Majority of the Tibetan in India are settled in 12 agriculture based settlement across India in different states. Since establishment of Tibetan settlements and till late 1990’s where agriculture is one of the most important economic activities in the Tibetan settlements. Because of mono-cropping and dependence on chemical fertilizers year after year for last many decades, there is general decline in soil fertility, drastic increase in the cost of cultivation and low incomes from agriculture. Although over 40% Tibetan households in South Asia engage in small scale agriculture, farming accounts for less than 10% of aggregate household income. Low-value crops, lack of value addition, and poor market linkages present significant opportunities for households and small agribusinesses to increase income from farming. Motivated and determined farmers are now old and are unable to do farming whereas youngster in general are less interested in agriculture due to low income coupled with it being labour intensive and other factors attributing to the general overall decline in choosing agriculture as an occupation. However, 52 % of settlement youth surveyed in 2010 reported strong interest in pursuing agriculture if they are given opportunity to adopt more advanced farming methods and marketing strategies, they are willing to experiment with crops that have good agribusiness potential.
The Department of Home’s agriculture program aims to revitalize agriculture development in targeted Tibetan settlements by identifying new opportunities for value addition and marketing of both conventional and organic cash crops. Efforts are underway to transform Tibetan agriculture from farm production to an agribusiness model. Value chain and demand analysis are being conducted in four agro-climatic zones of India and two in Nepal, led by experts experienced in linking high value agriculture with markets. Experts are also assessing the feasibility to strengthen the Bylakuppe Organic Research and Training Center (ORTC) and three regional centers that can demonstrate value addition and facilitate collective marketing of organic products.