Ecologically sound, economically viable community managed sustainable agriculture in Andhra Pradesh – A report by Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty and World Bank

The learning note describes CMSA program and its approach, the institutional model supporting it and the implementation process.

CMSAThis report by Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty and World Bank deals with Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture (CMSA) in Andhra Pradesh.  The paper also analyses the initial results of economic and environmental impact of CMSA, distills the key lessons learned from the Andhra Pradesh experience, and draws possible implications for future.

To address the adverse impacts of green revolution, the alternative approach to manage agriculture i.e., CMSA is being tested and practiced in the State. The CMSA approach replaces the use of chemical pesticides with a combination of physical and biological measures—including eco-friendly bio-pesticides—and complements it by adopting biological and agronomic soil fertility improvement measures leading to reduced use of chemical fertilizers.

This has significantly reduced the cost of cultivation, the need for large amounts of credit, and indebtedness that results. These transformational changes have been achieved without any reduction in the productivity and yields for the participating farmers. Initial results from CMSA in Andhra Pradesh show a significant net increase in farmers’ incomes in addition to significant health and ecological benefits.

CMSA uses an institutional platform of community organizations and their federations to plan, implement, manage, and monitor the program and provide a single window approach for delivery of livelihood improvement services and enterprises, exclusively for small-farm holders. Over 300,000 farmers have adopted CMSA in Andhra Pradesh alone, covering 1.36 million acres of farmland—5.1 per cent of the net cropped area in the state—in just over four years.

There is a potential of scaling up this approach to the whole of India as CMSA is showing trends of being economically viable and ecologically friendly. The newly set up National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture in India is considering adopting CMSA as one of the key strategies at the national level.

As this approach challenges the dominant high input subsidized model for agricultural inputs and relies more on the efforts of communities, it is likely to trigger a debate on the new paradigm for agriculture for small holder rainfed farmers and its role. CMSA approach will also point to the new directions in the area of adaptation to climate change in case of agriculture sector and provision of environmental services by the small holders.

The report can be downloaded below -