The Walmart Foundation has announced two grants totaling $4.5 million in support of smallholder farmers and farmer producer organizations (FPOs) in India.
Awarded as part of a five-year, $25 million investment announced by the foundation in 2018, the grants will help boost opportunities for women farmers via FPOs, which, according to the foundation, have proven critical during India's COVID-19 lockdown and are essential to the country's recovery. The grants include $2.6 million to Tanager to extend its Farmer Market Readiness Program and help farmers in Andhra Pradesh scale their knowledge, resources, and reach; and $1.9 million to Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN) to launch its Livelihood Enhancement through Market Access and Women Empowerment (LEAP) program in West Bengal, Odisha, and Jharkhand in eastern India. The programs help women in FPOs adopt new farming practices, diversify their output, and embark on profitable farming-related businesses.
"There is huge potential for innovative technology solutions to help farmers in India improve productivity and yield, access valuable market information, and succeed as part of a more efficient and transparent supply chain," said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Flipkart Group CEO and a member of the Walmart Foundation board of directors. "FPOs are key to the foundation's strategy for empowering farmers and bringing them into the digital era."
"Support for smallholder farmers and FPOs is essential for economic growth in India," said Amit Kumar Singh, Tanager team lead in India. "With grant funding support from the Walmart Foundation, Tanager will continue to improve access to markets for farmers in phase two of the program, while expanding to include new crops and streams of income and also providing support to farming families during COVID-19. Our ultimate aim is to develop FPOs into sustainable businesses that can thrive beyond the life of the project."