The Walmart Foundation announced three new grants totalling over $3 million with BAIF Development Research Foundation, Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) and Collective Good Foundation (CGF). These grants aim to empower smallholder farmers through sustainable agriculture practices in the State of Maharashtra.

These three grants reaffirm the Walmart Foundation’s continued commitment to supporting local grantees to help strengthen Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and enable farming communities in the rural heartlands of India establish and maintain a more robust, sustainable and equitable agricultural sector. The initiatives focus on climate-resilient farming, bolstering livelihoods through enhanced value chains and promoting women’s active participation in agriculture in Maharashtra.

The BAIF Development Research Foundation received a grant of $1,560,535 for improving livelihoods and gender integration through value chain initiatives in tribal regions. Targeting three districts — Palghar, Nasik and Jalgaon — the project aims to impact 14,700 farmers and the focus is on enhancing yield for existing crops, cultivating high-value vegetables and flowers, and improving livestock breed management. The effort includes training and exposure programs for FPOs and projects an involvement of 40 per cent women farmers.

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“We are happy to be supported by the Walmart Foundation, which we will use to benefit the rural poor, particularly women, for improved livelihoods and gender integration through value chain initiatives impacting 14,700 farmers,” said VB Dyasa, regional director (west region) of BAIF Development Research Foundation.

Also the Walmart’s Foundation’s grant of $1,242,650 to WOTR for Project RISE strives to establish resilient incomes for smallholder farmers. Encompassing three districts — Jalna, Dharashiv and Solapur — and working with 11 FPOs, this initiative aims to reach 20,000 farmers. The project’s key interventions include establishing Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) as trusted market players, developing a sustainable farming system and setting up a green inputs center. With a 50 per cent target of women farmers, the project holds a promise of enhancing farmers’ earnings and a 40 per cent reduction in farmer input costs.

“The project is geared towards transforming FPCs into EbA-compliant (Ecosystem-based Adaptation) powerhouses. EbA practices ensure seamless integration of profits and ecosystem preservation — where the pursuit of financial gains doesn’t compromise with the environment,” said WOTR Executive Director Prakash Keskar.

“Furthermore, the project aims to facilitate partnerships between FPCs and institutional buyers, enhance FPC governance using technology platforms, and make them a trusted market player,” Keskar added.

The Walmart Foundation’s grant of $500,000 to the Collective Good Foundation aims to empower 12 FPOs and drive climate-resilient growth for 10,000 farmers across five districts — Amravati, Solapur, Latur, Osmanabad and Nanded — in the State with 70 per cent of them being women. The initiative aims to provide access to financial resources, capacity development for farmers and to strengthen FPOs. These farmers will focus on crops such as pulses, soybean, dairy, millets, fruits and vegetables.

“We are delighted to start this grant from the Walmart Foundation under our Accelerating Climate Transition (ACT) initiative. At CGF we are committed to improving livelihoods for 10 million farmers of whom 50 per cent will be women through the THRIVE network”, said Priya Naik, CEO and founder, CGF.

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“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our lifetime that threatens livelihoods, and we believe partnerships like these will go a long way in building climate resilience and improved incomes for the most vulnerable communities. We look forward to leveraging our deep partnerships with common service centers, agricultural experts, ONDC and other stakeholders to enable FPOs to truly realize their potential of becoming financially sustainable, and climate-smart, farmer-led companies,” Naik added.

“We support nonprofits in a way that goes beyond the fields. We’re excited to invest in grantees’ potential to drive change,” said Julie Gehrki, Vice President for the Walmart Foundation.

“Through these grants, we are helping create a farming ecosystem that is resilient, accessible and inclusive, thereby ensuring that every farmer, especially women, can use technology and sustainable practices to grow crops and invest in their own futures,” Gehrki added.