The Walmart Foundation Announces Two New Grants
NEW DELHI, India, August 2019: Deepening its commitment to improving farmer livelihoods in India, the Walmart Foundation today announced $4.8 million (approximately Rs. 34 crores) in grants to Digital Green and TechnoServe to enable programs that help smallholder farmers have access to agriculture technology, training on sustainable farmer methods, enhanced access to formal markets, and skill and capacity building for farmer producer organizations (FPOs).
These grants are a part of the Walmart Foundation’s commitment made in September 2018 to contribute $25 million (approximately Rs. 180 crores) over the next five years to improve farmer livelihoods in India. Separate from this commitment, Walmart India also announced it would grow its direct sourcing from farmers to 25 percent of produce sold in its Cash & Carry stores by 2023.
With today’s announcement, the Walmart Foundation has contributed over $10 million (approximately Rs. 71 crores) toward its $25 million goal. These grants are expected to create a meaningful impact to more than 81,000 farmers, including more than 29,030 women farmers (many of whom are organized into FPOs) in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.
Walmart.org, through the combined philanthropic efforts of both Walmart and the Walmart Foundation, recognizes the challenges smallholder farmers face in sustainably growing their production and in forging linkages to finance, infrastructure and markets. As such, Walmart.org is working to address systemic barriers that prevent smallholder farmers and FPOs in India, Mexico and Central America from increasing their access to markets and improving their livelihoods as well as creating opportunity for entrepreneurship in South Africa.
“Today’s grant announcement builds upon the Walmart Foundation’s efforts to increase economic opportunity for smallholder farmers and their families while promoting sustainable farming practices and the empowerment and inclusion of women,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, Walmart Foundation President and EVP, Chief Sustainability Officer of Walmart. “The work being accomplished by our grantees and their partners is inspiring. We hope the Walmart Foundation’s commitment, alongside the work of Walmart and Walmart India’s direct farm sourcing teams, will help drive real momentum in sustainable agriculture development in India and we encourage others to join us in our commitment.”
The Walmart Foundation’s grant of $1.3 million (approximately Rs. 9 crores) to the Digital Green will help develop ‘Farmstack’, a digital data platform designed to provide better services for and enhance the livelihoods of Andhra Pradesh farmers, specifically targeting lower-income communities in farmer producer organizations. "The Walmart Foundation's support furthers our mission of using digital tools to amplify the impact for smallholder farmers, who are the backbone of India's agri-economy. We're grateful for the opportunity to work with smallholder farmers in improving their own livelihoods and those of others in their community, in a manner that’s nutrition-sensitive, climate-resilient, and inclusive," Vinay Kumar, Managing Director, Asia, Digital Green said.
TechnoServe will use its $3.5 million grant (approximately Rs 25.2 crores) to help develop and train up to 20 FPOs and facilitate market linkages by setting up procurement and aggregation systems. The program will also focus on training women smallholders to help expand their market options, as well as extend support to smallholder farmers on sustainable agriculture practices. With this funding, TechnoServe aims to boost incomes for 25,000 farmers (50% of whom will be women).
"Increasing farmer incomes is a powerful call to action. Sustainable agricultural practices, market linkages, and effective management at the FPO level can boost smallholder farmers’ inclusion, incomes, and livelihoods across India. With the support of the Walmart Foundation, we look forward to building on our decade-long experience creating lasting change in the country’s agricultural sector,” said William Warshauer, CEO of TechnoServe.
Today’s announcements were made at the ‘Strengthening Agri Systems: Road to supporting smallholder farmers and boosting incomes’ Summit,’ which was jointly organized by Walmart.org and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in New Delhi. The summit includes leaders in the government, trade organizations, nonprofits, suppliers, retailers and others who are leading initiatives throughout all areas of the agriculture supply chain, from farm to fork, and aims to help engage key stakeholders across the sector to address the barriers faced by smallholder farmers and farmer producer organizations (FPOs).
The event was inaugurated by Hon’ble Shri Rameswar Teli, Minister of State for Food Processing Industries, Government of India. Delivering the event's keynote address Shri Teli said, “I laud Walmart for its Rs. 180 crore ($25 million) commitment towards strengthening the Indian farm sector. The private sector is playing a strong role in aiding development in the agriculture and food processing sectors. These will play a major role in the Government's vision of doubling farmer incomes by 2022."
Shri Vivek Aggarwal, Joint Secretary (Crops & IT) & CEO-PM KISAN, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, who was also present, said, “All stakeholders, across the private and public sectors, must work together to enable better prices for farmers and help them access markets across India. This will necessitate the intervention of private sector players, and for India’s FPO movement to prioritize remunerative prices for the farming community.”
Summarizing the ethos of the event, Jyoti Vij, Deputy Secretary General, FICCI said: “We need to create an enabling environment for consolidating smallholder farmers by connecting consumers with producers, thus creating a sustainable production and consumption ecosystem. To achieve this, efforts are required to create strong market linkages, bring scientific storage technologies and efforts towards consolidation of produce by strengthening models such as FPOs. FICCI is fully committed to this cause and is directing efforts to achieve this endeavor. Discussions such as today's Summit are important to spur greater interventions in this area.” The event also included participation by senior leadership from Walmart India and Flipkart Group.