Ashwani Muthoo, IOE Deputy Director, addresses the media in India
On the fringes of the recent learning workshop on the Impact Evaluation of the Jharkhand-Chhattisgarh Tribal Development Programme (JCTDP), held in New Delhi, India, on 11 June 2015, Ashwani Muthoo, Deputy Director of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) was interviewed by OneWorld South Asia, an international portal on sustainable development and human rights and Kisan Channel, the first TV channel dedicated to agriculture and farming - launched in May 2015 by Doordashan TV, India's oldest TV channel with nation-wide coverage. Muthoo shared interesting insights about the findings of the impact evaluation and IFAD's role in making smallholder farming profitable in India.
"There is definitely a need for greater investment in provision of credits, microfinance and for financial inclusion of smallholder agriculture and subsistence agriculture farmers. The private sector can provide opportunities for subsistence farmers in adding value to the produce that they generate, so that they can get higher returns, higher incomes, and higher prices for their produce", Muthoo said to OneWorld. "What India agriculture needs is greater entrepreneurship. At the same time, government also has a responsibility because there are segments of the population in rural areas who might not be able to participate in market reforms and market driven economy at the first instance", he added.
The interview to One World was also picked up by Zee News, one of the most important and influential TV channels in India, with an international coverage.
Following the interview aired on Kisan Channel, the TV network's representatives showed some interest in following-up with further communications initiatives, with the main purpose of disseminating the results of the evaluation and voicing the concerns of the local rural populations, in particular some representatives of marginalized groups and scheduled castes and tribes, who were the main beneficiaries of the JCTDP. Such initiatives will be particularly timely, as IFAD has recently launched a new project - the Jharkhand Tribal Empowerment and Livelihood Project (JTELP) – approved by the Fund's Executive Board in 2012. Developing a set of communications activities showcasing the main lessons from evaluating JCTDP will provide an opportunity to learn from past successes, understand the areas for improvement, and use the impact evaluation to refine the project as it folds out.