CIRCULAR ECONOMY: Promoting a Rural Sector Roadmap for Sustainable Farming

Growing food demand and environmental challenges associated with climate change, degradation of natural resources and biodiversity loss are increasing pressure on the system. For decades, we have experienced the ups and downs of economic dynamism in the farm sector. Today, about 67% of the working-age population is employed in agriculture, but the most serious issue is that it has long remained a regular loss-making activity.

The poverty is tougher; you can’t think about Daisy’s dreams. So, farming communities must become part of the solution by adopting circular economy principles and making more effective use of materials and energy in a digitally enabled model of development. Farming communities could create sufficient benefits compared with the current development path, together with environmental and social benefits.

The ICARe-Alliance is taking the initiative in the farming practices to adopt circular economy in rural India. The organisation is empowering youth through access to a wide range of modern technologies, creating human resources, and boosting agriculture and animal husbandry. It is a partnership of companies, the knowledge community, and the Village Panchayat that takes action together to accelerate progress towards a sustainable farming. Right now, we're working with farming communities in rural India, where there are rapid transitions and where we can make an impact. We provide services related to the environment, Agro-waste, Livestock, biogas, CO2 conversion, and capacity building on sustainable agriculture development practices at the Village Panchayat level.

1. To make agriculture profitable: Profitability at the farm is low and declining as the cost of inputs continues to soar and input and output cost dynamics have been turning unfavourable year after year, reducing the farmer’s profit margin. One way to mitigate the pain of crop losses due to weather shocks is to focus on irrigation, which will require the deployment of sustainable micro-irrigation systems and the creation of assets for rainwater harvesting and storage.

2. Farm investment: the farming sector requires a technology-driven second Green Revolution in India. Crucial to this objective is investment, but public sector investment in agriculture is very low, while private investors don’t have enough interest in agribusiness.

94% of the total, the small and marginal farmers, are away from lucent farm technologies. Therefore, to expand business in the mechanisation of farming, the technology providers will have to take the first step forward. They have to make room for another extension and will have to be reoriented to the Village Panchayat for technology centres, which directly impact investment in agriculture. Because the Custom Hire Centre scheme has not done enough.

3. Generate non-farm income: Typically, policy support for the non-farm sector of the rural economy can aim at the following outcomes:
(i) Create a financial safety net to finance and mitigate losses to the farm sector in case of a weather shock.
(ii) Provide a long-term solution through allied services like the judicial use of Agro-waste in Biogas, organic fertiliser, and for livestock, the establishment of modern dairy farms to create employment. As in the past, farming, livestock, and vegetables as cash crops have historically acted as engines of rural non-farm employment growth.