Farming is not an easy vocation. Apart from backbreaking work, it involves a lot of life-threatening risks. Even after those risks, the results are never certain, for the yield of agriculture heavily relies upon the weather and environmental conditions, which can never be predicted. For example, recently excessive rainfall in the Kutch region of Gujarat caused major losses to pomegranate farmers of the area. Many other fruits and vegetable crops depleted during the COVID-19 lockdown because there was no transportation available. Fall Army Worm and Locust attacks on crops also added to the devastating losses of farmers.
Despite such risks, the farmers keep working hard in their fields and ensure the food security of the nation. In return, they are left with nothing but poor returns, debts, diseases and shattered dreams. In order to uplift the lives of these ‘annadaatas’ the corporates of India have initiated various projects for the benefit of farmers, under the ambit of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Some of the top CSR projects for the benefit of farmers in India include:
Krishi Mitra – Mahindra & Mahindra
Mahindra & Mahindra, with the help of Swades Foundation, BAIF Development Research Foundation and Dr Panhabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, launched the Krishi Mitra project where it helped small and marginal farmers by educating them in updated techniques in farming. The farmers were trained in effective farming practices including soil health, crop planning, creating model farms with bio-dynamic farming practices, thereby increasing crop productivity, through the Wardha Family Farming Project, Krishi Mitra and Integrated Watershed Development Project.
In addition to this, the project also provided for soil testing, advisory services, drip irrigation, community farming, seed culture farming, agriculture extension services, infrastructure development and capacity building resulting in improvement in agricultural productivity, for the benefit of the farmers.
Project Mooo under HUL’s Prabhat Initiative
‘Project Mooo’ is a part of ‘Prabhat’, a community development initiative of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) that has been launched in partnership with UDAY – a skill development organisation partnered with the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC). The project is first of its kind holistic AgTech solution that aims to tackle milk deficit, traceability and private extension issue through dairy farm management and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) training.
The project was launched at Mohi Khurd Village in Rajpura, Punjab, India. It aimed at creating sustainable livelihoods for farmers by imparting dairy skills to rural farmers, including women dairy farmers. This included setting up of awareness camps on dairy as a sustainable business, providing digital & financial literacy, visiting farmers at their doorsteps with a team of dairy experts and empowering farmers digitally through MoooFarm farm management mobile application.
The application harnesses the power of big data to offer demand-led extension training to farmers. The analytics-based learning approach follows the ‘just-in-time learning’ model offering skills and techniques that transform the dairy farm management practices. It helps the farmers in calculating their costs and profits. The app maps the life cycle of each cattle owned by farmers, sends need-based alerts, offers learning video and tools, connects to local experts, and provides benchmarking stats among other features.
In order to ensure last-mile connectivity, each farmer was provided with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) training as well by the Village Level Entrepreneurs at farmer’s doorstep.
Farmer support programme by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd.
Adani is engaged in the upliftment of the rural areas through its CSR initiatives for a long time. Its farmer support program is only furthering its initiative. The program focuses on familiarizing the farmers with new methods and techniques of farming through the adoption of new technologies.
Under this program, Adani Foundation collaborated with the KVK (Krishi Vigyan Kendra) and took 30 farmers from five villages of Mundra in Gujarat on an exposure. The Foundation, along with 1,050 farmers from 35 villages of Tiroda region, effectively implemented an SRI (System of Rice Intensification). In addition to this, the Foundation empowered the farmers by with training them in low-water, labour-intensive and organic methods.
Under its SLD (Sustainable Livelihood Development) programme, Adani Foundation supported farmers by providing each with five kilograms of paddy (Siri NP – 405) seeds and 50 kilograms of vermin compost for taking up SRI. The programme achieved its prime objective of promoting organic methods of paddy cultivation. In the Tiroda region, the SRI method assisted 1,000 farmers in reducing their cultivation costs by 33% and increasing their crop productivities by 51%. Besides, 1,108 farmers and 5,464 cattle benefitted following the intervention of the Foundation in association with the Animal Husbandry Department for regular vaccinations, first aid, deworming, and infertility treatment drives in 17 villages of the Tiroda region.
mKrishi by Tata Consulting Services
Tata Consulting Services has created mKrishi, a customizable Mobile Agro Advisory System to enable farmers to send queries specific to their land crop and receive personalised replies from agricultural experts. The mKrishi service provides information in local languages on weather, soil conditions, fertilizer and pesticides, the price of grains, and other agriculture-related advice. Since 2008, more than 20,000 farmers in 400 villages have subscribed to this service. As the platform uses local language interfaces, including a voice messaging system, mKrishi makes it possible for illiterate farmers to get access to much-needed agricultural information and advice.