Grameen Foundation said it is launching the second phase of its Market Access eNabled by Digital Innovation in India (MANDI-II) project, funded by a $2-million grant from Walmart Foundation.

MANDI-II will aim to address challenges faced by smallholder farmers, especially women, in eastern Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal by building the capacities of farmer producer organisations (FPOs).

In the first phase of the project, also supported by Walmart Foundation, Grameen Foundation helped build the capacity of 40 FPOs in eastern Uttar Pradesh by facilitating market linkages, providing access to finance, data and technology, and increasing women’s participation.

MANDI-II will focus on further enhancing the sustainability and resilience of FPOs in eastern Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The 24-month intervention will engage 50 FPOs through a hub-and-spoke model, aiming to reach 35,000 farmers and targeting at least 40 per cent women farmers. Key objectives include increasing farmer incomes, strengthening FPOs’ governance and operations, and promoting market-led production for business viability.

“We are excited to collaborate with Grameen Foundation for the next phase of MANDI. We believe in the transformative potential of smallholder farmers in advancing India’s agricultural sector,” said Julie Gehrki, Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Walmart Foundation. “Through this project, we aim to provide farmers with the necessary tools, resources, and market access to improve their livelihoods and build sustainable futures for their communities.”

Bharati Joshi, Chief Programme Officer of Grameen Foundation, said, “The second phase of MANDI builds upon the successes of the first phase and represents a significant step towards increasing the incomes and building the resilience of smallholder farmers, especially women. By leveraging technology, market linkages, and gender mainstreaming, the project aims to generate impact across the agricultural landscape in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.”

The MANDI II project will play a crucial role in addressing the challenges faced by small and marginal farmers in eastern Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. By rescaling and empowering FPOs, this initiative will enhance farmer incomes, improve livelihoods, and foster sustainable agricultural practices, Grameen Foundation said in a statement.