more about it here.
Easy as peanuts is part of a 5 – 7 year village wide programme that we will run in Irruttumaddu between January 2017 – December 2021 / December 2023. Our approach seeks to improve income in a range of subsectors, as the poorest work in diversified businesses in order to sustain their income. Our model also seeks to improve savings, as without a safety net there is no long resilience and finally to build social capital and reduce vulnerability.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
In order to transform the livelihoods of 223 farmers in Irruttumaddu the cost is as little as $324 per farmer; only $65 a year over the 5-year programme. When everyone comes together, we hope to raise $72,186 so we can support all the farmers in the village to stand on their own two feet.