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From Farmers to Entrepreneurs—Strengthening Malta Orange Value Chains Through Institutional Development in Uttarakhand, India

  • Choudhary, D.
  • Kunwar, M. S.
  • Rasul, G.

Malta orange (Citrus sinensis) is an important cash crop in the mountain state of Uttarakhand, India. Smallholder farmers growing it face multiple challenges due to unorganized and inaccessible markets; they are forced to sell to intermediaries at very low prices. In response, the government of Uttarakhand introduced a minimum support price for Malta oranges; however, this failed to address farmers' problems due to poor implementation. This paper presents the results of an action research project with farmers in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand to develop farmers' resilience by upgrading their position in the Malta orange value chain, targeting production, processing, and marketing through community-based enterprise development. Information was collected before and after the intervention by various means, including stakeholder meetings, focus group discussions, and interviews with farmers and value chain facilitators. Activities supported by the research have contributed to increased productivity and farmer incomes. Farmers became better organized, and their bargaining power improved considerably. The enterprise-based upgrading process brought about an inclusive and pro-poor Malta orange value chain system with improved terms of engagement for smallholder farmers. The research results show that policy change, improved provision of technical and financial services, establishment of common facility centers, and strengthening of farmers' institutions are imperative to enable smallholder farmers to engage in value chains and thus increase their resilience.

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