Revival of old traditional crops

June 20, 2017

India Placeholder

Revival of old traditional crops

About the Implementing organization

Name: The Swaraj SHG

Country: India

Year of establishment: 2014

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Community enterprise or business


It has been observed that local farmers in the project region are growing limited quantity of old crops such as millets and buckwheats due to various reasons. However, the revival of uses of watermills to process agricultural produces such as millets and buckwheats and convert them into highly nutritious products has further motivated local farmers to grow these agricultural produces in large quantity. Reasons behind local farmers motivated to grow old crops are that the Swaraj Group buy these crops at a fair price without the involvement of middlemen.

Nature Element


Type of Action

Restoration / Awareness and education

Sustainable Development Element

Food security

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

Environmental Impacts

Old crops like millets require less quantity of water to grow as compared to other crops. Growing crops like millets in hilly region are considered to be more suitable than water intensive crops. In hills, water availability is a problem since most of the water drains out. GIZ's pilot project has turned the attention to grow crops who are less water intensive but at the same time highly nutritive in nature.

Sustainable Development Impacts

Moreover, old crops like millets ensure food security to the local community. Farmers over a period of time have shifted to cash crops like vegetables to avail better price. However, cash crops like vegetables do not provide food security as compared to millets or buckwheats. The pilot project of GIZ has motivated local farmers to grow old crops who have lost relevancy in recent times.


Most of the farmers in the project region have small land holding which is less than a hectare. Crops which are grown by the farmers does not fetch enough revenue to sustain their living standard. This is a reason why farming is not considered to be a lucrative job and most of the farmers diversify their livelihood to earn better revenue. GIZ through its pilot project has demonstrated that local communities with the help of local resources (such as the uses of watermills and growing traditional crops) can earn better revenue and sustain their quality of life. Approximately 100 farmers are supplying raw materials to the Swaraj Group and it is expected that as the Swaraj Group expands its business, more farmers will be approached to sell their crops and earn better revenue.


The average size of land holding has been continuously decreasing on account of increasing number of land holdings From an average of 1.41 hectares in 1995-96, it went down to 1.15 hectares in 2010-11, a decrease of 18%. (

It can be inferred from above-mentioned fact that with an increase in a population of India, land holding will keep on decreasing. Therefore, a holistic approach has to be adopted where small land holders get a fair price for their agricultural produce. The approach of GIZ where a local community is capacitated to opt for livelihood opportunities based on local resources would create a long-term solution to food security.

Share this solution:



Equator Blog

About Equator Initiative 

Contact Us

Follow Us: