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"Antodaya" through Food

Ultrapoor women smallholders are capacitated & supported to co-create a low cost, hunger-free, nutrition-driven, food-inclusive mother earth

Photo of Trupti Jain
21 12

Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Naireeta Services Private Limited

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.


Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Sami and Harij blocks of Patan district in Gujarat state in India. They are sub-districts within Patan district.

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Ultrapoor, unschooled women farmers of this area taught us “All problems have solution – you need to learn from trials and gradually correct yourself to achieve the result”. Those teaching energized us to develop BHUNGROO (an unique irrigation solution against drought, salinity and flood). Bhungroo was born here after 10 years of field trials; subsequently won series of global awards viz World Bank, UNFCCC, Securing Water for Food (USAID), Millennium Alliance (UKAID) etc etc. Now it got expanded across SEAsia, Africa & 100000+ rural poor are benefited alongwith mother earth. Patience, Affection, Love & determination of our BHUNGROO mothers boost our confidence to embark this food vision trial here only. And likewise last time we are aspiring to come out with a vision which is the best for both our BHUNGROO mothers as well as mother earth.

Along with emotional cause the factual reason is this area resembles whole India. Very fragile Ecology– earthquake prone, perennially drought affected, salinity affected, seasonal water logging, poor soil fertility. Thus any model developed here can take care of all extreme weather/ecological shocks.

Fragmented Social texture and economically least developed – reflects India’s rural poverty. Farming is primary occupation (whose 65% lives below poverty line, indebted and migratory). Average annual income in farming is within USD 200. Educationally very backward and it is one of the least developed blocks in India.

Inspite of these challenges, local people practice rich heritage of food/cereal/ cuisine verities. Their staple food is highly nutritious. They also have various food addendum for various seasons & numerous cultural foods (which compliment season wise nutrition needs). Lastly, local women (aged) use various spices and medicinal plants for family’s food and family medical budget reduction. These knowledge can work as an impetus for food vision development 

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Our focus area is Sami and Harij blocks (ie subdistricts) in Patan district in western state of India namely Gujarat state. Patan district comes in north western parts of Gujarat state. It is situated between 20° 41' to 23° 55' north latitudes and east longitude of 71° 31' to 72° 20'. Patan District was formed on 2-10-97. The head quarter of the District is Patan. It houses global heritage sites.

Patan is very close to India Pakistan border’s desert areas. It is comprised of 521 villages with total area of 5740 sq km. Its total population is 1.43 million where sex ratio is around 935 per 1000 male. With district’s overall literacy rate of 72.3% female literacy is only 61%.

The normal climate of the district is temperate with moderate proportion of heat and cold there are three main seasons i) Monsoon - Mid July to September ii) Fair Weather - October to January iii) Hot Weather - Feb to Mid July. The normal rainfall of Patan is 601 mm.

Harij taluka consists of 62 Villages and 38 Panchayats. It is having 18,786 households, with a total population of 94,562 within total area of 377

Sami taluka consists of 134 Villages and 98 Panchayats. It is having 36,281 households, population of 1,82,805 within total areas of 1515 sq km.

Local community’s poverty cannot put hindrances against their zeal of celebrating lives. Each year in 12 months they have more than 14 festivals. And each festivals is symbolized with colorful dresses and culinary bliss. Along with social festivals there are more than 19 religious festivals cutting across Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism.

Majority of the local people stays in rural areas within semi pucca houses and villages are connected with main roads thru village roads, which are all weather roads.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)


What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Current challenges faced by our food system are multifaceted and each of them is multidimensional viz:

Majority of rural population of both Sami and Harij is food insecure. Every year their rainfed cultivation have to face natural vagaries of prolonged dry spell of winter & summer & erratic rain and water logging during monsoon. This leads to chronic crop failures.

Chronic crop failures compel small and marginal farmers to migrate to urban areas for wage income. This pushes women members (> 65% of total farming community) to work in farms for ensuring family food security. Many a times they fail due to their inability to adapt to weather shocks and accessing appropriate package of practice.

Large no of smallholders’ winter crop (cash crop) gets affected due to paucity of irrigation. Their winter crop quantum cannot even pay back the cost of cropping. Rainfed crop quantum is inadequate to meet yearly family food need. This leads to vicious cycle of indebtedness, forced migration and many a times farmers commit suicides.

All these farmers are in dire need of technical support to save their crops against extreme weather shocks.

Government’s existing agri-extension services are following age old  green revolution methods ie HYV crops, large scale mono-cropping and many a time govt’s soil health card specific NPK diagnosis and subsidized urea provisions. They are yet to adapt to the farmers’ changing cropping pattern ie from large scale to small holding, male to female led cultivation, food crop is priority rather than marketable cash crops and most importantly need of zero budget cropping rather than urea subsidy guarantee. They also fail to save farmers from glut in winter crop market.

Future food Challenges (2050)

In future, the landholding across the states will be further fragmented. This will lead to increase in marginal landholding, which will invariably require family farming for economic survival.

As the income from landholding will be gradually reduced, there will be a sharp decline of male farmers. Female farmers will be unable to tap the cropping potential due to existing societal and policy discrimination. This will have spiralling negative effect on food crop production, child-nutrition and drudgery against women.

This gap in food production might encourage commercial cropping. Thus, current locally grown crops might be replaced by commercial crops/cereals, processed & manufactured food. Rural community’s (75% of total rural population) unaffordability of these commercial food will lead to nutrition gaps. Overtime this might lead to social unrest.

In current context, no government policy is in place towards reversing or at least hindering this process.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of Antodaya (ie serving the last person in the queue in the best possible way) & Sarvodaya (ie sustainable development for all living forms) are defining paths for our food vision.

The disturbing trends in food systems (2020) & imminent food disaster (2050) within our rural economy is stemming from a very trivial incidence ie 10-15 days waterlogging of smallholders’ farmlands during peak monsoon. This is giving birth of series of interconnected affects ie failure of monsoon crops (> 65% of total farmers) = family food insecurity= male members’ migration = compelling women members towards agriculture = they might fail (in absence of right Agri support services/extension policies) = poverty aggravating = unmet gap in foods’ demand & supply = invasion by processed & transported food = changed food practices = unaffordability for poor = child malnutrition = poor people’s life /family disturbed = aggravation of urban rural disparity = social unrest.

Against this backdrop, we are starting at mini micro (rural Individual farming family) level with a vision of positive output at super macro level i.e. global level.

Our actions:

  • Enabling local women to Identify & understand women farmers’ challenges due to prolonged, seasonal waterlogging
  • Get their lands freed from waterlogging by use of BHUNGROO= guaranteeing monsoon crops (food crops) = ensuring yearlong family food quantum.
  • “zero budget natural farming” is promoted for winter crop (cash crop). Nutrition rich marketable food crops/ spices/ medicinal shrubs/ aromatic plants etc can be priority.
  • Promotion of “peer knowledge service groups” explain & build capacity of local women farmers on above lines along with culinary skill (traditional nutrition practices hinged upon scientific knowledge), and minimization of processed & transported foods’ invasion within climate-detrimental paths.
  • Winter cropping being market driven, industry centric direct sourcing is initiated (like “Better Cotton Initiatives” of IKEA).
  • Creation of marketplace & trade linkages between rural women food producers & urban food consumers with real time crop quality monitoring = reducing farmers’ income risk.
  • Better survival of food & cash crops is guaranteed by Women Climate Leaders; acceptable price realization for both food & cash crops thru crop-consumer & crop-bulk buyer agreements & hand holding = better crop decisions & crop quality by farmers.
  • Local government benefits thru - a. higher gross state revenue (as both monsoon & winter crop are saved) b. reduction of wasteful expenses for current agri-extension services c. higher tax income d. reduction in disaster relief cost and yearly farm insurance payments.

The vision dwells on green chemistry, people participation (especially vulnerable women), market-friendly, climate-adhering, ecologically sustainable & most importantly rejuvenation of local biodiversity along with better carbon sequestration, which are impetus for SDGs

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

Within our immediate vision, local community will be able to access a superior quality of life viz - Each rural women farmer is now capable enough to handle erratic weather shocks. Instead of rainfed cultivation, they conserve rainwater thru ‘Bhungroo’ for sustainable & adequate irrigation. Thus standing monsoon crops is saved = yearlong family food security. Irrigation saves winter’s cash crop & doubles crop income from the same land, which was unproductive for decades. Their yearly avg agri-income rises from USD 200 to USD 500 = emancipation from abject poverty = improvement of their living standard. Family’s better agri-income translates into productive asset development (ie addition of milch animal), accessing civil amenities & utility services (24/7 household water & electricity connection, quicker mobility & better child education). Involvement of lactating mothers & children thru local food sessions in Mid-day Meal scheme will ensure better child nutrition= improve state child nutrition index = higher fund outlay to state by federal government. Along with regular course works children are further trained on crop, nutrition & food system at school (thru locally suitable innovations). Thus gender disparity in education is dismantled! Farmers will be practicing “Zero Budget Natural Farming”. It ensures higher net return from same piece of land (compared to conventional chemical cultivation) = higher disposable income with no negative effect on soil, crops & farmers health. Farmers will be selling their produce directly in the market without middlemen with better negotiation power for price = reversal of farmers’ migration. Agriculture land will be entitled jointly for both husband & wife. They are now equally participating in agriculture & also in economic decisions = no domestic violence. Traditionally, lopsided muscle power controlled local governance. That is now replaced by peaceful democratic process with higher participation of vulnerable people & women

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Nourishing food future for our people and place for 2050 draws upon following factors:

Environment and mother earth’s survival:  is the key factor in our Full vision. Here Full vision dreams big. In our case, we are starting with a very small activity of harnessing extreme weather events for better cropping. Once the activity is defined, accepted and executed in right protocols then it creates cascading effects of impacts. Those cascading effects (in our locality) are jotted down within High level vision. Full vision finds that our whole food system is actually working in a regeneration model. It defines a future where food system is working in right balance of water, soil, air and environmental services. In this vision our women climate leaders have successfully scaled the innovations across the geographies. They have created robust technical service model which runs on market driven force and creates a socially acceptable solution for all participating agencies.

In Full vision the harnessing principles are defined, demystified, decoded within smaller modules such that each participating agency can learn, internalize and then deploy the technics to take full advantages of this harnessing processes in accordance to their local areas. Further the whole harnessing standard operating protocols are kept in open sources and co-creation is encouraged. Food vision trials allow us to identify the required changes in the variables to accommodate the variance of geography, weather shocks and community etc. Thus it ensures a sustainable food system for our local area and saves local community from food disasters.  It also gives tools for people of other geography to understand their weather shocks and then define their harnessing process for their own food vision. In Full vision we can see that all people are well endowed to adapt to weather extremes and then convert the disasters as an opportunity for food security. This food security enhancement strongly dwells upon climate actions. This actually adds on the carrying capacities of mother earth. It can be assumed that across the globe all the weather extreme zones can win over their fragile food balance by converting environmental challenges as opportunities   

Diets: Once food system is getting ready then it is mandatory to incorporate nutrition values within the food system development process. Full vision finds a pivotal role to be played by local community’s traditional knowledge, culture of food, seasonal food variation, locally grown ingredients in form of spices, aromatic addendums & medicinal plants. In our area as and when it gets success within trial process then SOPs also get ready for people of various geographies on how to incorporate those nutritional variance in their food vision. Our SOP of this vertical decodes the path of nutrition inclusion and also opens up spaces for other communities to develop the same for their own area. The binding principle followed by us in this vertical development is Antodaya. This principle becomes non-negotiable for all consumers for all geographies.

Economics: Consumers will surely be looking for least cost, best quality, time bound, right quantum of food. That is easily possible as and when they are directly linked with their producers with real time IOT services. This is already in practice in India by good no of start-ups and they are guaranteeing farmers’ monsoon crops’ sale. The Cash crop sale will be critical and for that industry -farmer’s linkages are mandatory. In our higher vision we have observed that this segment is plagued by middlemen. In India farmers crop trading portal have been created at federal level with mixed responses. The stumbling blocks are not the crop or the price but post sale logistic from fram gate to Industry gate within stipulated time without compromising quality and quantity. Here, we need to learn from IKEA and co-create our model for cash crops.

Culture: Food growing segment is considered worst culprit for its rampant usage of chemical for quicker growth and quick money. In our higher vision we had created farmer-end user (consumer) partnership for real time crop growing data along with farm gate pick up of crops. This invariably reduces carbon footprint, farmer’s crop risk is minimized and consumer is also benefitted with right quality of food at right price at adequate quantum at right time. This keeps away middlemen, which also ensure better pricing model for all partners. This can easily be replicated across geographies and it might work as an impetus for farmers to come back to rural areas for better net income from cropping in line of Zero Budget Natural Farming (a great deal of working models are available in India on this processes). Once growing of crops are chemical free and transport of crops are minimized then majority of the climate action is achieved.

Once Nutrition is included within the food vision then it is mandatory to ensure nutrition enriching at all stages ie starting from field level food growing to food transport, food cooking, food eating and lastly food waste disposing.

Full Food Vision, defines that food waste is not acceptable. To enforce that principle, social media tools will be used. Being alumni of various federal and global fellowship as well as heading incubation programs we have already identified local level partners for this segment. This can also be applicable at rural areas thru mobile run apps. This same principle is binding for all other Full Food Vision for different geographies. They are encouraged to have their own partners and own social medial tools.

Next step can be creating of right cooking skills for best food as well as maintaining of the nutrition level of food ingredients. Till date a series of traditional cooking festivals have been organized at local level, which exposed local people to various nutrition rich food options. In higher vision, we have visualized combined efforts among local opinion makers, nutrition experts and medical fraternities to create the best cooking options. In Full vision, we will be needing expert scientific support to streamline this vertical. In that context, like-minded organizations have been interacted with and hopefully positive outcome can come out.

Eating habits directly linked with WASH principles and many a times they have bearing on our health. In our Higher Vision we have defined the role of Mid day meal for lactating mother and children towards eating habits. But in Full vision we visualize that each partners are following scientifically acceptable WASH, storage, serving and eating principle with honouring to individual right and dignity. 

Food waste disposing looks comparatively easier. In our higher vision we have chalked out biodegradable composting of all the food wastes. As, we have already curtailed down usage of non bio-degradeable items – hence there is lesser challenge in food waste management. This vertical can easily be replicable without much ado.

Technology: Along with our innovative technology we are in process of working with Information Technology enabled real time crop data sharing between producers & consumers. This will bring in transparency. Both save themselves against market gluts or artificial price hikes (as played by unscrupulous middlemen). This is already available in the market thru various start-ups.

Policy: Lastly let us check government role. As explained in higher vision our local government will be excited to have this trial as it is going to benefit them without any responsibility from their end. Full vision needs to exploit this opportunity and create a lobby platform to ensure that government create level playing fields to all stakeholders, who are bringing innovation and transparencies in the food verticals especially for wading off the middlemen and hedging people. Government should also create a positive space for sustainable agriculture & nutrition food movement with a special focus on women smallholders.

If that is not adhered to by our government then they lose credential to call themselves supporter of Mahatma Gandhi’s Antodaya and Sarvodaya principles.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • From social enterprise networks

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This explains our credentials, recognition & partners for scaling up. Other links:


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Photo of Boluwatife Oluwafemi

Hi Trupti Jain!

Wish you all the best!

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