Advocacy Initiatives

AFARM Lead Advocacy Initiatives/ Campaigns

Being an association of NGOs, AFARM provides common platform for different stakeholders including Government to...
  • Share views, ideas, experience, leanings & disseminates the best practices in the sector
  • Build pressure groups & promotes the campaigns to advocate pro -poor policies & programs, ,
  • Organize issue based workshops, seminars & consultation for the benefits of likeminded stakeholders

AFARM in collaboration with like-minded organizations undertook advocacy initiatives with respect to ……

  • Reduce vulnerability of rain fed marginal farmers
  • State Organic Farming Policy
  • Fixing Minimum Support Price for Agriculture Commodities
  • Water Rights and Water Tariff policy
  • Ensure land entitlement to davits-/ landless
  • Charity Commissioner Contribution
  • Amendments in Bombay Public Trust Act 1950 -
  • Foreign Contribution Management and Control Bill 2005.

Some of the latest prominent advocacy initiatives are as follows

Campaign to Combat Vulnerability of the Farmers

AFARM in association with Prahar, Shetkari Sangatana and Kisan Mitra has built a campaign to combat the vulnerability of the farmers in Maharashtra with special case of farmers committing suicides in Vidharbha Region. The campaign was aimed to demonstrate and sensitize the Government regarding the deteriorating status of farmers in Maharashtra, pressurize it to fulfill the demands of farmers. As a result, Government initiated a process of implementing the accepted recommendations of National Farmers Commission headed by Dr. Swaminathan as well as the Dr. Narendra Jadhav Committee appointed by State Government.

The Farmers Campaign was strategically phased out in three phases as i) 1ST Phase: Farmers Convention ii) 2nd Phase: Manthan Shibir – Cadre Building on Farmers, 3rd Phase: Farmers Rally from Amravati to Meeting with Chief Minister at Pune. AFARM in association with like-minded NGO's has organised a series of meetings, workshops and consultations on the issues of farmer's livelihood. Through such meetings NGOs, CSO and CBOs have been sensitized to build a pressure group, resulting in the increase of actions and representations with government agencies and policy makers.

A brainstorming meet of representatives from various Indian States was organized in Amravati. After intense rounds of discussion, demands were derived at those needed immediate attention of the policy makers as well as implementers. A campaign is being initiated to propagate these demands at National Level.

The campaign core committee had detailed discussion with Hon. Chief Minister to present a charter of demands such as i) Sustained financial support should be provided by Government to the rain-fed farmers in longer run, ii) Concrete action plan by Government for the Implementation of Dr. Narendra Jadhav Committee recommendation, iii) Commitment by State Government for follow up with the Central Government for acceptance of Swaminathan Committee's recommendations which includes minimum support prices clause, iv) Inclusion of all agriculture operations / activities from sowing to harvesting is part of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

In accordance with the above demands, Hon. Chief Minister assured all that a steering committee will be set up at cabinet level in Maharashtra and the issue would be discussed with Hon. Shri Sharad Pawar, Agricultural Minister. The Chief Minister also assured the core committee members of the campaign that he would accompany their representations to the Central Government for meeting their demands in the context of National Farmers Commission Report. This includes addressing issue of increase in the Minimum Support Price of the agro produce, reducing disparity amongst the beneficiaries of rain-fed zone and inclusion of activities from ploughing to harvesting in MGNREGA. Similarly, a committee would be nominated to study the recommendations of Dr. Narendra Jadhav Committee in the stipulated time.

Formulation of State Organic Farming Policy

In the year 2010-11, Govt. of Maharashtra released draft State Organic Farming Policy and invited comments, suggestions on it. AFARM has disseminated the policy documents to NGOs, CSOs in the State and facilitated alternate policy for the effective promotion of the organic agriculture in the State. AFARM supported the cause, core agricultural reforms and took an initiative to advocate the changes to be brought into agriculture.

AFARM hosted the Study Group to review and draft alternate policy for promotion of organic farming in the State. After a series of consultative meetings with Government and Non- Government stakeholders, the Study Group came up with alternate policy for the promotion of the organic agriculture in the State. The alternate policy document has been disseminated among the Government and Non-Government decision makers and further followed up with Principle Secretary, Agriculture and Agriculture Minister for appropriate decision. As a result, some of the recommendations of Study Group were accepted by the GoM, action programmes were undertaken and budgetary provision was made for promotion of organic agriculture in the financial year 2011-12.

Review of norm & methods for Fixing Minimum Support Price for Agriculture

AFARM has facilitated the review of procedure and norms to fix minimum support prices (MSP) for agricultural produce. AFARM hosted a study panel, which consisted of experts in this field. The task of the group was to study existing minimum support prices along with the time series of the previous 5 years. This Study Group presented their findings to the activists and experts for their feedback. After a series of consultative meetings with government and non-government stakeholders, the Study Group came up with alternate criteria for fixing minimum support price to selected agriculture commodity with reference to Maharashtra. The report of the Study Group was disseminated among the government and non-government decision makers.

In March 2012, State level consultation with Commission for Agriculture Costs and Price (CACP), Government of India officials, CSOs, NGOs and Farmers from the Maharashtra State, was held at Latur. In this consultation, AFARM presented the findings and recommendations of Study Group on MSP before CACP. In this study, the difference between production cost and minimum support price was quiet evident and was highlighted by AFARM.

Having realized the urgent need to increase the MSP for selected agriculture produce and due to rigorous follow up by the various farmers' organizations and NGOs, CACP recommended to Government of India an increase in the MSP for the 2012-13 cropping season of the selected 9 crops by 25-40% over last year in April 2012. As a result, the Central Government accepted the recommendation and declared the minimum support price for the year 2012-13 accordingly.

Addressing Gender & Livelihood Issues in Dalit Land Rights Movement in Marathwada

In the year 2004, AFARM in association with Jamin Adhikar Andolan- JAA (Network of Civil Society Organizations engaged in ensuring right to land for landless dalits- Scheduled Caste communities) conducted a study on Status of Natural Resources in Grazing Land in 150 villages of 8 districts in the Marathwada region. The said study enabled AFARM to design a unique program for building the capacities of 21 JAA network member CSOs from the 8 districts of the Marathwada Region for addressing Gender & Livelihood Issues in Dalit Land Rights Movement in Marathwada.

The key issues addressed through this initiative were

  • Land based livelihood promotion
  • Women Empowerment
  • Land entitlement to landless dalits
  • Convergence of Govt schemes meant for dalits

This initiative has covered 6000 landless families from 240 villages of eight districts comprising Marathwada Region.