Providing emotional and economic support for vulnerable farmers
The Facilitating Agricultural Regeneration Measures (FARM) program supported the emotional and economic needs of farming communities in India. It was established in response to the distress many farmers feel from reduced income and increasing debts.
Our support for the program ended in 2014. The program has become self-sufficient, continuing to provide important support to India's vulnerable farmers.
About the program
The FARM program encourages farmers to switch from chemical to organic farming techniques and provides counselling, or ‘befriender’ support, to farmers in emotional distress. The program actively seeks out farmers who are most vulnerable, including those living with a disability such as Rajan, whose story is below.
Rajan, leader in sustainable farming
Rajan is just one of over 500 disabled farmers to have participated in FARM. Born with a single, underdeveloped arm, he’d spent over 40 years carrying the stigma of disability.
Like so many farmers in rural India, Rajan faced falling crop yields and rising debts. Every season it became more and more difficult for him to provide for his family, and he was beginning to give up all hope for a life free from poverty.
The FARM program helped me to learn the real organic farming practices and it is fetching better results.
After joining the FARM program, he soon realised he could be successful at farming and his self-esteem grew. Three years later, he’s now a lead farmer in his village and has set up an innovative Rural Information Centre in his house.
“The FARM program helped me to learn the real organic farming practices and it is fetching better results ,” says Rajan. “With the level of chemical fertilisers and pesticides in farming, the survival of humanity is at stake.”
Rajan tests organic manures, growth promoters and pest repellents on his own farm before passing the information on to others. At his Information Centre he shows others how to farm organically using charts and samples, and then takes them out to his farm to demonstrate how organic farming works in practice.
Rajan is now Vice President of the National Forum of Differently Abled Welfare Federation, and Secretary of the 187-member Panchayat Union Differently Abled Welfare Association. He is also setting up an organic marketing outlet and recently attended the South Asia Farmers’ Conference in Sri Lanka. He is a true leader and a great inspiration.
Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude.Pope Francis
The FARM program was partially funded by Australian Aid through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program.