India is a nation of stark contrasts: on the one hand, it is an economic heavyweight; on the other, it is still the country with the largest number of poor people in the world. Rural communities in particular, which make up two-thirds of the overall population, are severely disadvantaged. They have benefited little from India’s economic growth in recent years. Most farming families in India have too little land, which, moreover, is often depleted through overuse. To make matters worse, farmers are often at the mercy of middlemen who take advantage of their economic plight and inexperience to beat down the prices.
To help Indian farming families increase their independence and income, we have teamed up with Coop, the Swiss wholesale and retail chain, and Reismühle Brunnen, a Swiss company that imports and processes organic rice from all over the world, to back the transition to organic farming and fair trade of basmati rice, which is supplied to Switzerland.
Besides the problem of increasingly acute soil depletion, farmers also face the multiple challenges related to climate change. Droughts and floods will probably continue to increase in frequency and severity, and with them conflicts over the scarce resources of water and soil. With Helvetas' support, farmers improve irrigation systems and methods and use the land more productively.
In addition, Intercooperation Social Development India (ICSD) and Helvetas in association with Coop, WWF and myClimate are supporting farming households in building biogas systems. Biogas is an inexpensive source of energy and eases the pressure on surrounding forests by reducing firewood consumption. In order to increase the outreach of our activities, these measures need to be applied on a wider scale, so ICSD and Helvetas are enabling local and provincial administrations to develop and implement strategies to adapt to climate change.
Visit the website of Helvetas India.
Our partner organisation in India, Intercooperation Social Development (ICSD), is a locally registered, independent NGO and was founded in 2006. ICSD has been our strategic partner since Helvetas withdrew from India. For more information: www.intercooperation.org.in
If you would like to know more about our work in India, click on each project for details.
Intercooperation Social Development India
153/A/4, Sappers Lane
500 003 Secunderabad
Phone: + 91 40 27906991
Fax: + 91 40 27906954