March 27, 2019 – Delhi/Hyderabad, India – The Walmart Foundation has provided a grant to the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) to strengthen agricultural production systems in rural and peri-urban locations in Telangana State, India. Marking the beginning of IFDC’s development project in India, the project takes a whole-farm systems approach, providing production sustainability interventions, strengthening the farmer organization, and creating market linkages.
The IFDC project, “Accelerating Farm Incomes (AFI): Building Sustainable Soil Health, Markets and Productivity in Telangana State,” is designed to bring benefits to smallholder farmers and communities of the Peri Urban Area (PUA), a growing segment of fresh fruit and vegetable producers in nodes close to cities. The AFI program will target peri-urban farmer groups through an innovative, capacity-building and market-driven approach. It is expected to be fully operational by April 2019.
The IFDC grant is part of a Walmart Foundation commitment, announced in September 2018, to invest US$25 million (approximately Rs. 180 crores) in philanthropic initiatives to improve farmer livelihoods in India over the next five years. Working beyond the Walmart India supply chain, the program specifically focuses on strengthening intermediaries that can more sustainably connect farmers to markets and agribusiness opportunities to help improve their livelihoods. Initiatives supported by the Walmart Foundation are already underway in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The project with IFDC is the first in Telangana.
Ishrat Jahan, IFDC Asia Regional Director, said, “This Walmart Foundation grant, combined with other regional grants, allows us to take a more holistic approach to address gaps in the agricultural food system, build farmer capacity, and help farmers access technology and best practices to farm in the most sustainable and efficient way.”
The Indian economy depends on the agriculture sector as its prime driver toward sustainable growth, development and poverty alleviation. Not only does agriculture meet the food and nutritional requirements of 1.3 billion Indians, it also provides employment and income for millions of smallholder farmers and their families. The sector is, however, currently facing challenges. While it has made large strides in achieving food security, availability, and accessibility, India faces a formidable crisis in that much of its soil suffers from severe nutrient deficiencies.
The AFI project will diffuse improved agricultural technologies to farmers through good agricultural practices (GAPs), capacity building, and micro-enterprise development. Each of these components is crucial to the sustainability of agricultural production systems. The project aims to improve crop yields and farmer incomes sustainably through appropriate technology use, particularly soil- and fertilizer-related technologies focusing on enhancing farm efficiency, along with other inputs such as improved seeds, crop protection management practices, and micro-irrigation. In addition, AFI project initiatives will focus on improving market systems and creating sustainable opportunities for farm sales in Telangana State.
“We welcome the opportunity to expand our work and empower farmers and rural entrepreneurs in India,” said Albin Hubscher, IFDC President and CEO. “Agriculture is the engine that powers Telangana State’s economy. Our valued partnership with the Walmart Foundation, Telangana State Government, and other stakeholders will keep that engine running.”
“Funding IFDC to expand into India extends Walmart Foundation’s ongoing efforts to develop and scale strong farmer producer organizations in critical nodes to help raise rural incomes and strengthen local communities in India,” said Karrie Denniston, Senior Director with the Walmart Foundation. “We are pleased to support IFDC to create new opportunities for farming communities in Telangana State.”
IFDC has previously received grant funding from the Walmart Foundation through its Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiatives. These grants supported the “Accelerating Vegetable Productivity Improvement” (AVPI) project in Bangladesh, which has reached over 70,000 women farmers with sustainable production interventions. These interventions helped increase the farmers’ horticulture yield and, in turn, the value of production. Farmers also reported shifts in their market knowledge and activities, including launching new opportunities for manufacturing and distribution businesses, such as for fertilizer briquette production and marketing and seedlings production and marketing.
The International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) began in 1974 with the mission to improve soil fertility and crop nutrition in tropical regions. Since then, IFDC has grown to encompass an array of agricultural solutions — from market development to policy advocacy, fertilizer technology development to project implementation in the field, and farmer mechanization to micronutrient research. For more information, visit www.ifdc.org.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
By using our strengths to help others, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation create opportunities for people to live better every day. Walmart has stores in 27 countries, employing more than 2.2 million associates and doing business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. Our philanthropy helps people live better by supporting upward job mobility and economic development for the retail workforce; addressing hunger and making healthier, more sustainably-grown food a reality; and building strong communities where Walmart operates and inspiring our associates to give back.
To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit http://giving.walmart.com/foundation
IFDC - Andy Thigpen (256-381-6600, email@example.com, @IFDCNews)
Walmart – Sunita Patnaik (Sunita.Patnaik@walmart.com @WalmartGiving)