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A Community Approach to Innovative Agriculture Production and Marketing Among Urban/Periurban, Small and Marginal Farmers in Growing Cities: A Case Study from Magadi, Bangalore, India

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Amerasinghe, Priyanie H.; Yadava, C.G.; Dubbelling, M.; de Zeeuw, H.
Conference: Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future, the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Hyderabad, India
Conf. Date: January 10-14
Date: 2011
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7213
Sector: Agriculture
Urban Commons
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): agriculture
common pool resources
urban affairs
Abstract: "Magadi is a rapidly developing town in South India, with a current population of 25,000. 46% of the township area is agricultural land, and most are cultivated by small and marginal farmers, with land holdings less than 1 ha. Recent plans for township development (2025) have threatened the livelihoods, with high prices being offered for land towards township development. The community has practised a leasing system for generations which will soon die out, unless innovations with high returns are established. This study describes how the town municipal council, local partners and the community have attempted to combine city’s 'Ecocity concept' to innovate agricultural production and marketing strategies to safeguard livelihoods, while greening and feeding the city in a rapid development setting. Ninety four farmers formed neighbourhood groups to innovate their production and marketing systems. Of these, 87 (92%) were small and marginal farmers (range: 0.025 to 0.96 ha; average 0.31 ha) with an average income per annum of INR 73,975, from all sources. Community action, support of the municipality, and departments of agriculture and horticulture, served to strengthen the capacities, build group saving schemes, innovate production systems and marketing strategies, recycle natural resources (organic waste), and secure government grants which were not accessible to them before. Organizational strengthening and technical innovations increased the profit margin of a unit of crop. This study describes a novel approach to enhance opportunities for agriculture production and marketing amidst town planning (eco-zoning), where a good mix of development, livelihood activities, and food security can be maintained in building resilient cities. It is envisaged that the city authorities will utilise uncultivable land, for development allowing innovative farmers to benefit from urbanization to realise new markets and opportunities. It is seen as a win-win situation to safeguard common interests and property, at the same time build healthy and resilient cities."

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