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Strengthening Rural Livelihoods

80% of the people in the region live in remote rural areas far from (formal) markets, and depend mostly on subsistence agriculture, livestock rearing, forest produce and wage labour for their livelihood. 84% of the farmers are small, marginal farmers with two hectares of land or less, of which only half is fit for cultivation. Agriculture in the region is mostly rain-fed with only 23% of the cultivated area under irrigation. So most farmers are able to farm in only one season, during the monsoon period. Women constitute 72% of the agricultural workforce. 56% of households have at least one member, usually the male household head, migrating for casual labouring work away from their village to meet their household consumption and income needs. A concern for farmers in the region is also access to markets to purchase supplies for farming and animal rearing, and to sell their produce from

agriculture, livestock and forests. Most markets are 10-40 km away from the villages, so transport costs are an additional burden. Without access to established markets, most farmers have no alternative but to sell their goods in their village at prices 20-50% lower than the market rate. This results in very low profits.

Seva Mandir addresses the challenges in two main ways.

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