Over 6000 farmers in Andhra Pradesh will move to an improved business model for better value chains and better incomes through an intensive two-year project supported by the Walmart Foundation in partnership with ICRISAT.
At a meeting in New Delhi, senior representatives from Walmart and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropic (ICRISAT) launched ICRISAT’s program focussed on two key national priorities: doubling farmers’ incomes and addressing malnutrition in rural areas. Over the next two years, ICRISAT will work in Andhra Pradesh’s dryland farming areas with 6,100 smallholder famers, 2,000 of whom are women. The project will set up community-based millet and legume processing facilities, provide access to training and more productive plant varieties and educate buyers in the market about the nutritional value of grain legumes to help boost demand.
Walmart Foundation has granted close to US$2 million to the project as part of an ongoing initiative to improve market access for India’s smallholder farmers. Funds from Walmart Foundation of close to $4 million have now been allocated to projects in Andhra Pradesh within the past six months.
Julie Gehrki, Vice President of Philanthropy, Walmart Foundation said: “Many of the 6 million farmers in Andhra Pradesh have very limited access to formal markets. We believe sustainable development in farming communities can be accelerated through direct skills building and growth of entrepreneurship, which creates new opportunities for farming communities across Andhra Pradesh.”
An international scientific research institution with UN status in India, ICRISAT has been working in 17 countries across semi-arid tropics of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, for over 45 years. A key component of its Walmart Foundation-funded project is the establishment of networks of small enterprise centers where smallholder-produced grain legumes can be collected and jointly processed. These centers will be run by farmer organizations and, youth and women entrepreneurs, with appropriate training and support.
Dr Peter Carberry, Director General (Acting), ICRISAT, said: “Supporting smallholder farmers to better harness markets is a powerful way to help communities move from poverty to prosperity. ICRISAT’s Inclusive Market Oriented Development has supported millions of farmers across India towards better livelihoods. The support of Walmart Foundation is a great opportunity to further enhance the lives of smallholder farmers in Andhra Pradesh to build a better future.”
Paul Dyck, Walmart Vice President of Global Public Policy and Government Affairs, said: “Walmart has a long-term commitment to India that is based on supporting domestic businesses and empowering local communities. We believe that helping India’s small farmers unlock their potential is one of the most effective ways for us to do this, with a ripple effect that will bring positive benefits for generations to come.”
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation work to support farmers in many countries. Walmart Foundation focuses on efforts to address systemic barriers that prevent farmers from increasing their productivity and market access. This includes support for programs that build infrastructure, introduce market-enabling technology, increase access to finance, and provide training on business and farming skills and international food standards.
Between 2011 and 2017, Walmart Foundation funded training for 1.2 million farmers and farm workers in 15 countries. Women farmers made up more than half of those trained, with more than 600,000 benefitting directly. Walmart Foundation’s focus is now on programs to support farmers in India and Mexico.
Walmart is committed to improving the livelihoods of small- and medium-sized farmers around the world through its global sourcing programs and by providing assistance and training. In India, this includes the Sunhara Prayas market readiness project, which was launched in September 2017 in Uttar Pradesh to provide 750 mango and banana farmers with knowledge, resources and services to enhance their market-readiness, share best practices, and help increase their productivity.