Field Study: Insights into the Performance and Propagation of Direct Seeded Rice (DSR) in Paddy Cultivation

Transforming Agriculture for Small Farmers

A new initiative at The/Nudge

The challenges of the smallholder farmer are well known

  • Fragmented landholdings
  • Lack of access to quality inputs (30% probability of seeds
  • Pesticides being spurious (adulterated)
  • Sub-optimal farming practices
  • Lack of access to credit
  • Selling to small traders who do not give them fair value, and more

Smallholder farmers also gamble with the monsoon, which if delayed leads to low yields and low income, and if on-time leads to high yields, price drops, and low income. As a result, a lot of them work as agricultural labor, have a member of the house migrate etc. There are 30 million such households which produce 30% of our agricultural output, it is critical as a country to increase their incomes and make smallholder farming sustainable.

There is also a vibrant agricultural private sector - from new innovative agri-tech organizations to companies directly procuring from farmers. They provide real time agricultural advice, quality inputs, fair pricing, insurance, access to warehousing (so farmers do not have to sell their crops right after harvesting when prices tend to be low) etc. These organizations are primarily focused on mid and large farmers and the smallholder farmer is left out.

The goal of the TASF is to enable this vibrant agricultural ecosystem to serve small farmers. We aim to develop and refine business models that allow serving the smallholder farmer while being commercially viable. We will actively identify such models, do action research to understand their effectiveness. As robust models start emerging, given their commercial viability, organizations will start deploying them and our focus will shift to making a more facilitative ecosystem (e.g., funding from impact investors) to addressing ecosystem barriers (e.g., helping government interventions address issues like climate risk).

Field Study of Direct-Seeded Rice (DSR)

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