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More Than 6000 Farmers Receive Training Under Sustainable Castor Programme

Over 6,200 farmers have been trained, audited and certified under project Pragati, the sustainable castor programme being implemented over past six years in Gujarat.

Shivam Dwivedi
Approximately 6,300 safety kits and crop protection product boxes have been distributed free of charge by BASF.
Approximately 6,300 safety kits and crop protection product boxes have been distributed free of charge by BASF.

Founded in May 2016 by Arkema, BASF, Jayant Agro Organics and implementation partner Solidaridad, Pragati aims to enable sustainable castor crop production by using good agricultural practices to increase yield and income.

It also aims to promote efficient water use, maintain soil fertility, adopt good waste management practices, and enable better health and safety, among others.

After six years, the programme has led to the production of over 50,000 tonnes of certified castor seed, a reduction of water consumption by approximately 30 percent in demo plots. Over 6,000 hectares are now being farmed under the SuCCESS sustainable castor code.

Farmers from more than 80 villages in North Gujarat are now participating in the program, BASF said in a statement. Pragati farmers are increasing their land dedicated to castor farming as it is a profitable crop.

The SuCCESS code mandates regular medical monitoring for all workers. Heavy emphasis is also put on improved personal safety and chemical hygiene. In addition, the farmers are encouraged to use renewable energy, wherever possible.

Approximately 6,300 safety kits and crop protection product boxes have been distributed free of charge by BASF.

The kits include disposable respirators, safety glasses and gloves, as well as easy-to-understand, picture-based instructions that show where, when and how to use each personal protection item, along with instructions on how to handle chemicals safely, the statement said.

The most common application of castor oil is as a laxative. However, castor oil is a popular treatment for dermatosis and fungal infections due to its natural antiviral and antimicrobial properties. It is also used to promote hair growth.

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