Ten thousand smallholder farmers in Andhra Pradesh are set to benefit from the introduction of sustainable irrigation products and practices under a programme offered by International Development Enterprises – India (IDEI) and supported with funding from the Walmart Foundation.
Providing a grant of US $750,000, Walmart Foundation will help IDEI take its Integrating Smallholder Farmers Into Market Systems programme to 10 districts in the state. The programme aims to introduce sustainable irrigation products and practices and create a complementary support ecosystem that will boost farm yields, reduce negative environmental impacts, and increase market access and smallholder farmer income.
The programme is expected to generate an additional US$7.4 million in annual farming income in the state at the end of the project period, with individual gains of US$400 per smallholder farmer household per year. Substantial water savings in agriculture are also anticipated, amounting to 33.4 million cubic metre (m3) of water saved for the state during the programme.
More than 62 per cent of the population of Andhra Pradesh are dependent on agriculture, and yet many farmers live in poverty and lack access to irrigation systems or other technologies to help them improve their productivity and income.
Sustainable agricultural products with practices are the keystone of the IDEI programme. It will target smallholder farming families with irrigation interventions and support for market-oriented development. Introducing sustainable irrigation will help smallholder farmers increase the planting and harvesting window, increase yields, and enable greater crop variety and productivity and unlocking new market opportunities. It will also generate cost savings and reduce negative environmental impact by curbing excess water and fossil fuel consumption.
IDEI will also work to catalyse an ecosystem of entrepreneurs to provide access to affordable water-use productivity technologies and practices and for the maintenance and upkeep of these systems. These complementary activities can further enhance economic opportunities in the target regions of Andhra Pradesh.
“Income poverty affects 1.3 billion people around the world and is a huge challenge. But simple solutions, like affordable modern irrigation, can make a massive difference. We have already helped more than eight million people of farming families improve their output and standard of living, and we are determined to now do the same for tens of thousands of smallholders in Andhra Pradesh,” said Amitabha Sadangi, Chief Executive of IDEI.
Angamuthu, a smallholder farmer from Tamil Nadu installed a drip irrigation system, said, “Before we never had enough money for our subsistence, but now we have surplus money to educate our children because of increased yield with all the support rendered by IDEI promoted drip.”.
The IDEI grant is a part of the Walmart Foundation’s initiative, announced in September 2018, to invest US $25 million (approximately Rs 180 crore) in philanthropic initiatives to improve farmer livelihoods in India over the next five years.
With this, the Walmart Foundation is focused on empowering Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) to serve as sustainable intermediaries that can help smallholders grow their incomes and improve their livelihoods. It aims to support FPOs and their farmer members to develop sustainable farming practices, share business best practices, add value to primary commodities, and improve access to financing and markets.
“We are pleased to support organisations such as IDEI who have expertise and a solid track record in strengthening farmers’ agricultural skills. This approach helps create sustainable livelihoods for farmers by increasing production and helps to preserve important natural resources for the future”, said Karrie Denniston, Senior Director, Walmart Foundation.