Walmart Foundation on Wednesday announced its plan to support an additional 1 million smallholder farmers in India, with at least 50 per cent women, in the next five years.
The foundation also announced two new grants, which include USD 3 million to TechnoServe for reaching out to 30,000 farmers and 24 farmer producer organisations (FPOs) in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, with 50 per cent of them expected to be women. Another grant of USD 533,876 (over Rs 4.41 crore) to NGO Trickle Up to reach out to 1,000 women smallholder farmers in Odisha, connecting them with two FPOs, she said, adding that the focus is to ensure the system works better for farmers.
Addressing a conference here, Walmart Foundation President Kathleen McLaughlin said: “The foundation’s latest commitment to expanding market access for smallholder farmers in India builds on our efforts to identify solutions that can systemically help create shared value for all stakeholders.” The aim is to enhance farm inputs, provide market access, new buyers and technology support like cash-less transactions among others to smallholder farmers in India and make them self-sustain, she added. Speaking to PTI, McLaughlin, who is also Walmart Inc Executive Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, said, in the first phase since 2018, the foundation reached out to 8 lakh smallholder farmers in Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh.
“In the second phase over the next five years by 2028, we will continue our support to an additional one million small farmers in India and expand their access to markets,” she said. On funds to be spent in the second phase, she said, “We don’t know exactly how much it would be. We spent USD 39 million to reach 8,00,000 smallholder farmers in the first phase. You can do math based on this. Sometimes, it can be more or less depending on the programme.” Speaking on the occasion, Flipkart Senior Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Rajneesh Kumar said the company is committed to building a resilient and inclusive agribusiness supply chain.
“We know that grocery empowers local stakeholders, and working closely with the Walmart Foundation, and programmes such as Flipkart Krishi Samarth, we are creating a holistic ecosystem that helps farmers prosper by leveraging the opportunities that the digital economy presents. “Helping empower women, and in this case, women farmers and ensuring inclusive growth is at the centre of all our initiatives,” he added. Walmart.org represents the philanthropic efforts of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. It has stores in 20 countries, employs more than 2 million associates and does business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people.