Walmart Foundation announces two new grants to help Indias smallholder farmers

 thehindu.com  09/17/2020 09:29:06  3

Walmart Foundation has announced two new grants amounting $4.5 million for this year to improve the conditions of women engaged in farming and to help boosting farm productivity as well as to increase farmers income in India.

These grants are part of a 2018 commitment by Walmart Foundationto invest $25 million (approximately 180 crore) over five years to improve livelihoods of farmers in India.

The funding has been provided to non-profits Tanager and PRADANto further scale their efforts to help farmers earn more from improved output and fair market access.

Walmarts objectivity is to directly source more from smallholder farmers in India to help in doubling their income.

In 2018 Walmart had pledged to source 25% of produce for its Best Price stores direct from farmers over 5 years. For 2019, 6.4% of produce sold through its Cash & Carry format was from local farmers.

The Foundation is also helping marginal farmers to get into new types of farm produce like mushrooms and other crops for better yield and pricing.

Both grantees will focus on increasing opportunities for women farmers via farmer producer organizations (FPOs), a top executive of the Foundation said.

With these two new grants, the Walmart Foundation has invested a total of $15 million with eight non-government organizations (NGOs) in India, supporting programs designed to impact more than 140,000 farmers, including nearly 80,000 women farmers, to date, the executive added.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has increased pressure on Indias farmers, especially women farmers shouldering extra responsibilities in the household while seeing their incomes diminish overnight, said Kathleen McLaughlin, president Walmart Foundation & executive vice president & chief sustainability officer, Walmart Inc. in an interview with The Hindu.

We and our grantee partners are focused on supporting farmers to increase their resilience and sustainability for a better future, she said.

PRADAN which will receive a grant of $1.9 million will introduce itsLivelihood Enhancement through Market Access and Women Empowerment(LEAP) program in West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand in eastern India.

LEAP will focus on supporting women to work together in FPOs to adopt new farming practices, diversify and intensify their output, and embark on profitable farming-related businesses.

With a focus on supporting women farmers from tribal populations and vulnerable groups, the LEAP program is expected to reach out to 45,000 women farmers directly benefiting a population of about 225,000 people.

So far the Foundations programs have been in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Uttar Pradesh and with the addition of 3 states from eastern India this year, it is moving to cover farmers in the country through a phased manner.

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