Walmart Foundation has announced a grant of $1.2 million to the Transform Rural India Foundation (TRIF). The grant is aimed at improving the rural livelihoods of 15,000 women farmers in Uttar Pradesh to increase their average base income. The two-year project will primarily focus on creating 10 self-sustainable women-led FPOs (Farmer Producer Organisations) and a platform for women farmers to strengthen and diversify their livelihoods.

As part of this project, the FPOs will receive assistance to develop business plans, and post-harvest infrastructure, and to build necessary systems and processes, including institutional operating spine (digital book-keeping, management control systems, standard operating procedures).

A media statement said on Thursday that the Walmart Foundation grant will support training and capacity-building sessions for the women farmers along with the adoption of climate-resilient practices such as soil health improvement, organic mixtures for crop nutrition and protection, and water management, among others.

Enhancing market linkage

Leveraging self-help groups (SHGs) promoted by the Deendayal Antodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM), a government programme, TRIF will support 15,000 women in productive roles within the FPOs, offering robust institutional aggregation to enhance market connections and boost earnings.

The statement said the project will also work with community representatives on building soil organic carbon through various methods of composting, ensuring soil vitality through precise testing and nutrient recommendations. It will further foster adaptive crop choices, encourage inter-cropping, and establish real-time agro-advisory from experts.

The interventions will include value chains such as pulses, cereals, and horticulture crops, apart from poultry, fisheries, and goat rearing.

Broadening outreach

Quoting Julie Gehrki, Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Walmart Foundation, the statement said: “The Walmart Foundation is dedicated to providing support to the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in India, particularly focusing on women farmers. This project strongly resonates with our commitment to reach 1 million farmers by 2028 with at least 50 per cent women. This investment will broaden our outreach to more women in rural areas and solidify our impact by promoting sustainable increases and unlocking additional sources of income.”

Anish Kumar, Managing Director of TRIF, said there is a massive opportunity to leverage women’s social capital in the form of SHGs and allied institutions across India. This can forge economic collectives, positioning women as a visible workforce in the agriculture sector, armed with access to resources, services, and markets. “This grant from the Walmart Foundation will help develop and demonstrate the institutional model for marginal and women farmers; we are grateful to Walmart Foundation and hopeful to build these lighthouses,” Kumar said.