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Mission Smart Village

Mission Smart Village module; envisage improving the food production with its unique approach of developing self-reliant agro-enterprises.

Photo of Sebati Singh
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Lead Applicant Organization Name

Ideal Development Agency (IDA)

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Large NGO (over 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.

1. Ideal Development Agency, Civil Society Organization 2. Farmers Producers Groups 3. Kendujhar Gramabandhu Private Limited, Startup Innovation

Website of Legally Registered Entity

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

  • 10+ 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?


What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Kendujhar is a one of the Tribal dominated districts of Odisha (44.5%) with the extensive presence of Iron ore Mines in the global map. The overall HDI of the district shows 0.530 and ranks 24th in the state-579, similarly, GDI ranking is 20th in the state as per the 2004 Human Development Report. In Food Security Outcome Index, the district ranks at 19th 0.415. Almost 69 percent of the population depends on Agriculture as their primary livelihood, more than 35% of the workforce comprises of agricultural laborers implying vulnerable economic status. The vast forest, water resources have been completely affected by mining activities for the last 3 decades has resulted in affecting the economic condition of poor tribal. Too much of the environment is being consumed through depletion of forest resources and downstream pollution of water bodies etc. this is creating an external cost to the society in form of water, air and soil pollution.

Ideal Development Agency’s Food System Vision 2050 is for the entire Kendujhar district of Odisha, where rural poverty is one of the important indicators. The rural, urban population ratio is 85.95:14.05. Economically, the district is dependent on agriculture primarily. The Gross District Domestic Product during 2011-12 was Rs. 20,87,970 lakh at current price and Rs. 7,86,520 lakh at constant prices in the year 2004-2005. The Net District Domestic Product during 2011-12 was Rs. 16,74,382 lakh at current price and Rs. 5,52,252 lakh at constant prices in the year 2004- 2005.

Ideal Development Agency (IDA) is working with the rural people of Kendujhar district for the last 27 years. There are many farmers’ producer groups in the district, which has been promoted and groomed by IDA. And we are committed to the Food Security of the district in particular. Our study reveals the huge deficit markets offer the scope of farm intensification and diversification making it economically viable.  

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.

Historically, Kendujhar was a princely state before merging into Odisha. It is believed that it was the part of Khijjinga territory. In the first half of the 12th century A.D, it emerged as a separate state under the kingship of Jyoti Bhanja. Since then there had been no territorial changes of the State till its merger with the Province of Orissa.

Geographically, the district has a total of 8,303 sq kms. area and occupies the rank 4th in State and 91st in India on the bases of this size. It lies at 21°63'N latitude, 85°58'E longitude and 480 m altitude. In the year 2017, there was a total of 38.68% forest area of the total geographical area. The climate of the district is extremely hot in the summers and fairly cold in the winters. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 1363.3 mm in the year 2017-18. About half of the area of this district is covered by forests of Northern tropical deciduous type trees which include Sal, Asan, Jammu, Arjuna, Kusum, Kanda, Mahua, Mango, Kendu. The highlands consist of clusters of rugged crags and the mountaintops appear to be sharply ridged or peaked, however, they have extensive tablelands on their summits. In some areas, isolated hills rise abruptly from the plains, but most areas have a general elevation of over 600m. The highlands form the watershed for a number of rivers, including the Baitarani River.

Administratively, the district is divided into 24 sub-districts, 09 towns, and 2,123 villages. Oriya is its administrative language. The district came in existence on 1st January 1948 with the Headquarter in Kendujhar at the distance of 199 kms. from the State Capital.

Demographically, according to the 2011 census, the district has a total number of 4,06,629 households with a total of 18,01,733 comprising 9,06,487 are males, and 8,95,246 are females which leads it to rank 8th in the State and 265th in India. The density of population of the district is 217 (persons per sq kms.). The sex ratio is pegged at 988 (females per 1000 males) while the child ratio stands at 967 (females per 1000 males).   The population growth rate during the period of 2001-11 was 15.35% including 14.74% are males and 15.97% are females. According to the 2011 census, the principal language in the district is Oriya with 78.88%.

Economically, the district is dependent on agriculture primarily. The Gross District Domestic Product during 2011-12 was Rs. 20,87,970 lakh at current price and Rs. 7,86,520 lakh at constant prices in the year 2004-2005. The Net District Domestic Product during 2011-12 was Rs. 16,74,382 lakh at current price and Rs. 5,52,252 lakh at constant prices in the year 2004- 2005. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, at factor cost during 2011-12 was Rs. 92,211 at current price and Rs. 30,414 at constant prices in the year 2004-2005.

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.

Kendujhar district is covered in undulating forested terrain where only about 50% of the total area is cultivable. The rest is covered by mines mostly for iron ores, forest or inhospitable terrain. Rampant mining in this region has resulted in rapid forest degradation coupled with the disappearance of local streams and drying up of local water bodies. It is estimated that mining operation has rendered about 25% of the agricultural land of the district unusable for agriculture.

  • About 82% of the farm household belong to the smallholder category implying unsustainable practices making agriculture a subsistent exercise for survival rather than a viable livelihood option. Low-intensity farming in the absence of knowledge and skill for high-intensity farming leading to low productivity in the region.
  • Unsustainable agriculture also degraded the fertility of the land and misuse the water. Mono cropping with chemical inputs has put these natural resources in danger. Through generations, per capita, land availability is lowering fast putting pressure on poor farmers to produce more for survival.
  • The poor farmers are not able to arrange resources for their farming like inputs, machineries, credit, storehouses. Alienation from a good market source is further rendering their livelihood below par.
  • Irrigation coverage is only around 30% of the net sown area. Vast stretches of cultivable land are paddy mono-crop areas as part of subsistence agriculture. The farmlands remain empty in summer and winter seasons where small farmers cannot afford any investment. Rabi farming is limited to only 22% of the cultivable land. Productivity is at abysmally low, limited only to few crop varieties like paddy followed by ragi, pulses in small patches. High-value crops like vegetables, fruits and pulses are grown rarely.
  • The land productivity is utilized to only 50% of the potential. Less use of bio-fertilizers and natural farming and arbitrary use of chemical inputs making farming unsustainable and costly. Crop loss due to poor harvesting and storing practice is quite high in the range of 30-40%.
  • The prime producers depend only on the village market and middlemen as sellers. Get a very low margin where the major profit is enjoyed by intermediaries in the market chain.

 The diverse food system traditionally available to the people is disappearing very fast. People are taking staples mainly from rice, wheat. The majority population including the tribal community is shifting rapidly towards a processed carbohydrate-based food basket in comparison to an earlier healthier one. Undernutrition is quite apparent and increasing among the population. People are falling sick rapidly due to unhealthy eating practice combined with pollution due to mining and its adverse effects on the environment and climate.

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

The farming community, especially the marginal and small farmers will adopt intensive sustainable farm practices that are eco-friendly and cost-effective. These practices based on traditional wisdom combined with new technologies and innovations will allow the natural resources to be maintained at the same time radically advancing the productivity and the quality of the crops.

Smallholder farmers can leverage their potential in collectivization in a cluster mode which will include the SMART Village Concept. Agri-entrepreneurs promoted amongst the local youths will form a support ecosystem for the small farmers for better production of high value mixed crops. Synchronized agricultural operations at a critical threshold level aided with robust market channels where farmers get fair pricing throughout the year making farming viable and sustainable. These agri-entrepreneurs will be change-makers who will induce radical positive improvements in farmer’s performance in terms of better productivity, sustainable use of natural resources, good margin which will lead to a dignified and positive lifestyle for the villager, farmers and agriculture labors.

  • A digital platform established and functional to respond to smallholder farmers’ needs and significantly improve their knowledge, skill, and behavior on production organization and market dynamics. Farmers and Agro-entrepreneurs can decide, and practice winner crops based on Smallholder farmers suitability, Market attractiveness, and Agro-ecological compatibility.
  • Farm planning is done involving multi-crop land preparation, weather forecasting, price prediction. Farming and harvesting using farm machinery, proper harvest methodology, post-harvest treatment of crops, waste utilization for recycling and minimizing cost. Post-harvest storage and value addition to maximizing the shelf life of the products and the price.
  • Nutrition profile of the targeted community improves significantly in the form of Calories, Proteins, Vitamins and Micro-nutrients intake.
  • The larger farming community will be aware of the benefits of naturally grown foods and consume them from their own production base. They will maintain a healthy economic status for affordability and good purchasing power. They will eat local seasonal crops combined with tubers, plants, and roots traditional to them.
  • The farming and the allied sectors will be inclusive and benefit vulnerable families like landless families, single women headed families equally. They will get gainful employment in the value chain of food systems and access to nutritious food.
  • Women farmers will benefit in terms of entitlement over land and other resources, access to credit, knowledge skill support, access to market apart from independent choice to spend the money and resources gained from their income.

 The local indigenous tribals and common people will practice food intake consists of mix of millets, pulses, cereals, fruits, green vegetables, and animal protein.

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.

Mission Smart Village module; envisage improving the food production with its unique approach of developing self-reliant agro-enterprises. Marginal and small farmers will be doing intensive sustainable farming in an entrepreneurial mode. The backward forward linkages with allied activities of Mission Smart Village will make farming sustainable and helps the growth of fertility of the land, clean water, renewable energy, forest coverage.

The local production is enough to cater to the diversified food system with enough surplus to return good margin. This economy upscale is used for better education, health, shelter and other expenditures needed to lead a healthy dignified, happy life. The poorer section affords good quality food with all the nutrition requirements fulfilled round the year like. Nobody suffers from hunger and proteins, vitamins, micro-nutrients, and carbohydrates.

Agri-entrepreneur hubs functioning for the promotion of village agriculture and allied enterprises. These hubs operate as incubation centers where the local youths are trained to become innovative entrepreneurs capable of scanning the environment for opportunities and access resources and support services. They have a symbiotic relationship with local farmers where both of them do their business in a win-win situation.

Digital applications are used extensively in finding solutions to problems, educating the farming community on best farm practices, reaching out to the best market. Technology plays a critical enhancing role in crop selection, land preparation, farming, harvesting, post-harvest storage, maximizing production and a bigger market.

The digital technology plays a crucial role in educating the population of food diversification and an intelligent and healthy way to food. The food basket diversity is preserved and enhanced to make it cost-effective, easily accessible, healthy and ecologically beneficial not only for humans but also for animals and plant kingdom.

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

Our Vision of Smart Villages is a relatively new concept. The emerging concept of Smart Villages refers to rural areas and communities which build on their existing strengths and assets as well as on developing new opportunities. In Smart Villages traditional and new networks and services are enhanced by means of digital, telecommunication technologies, innovations and the better use of knowledge, for the benefit of inhabitants and businesses. Digital technologies and innovations may support the quality of life, higher standard of living, public services for citizens, better use of resources, less impact on the environment, and new opportunities for rural value chains in terms of products and improved processes. The concept of Smart Villages does not propose a one-size-fits-all solution. It is territorially sensitive, based on the needs and potentials of the respective territory. Technology is important as are investments in infrastructure, business development, human capital, capacity and community building. Good governance and citizen's involvement are also the key.

In our Mission, a Smart Village would typically pay attention to e-literacy skills, access to e-health and other basic services, innovative solutions for environmental concerns, circular economy application to agricultural waste, promotion of local products supported by technology, implementing and taking full benefit of smart specialization in Agri-food projects and socio-cultural activities, etc.

In our vision, we will be encasing upon food production through small farms. That’s the reality of the region Koraput and not going to change by 2050 even.  Small land-hold farming can also be more productive and more efficient with the intensification of biodiversity mechanisms for the sustainability of agriculture. Resolving the problems of deforestation, land degradation, water shortage, has become critical to revolutionizing the complete food chain and making it more sustainable. To meet the goals of responsible production and consumption, we need to minimize the negative impact on the environment and raising public awareness about the importance of biodiversity. System thinking across the whole food chain, dealing with sustainable farming, sourcing, distribution, and waste will be critical to transforming the current situation to a healthy and sustainable one. The traditional farmers have an intimate knowledge of the land they work, often passed down over multiple generations. The goal of our Knowledge Transfer is to honor those traditions while showing farmers how quality seeds and improved methods can provide even more value.

The vision action will also work on diversification small landholders would (i) shift from subsistence farming to commercial farming, (ii) shift from low-value food/non-food crops to high-value food/non-food crops and switch over from local to high yielding plant varieties. The diversification would also mean that small farms would not only undertake seasonal crop farming, but also animal husbandry, fishing, agro-forestry, horticulture, etc. and would participate in industrial and other non-farm economic activities as either self-employed or wage earners, for supplementing their incomes. Diversified farming provides eco-system check and balance mechanism for controlling pests. Also, diversified crop-livestock farms can make more efficient use of forages, crop residues and other low-value components of crop rotations and enjoy the benefits of manure, the application of which can build up soil nutrients, organic matter and other dimensions of soil fertility.

Today’s food system of the area is rooted in a productivity paradigm in which food is considered as a commodity, where the target is product and process uniformity. In addition, the current linear structure of food supply chains and the underlying power relations rely mainly on the contribution of a limited number of actors. This has led to widespread loss of crop genetic diversity but also to uniform food, agriculture, culture, economies. We envision a future where the farmers are using the genetically diverse seeds which are quite capable of meeting the demands of high production, resilient to climate change adverse effects and uses fewer resources. The varieties are also culturally acceptable and suit the taste range of consumers.

Women contribute prominently in farm activities like land preparation (75%), transplanting (82.5%), weeding (72.5%), harvesting (82.5%), transportation (60%), threshing (52.5%), hand milling (80%) and processing (85%). Yet in terms of their status and control over farming resources and income, women continue to remain as marginalized as ever. We envision a future where land entitlements conferred on women.

At present, 22.5 percent of adults in the area are underweight, and 38 percent are stunted. In places like Kendujhar, which is a tribal-dominated district the scenario on undernutrition is graver. Strengthening the agriculture-nutrition pathway when considering food system development in India will be key to addressing these challenges. Critical components include:

  • Ensuring agriculture is represented in national nutrition policy,
  • Creating market-based solutions for producers by creating the incentives that are aligned with choices of nutrition-dense products,
  • Creating incentives for consumers through price and non-price mechanisms, and
  • Addressing safety and other issues along the value chains for healthy, fresh foods.

It is thus important to adopt a systems approach while determining the interventions to improve the nutrition and health outcomes of the population. Implementing this food system approach to ensure the availability of more nutritious, safer, and affordable diets present challenges. The sheer expanse of the food system that includes farmers (who are overwhelmingly smallholders); their choice of crops; post-production issues; supply chain management; unorganized food processing systems; informal food value chains; and social, economic, and cultural aspects of dietary habits. The policy decisions need to take a systemic approach to address the issue in an integrated manner.

Vision is cluster-based farming as a viable and inspirational livelihood option creates real profit by bringing the small farmers together with sheer focus on addressing the common problems hitherto impossible individually. Thus, a farm hub is created to replicate the advantages of a very big farm holding and much more. There is enough scope for crop diversification and optimal utilization of resources. The cluster operates as a solid entrepreneurial group that is capable of sharing both the benefits well as the burden.

We envision clusters of SMART villages adopting this cluster approach to involve in high-end agriculture production and marketing. Agri-entrepreneurs will play the crucial role in igniting the inherent collective strength of the individual farmers and lead them to self-sufficient entrepreneurs engaged in sustainable farming. They will operate in an Agri-enterprise model where inputs and outputs are planned in a logical manner in a business model. tailor-made digital platform will be developed and specific information related to farming and market will be provided to farmers considering their requirements through it. These will be the major facilitating tools with Agri-entrepreneurs in educating the farmers and helping them take collective decisions. Agri-entrepreneur hubs will be operational as a support system for AEs. These hubs will work on economies of scale to access input supplies at a competitive price at the right time. These hubs can be the place to ask questions and identify competitive suppliers. These hubs will help the AEs realize their business plans.

Natural farming where the natural resources and knowledge base is married with the latest technologies will lessen the Greenhouse emission and preserve the natural resources critical for our survival like land, water, energy, and environment.

  • Growing more with fewer inputs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: optimizing land use, improving crop yields and species diversity to increase agricultural resilience against pests, disease, and extreme weather.
  • Reducing food waste that is lost during production, distribution, storage or consumption.
  • Improving the livelihoods of rural poor people working in agriculture, most of them small farmers who live below the poverty line. We need to help them increase productivity and provide better market access for their produce.
  • Changing our diets such as consuming more plant-based protein and falling back on diversified local crop varieties to keep a wide range of diet diversity. Animal-based food is more resource-intensive and is a big emitter of Green House Gas. The feed-to-meat conversion ratio is inefficient. The community will be eating more animal-based protein alternatives. Today’s food system is too focused on quantity and not enough on quality. The community will shift to healthier diets. A diet rich in plant-based foods and with fewer animal source foods provides better health and environmental benefits.

 The Mission Smart Village's future vision is that the villages become an export hub for high-value fruits and vegetables. To gain acceptance of its products in the market, it would need to adopt newer technologies and practices such as 1. Education to farmers about good agricultural practices 2. A better understanding of product specifications required by consumers and retailers. 3. Facilities for fresh harvest grading, cold storage chains, temperature-controlled transportation, etc. 4. Good and easy connectivity to distant markets.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Funds For NGO


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ekaterina Egorova

Hi Sebati Singh 

We’ve developed this Pocket Guide to support you through the final days of wrapping up your submission.

This will give you the most important bullet points to keep in mind to successfully submit your Vision.

Go ahead, review the check-list and final words of advice before the deadline.

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