Walmart Foundation, the philanthropy arm of retail major Walmart, on Thursday announced two new grants, totalling USD 4.5 million (around Rs 33.16 crore) to help improve farmer livelihoods in India. The new grants will help two NGOs -- Tanager and PRADAN -- to further scale their efforts to help farmers earn more from the improved output and fair market access, Walmart said in a statement.
Both grantees will focus on increasing opportunities for women farmers via farmer producer organisations (FPOs), it added. In the latest round of Walmart Foundation grants, international non-profit organisation Tanager will receive over USD 2.6 million to extend its Farmer Market Readiness Program and help farmers in Andhra Pradesh.
Delhi-based PRADAN will receive USD 1.9 million to launch its Livelihood Enhancement through Market Access and Women Empowerment (LEAP) program in West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand in eastern India. LEAP will focus on supporting women to work in FPOs to adopt new farming practices, diversify and intensify their output, and embark on profitable farming-related businesses.
"With these two new grants, the Walmart Foundation has invested a total of USD 15 million with eight non-government organizations (NGOs) in India, supporting programs designed to impact more than 1,40,000 farmers, including nearly 80,000 women farmers, to date," it said.
These new grants are a part of Walmart's commitment in September 2018, to invest USD 25 million (around Rs 180 crore) over five years for improving farmer livelihoods in India. "The COVID-19 pandemic has increased pressure on India's farmers, especially women farmers shouldering extra responsibilities in the household while seeing their incomes diminish overnight," Walmart Foundation President and executive vice president and chief sustainability officer of Walmart Inc Kathleen McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin further said "we at the Walmart Foundation and our grantee partners are focused on supporting farmers to increase their resilience and sustainability for a better future." Walmart Foundation works with NGOs that support farmer producer organisations to develop their capabilities and scale to more members. The overall aim is to help FPOs develop knowledge of sustainable farming practices, share business best practices, add value to primary agricultural commodities and improve access to finance and markets.
"There is huge potential for innovative technology solutions to help farmers in India improve productivity and yield, access valuable market information and succeed as part of a more efficient and transparent supply chain. FPOs are key to the Foundation's strategy for empowering farmers and bringing them into the digital era," said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Flipkart Group CEO and a member of the Walmart Foundation Board of Directors.
NGOs and their FPO partners proved critical during India's COVID-19 lockdown and with the support of the Walmart Foundation, they were able to mobilise to meet urgent needs for food and hygiene supplies, organise safe sales channels, support harvesting operations, and continue with training programs and initiatives, the statement said.