An Opportunity to Partner with Poor Farmers in Southern India

An Opportunity to Partner with Poor Farmers in Southern India

Global Ministries is working with CREATE, an organization in Southern India to open the door to opportunity to farmers trapped in poverty and discrimination.


ImageGlobal Ministries is working with CREATE, an organization in Southern India to open the door to opportunity to farmers trapped in poverty and discrimination.

Dear Friends of Global Ministries:

My letter today is to all friends of Global Ministries, but especially those of you who are located in an area of the U.S. that is very involved in food production and agriculture in general.

ImageI write you today as the Global Ministries Program Associate for Southern Asia. I treasure my work with Global Ministries and believe in the capacity of our church and program partners in Southern Asia to make a difference in people’s lives. Also, as a farmer’s daughter who grew up in rural southern Ohio, I know that my father depended on the ability to take out loans in the spring, which he then repaid at harvest. Farming is a gamble under the best of circumstances, and farmers routinely gamble when they borrow against future harvests. My father was able to succeed enough to purchase our family farm and to send his four children to college. It wasn’t easy and we didn’t live extravagantly, but we had what we needed.

Perhaps my background is why I identify strongly with farming families in other parts of the world. For example, farmers in rural India have multiple disadvantages. They are very poor and they are of low caste, which leads to the presumption that they deserve the unfair treatment they receive. When farmers in rural India need to borrow seed money to plant their crop, they cannot approach banks. Banks will not loan poor, low-caste farmers any money. Farmers are forced to borrow from local lenders who charge 100 percent interest over the four month growing season. If a farmer borrows four bags of seed to plant, he must return eight bags at the end of the harvest. The result is that farmers cannot raise enough to support and feed their families. Many must migrate in the off-season to find work, which necessitates taking children out of school (or not bothering to put them in school). When a farmer loses a crop and goes into debt there is no hope of getting out of debt. Thousands of farmers have committed suicide in the last few years because they are so poor and in debt that they have lost hope.

ImageI don’t know about you, but my family and the many other farming families that I know could not have brought about a livelihood for their families under such conditions.

The Global Ministries Southern Asia Office is working with the Center for Research, Education, Action, Training and Evaluation (CREATE), an organization in Southern India, which is working with seven rural villages where farmers have been trapped in poverty for generations. CREATE is loaning money for digging wells and buying cows which the benefiting farmers will pay back over time at little or no interest. The wells will allow farmers who have been able to plant only one crop per year to begin planting two crops. This will end the need to migrate for work in the off-season and will allow children to stay in school. In addition, CREATE is establishing a revolving loan fund from which farmers will be able to borrow their seed money at a one or two percent interest rate.

Local farmers and villagers have formed an organization in which each has an equal voice in making decisions about the programs supported through CREATE – regardless of their caste. For the first time, farmers are daring to hope that they can provide for their families and that they can send their children to school.

ImageGlobal Ministries is providing the initial funding to create the Revolving Loan Fund and we are inviting agrarian and church communities in the U.S. to partner with farmers in India by helping to fund this revolving loan fund. We invite you and/or your congregation to walk with Global Ministries and CREATE on this journey as farming families in southern India seek hope and better lives for their families and communities.

Global Ministries is very grateful for your past, present and future support for God’s mission around the world, especially to reduce poverty and establish justice. I look forward to receiving questions and impression that you may wish to share on this matter, or on other aspects of the work of Global Ministries. To read more about the work of CREATE, please click  here  and if you wish to designate a gift for the revolving fund component portion of the CREATE program, you are welcome to do so!


Debra Frantz, Program Associate
Southern Asia Office, Global Ministries

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