Bayer-led global alliance ties up with Big Basket to boost farmers’ income in India
A global alliance led by Bayer and IFC announced partnership with e-commerce firm Big Basket to help small farmers in India raise their income by providing them knowledge to use inputs efficiently and timely as well as access to markets to sell produce.
In April this year, Germany-based agro-chemical major Bayer, International Finance Corporation, Netafim and Swiss Re Corporate Solutions launched the ‘Better Life Farming’ alliance to provide innovative solutions for smallholder farmers in developing economies.
The global alliance has now roped in local partners — Yara Fertilisers, DeHaat and Big Basket — in India to scale up its operations.
‘Better Life Farming’ project started in India in 2016 and the alliance is targeting to reach 6,500 small and marginal farmers by 2019 from around 2,000 farmers this year and 250 farmers in 2017.
The alliance is working with farmers in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand who are growing green chillies and tomatoes. It plans to work for corn farmers as well.
“We want to support smallholders because we truly believe that empowering them is crucial to achieve food security. At the same time, we want to increase their livelihoods,” said Peter R Mueller, Head of Crop Science Division, Bayer South Asia, at a round table conference here.
A senior Bayer official highlighted that farmers were able to double their yields and triple their farm incomes during the pilot project. He explained that this project will run on a business model and not as CSR activities.
The alliance plans to rope in partner working in the field of credit and insurance, the official said.
“Many smallholder farmers reach less than 20 per cent of their potential productivity owing to limited access to inputs, credit, and markets. The adverse effect of climate change further increases their risks,” said Rick Van der Kamp, Senior Operations Officer, MAS Advisory, IFC.
Water management firm Netafim’s India MD Randhir Chauhan said this alliance aims to offer solutions to most urgent global challenges, such as the growing demand for food and scarcity of water.
“By using precision irrigation, and other advanced farming practices the alliance brings, smallholder farmers can significantly increase their yields, reduce their vulnerability to weather changes and ensure economic growth,” he added.
Vipul Mittal, National Category Head, Fruits & Vegetables, Bigbasket.com, said the ‘Better Life Farming’ alliance gels very well with its strategy of partnering with Indian farmers directly.
“We use our technology based online platform to completely disintermediate the value chain of fruits & vegetables and hence give a better realisation to farmers. The alliance will help us support farmers, who are using better technologies and producing quality produce,” he added.