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Walmart Foundation's $1.5-Million Grant Promotes Resilient Agriculture in UP and Karnataka, Empowering FPOs

The extension of Sehgal Foundation's project, supported by the Walmart Foundation, aims to empower Farmer Producer Organizations in Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, enhancing agricultural resilience and market readiness for smallholder farmers.

Saurabh Shukla
Walmart Foundation's $1.5-Million Grant Promotes Resilient Agriculture in UP and Karnataka, Empowering FPOs (Photo Source: Walmart)
Walmart Foundation's $1.5-Million Grant Promotes Resilient Agriculture in UP and Karnataka, Empowering FPOs (Photo Source: Walmart)

The S M Sehgal Foundation has made a significant announcement on 19 March 2024, regarding the extension of its transformative project, 'Bolstering Farmer Producer Organizations,' into the states of Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. This initiative, which commenced in 2023 with generous support from the Walmart Foundation, is set to enter its next phase with an enhanced focus on empowering 23 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and their 23,000 members. The primary objectives of this extension include boosting the capacities of FPOs, promoting climate-resilient agricultural practices, and establishing infrastructure geared towards enhancing the value of crop production.

Julie Gehrki, the Chief Operating Officer of the Walmart Foundation, expressed enthusiasm for supporting the second phase of the project. She highlighted the crucial role that strengthening FPOs plays in creating opportunities for smallholder farmers in India. Gehrki emphasized the importance of capacity building, transparent governance structures, and sustainable business models in ensuring the long-term success of FPOs.

The initial phase of the 'Bolstering Farmer Producer Organizations' project, spanning from 2021 to 2023, yielded significant positive outcomes. Ten FPOs were impacted, with 8,000 existing members strengthened and an additional 2,000 new members enlisted. Notably, the project ensured gender inclusivity, with one-third of leadership roles held by women. Approximately 2,500 women benefited from skill development programs, with a substantial portion actively participating in project activities at the FPO level.

Over 30,000 beneficiaries were reached during the project's initial phase, thanks to interventions aimed at strengthening institutional governance, enhancing agricultural practices, fostering business development, and promoting financial inclusion. The forthcoming phase aims to build upon this foundation by preparing FPOs for market engagement through targeted initiatives, advanced training, and support.

Anjali Makhija, Trustee and Chief Executive Officer of S M Sehgal Foundation, highlighted the transformative potential of organizing smallholder farmers into FPOs. She highlighted the success of the first phase in increasing women's participation, with 92 women-led Farmer Interest Groups actively engaged in FPOs.

The overarching vision of the project is to empower FPOs to independently undertake initiatives and offer value-added services to their members. By promoting transparent and inclusive business models, the project seeks to create self-sustaining operations that enhance resilience and self-reliance in agricultural communities.

The S M Sehgal Foundation will continue its collaboration with grassroots groups, research bodies, academic institutions, and social enterprises to create a supportive ecosystem for FPOs. This strategic partnership aims to foster innovation, market linkages, and sustainable development in the agricultural sector, ultimately improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in India.

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