Kellogg and TechnoServe have announced the ‘Improving Livelihoods for Smallholder Farming Households in Uttar Pradesh’ program for smallholder wheat farmers’ economic empowerment in five districts of Uttar Pradesh, a state that contributes significantly to India’s total agricultural output. The program will help farmers improve crop productivity, access better markets, and bolster farmer livelihoods. According to the press statement, the project will be implemented with a membership base of at least 10,000 farmers, including 2,500 farmers directly reached through farmer field schools and farmer interest groups.
The program is one of Kellogg’s endeavors to nurture the planet under its better days initiative. It is an extension of a partnership with TechnoServe, which began in 2015, uplifting 12,000 farmers from Madhya Pradesh in the process by providing resources and training, improving farming practices, productivity, and livelihoods. As of 2019, the company said Kellogg has momentously supported 32,605 smallholder farmers across the globe, including 16,945 smallholders in India alone, surpassing its global sustainability commitments to support 15,000 smallholders by the end of 2020. To date, Kellogg has supported programs reaching more than 433,000 farmers of all scales globally.
India’s farming households, which comprise more than 50% of the country’s population, face severe demand and supply-side disruptions such as loss of labor, lack of access to input-output markets and information channels, and supply chain and logistical disruptions, further aggravated by Covid-19. These challenges may impact farmers’ incomes and are likely to hinder their ability to fund the next sowing season. To address this, the program will be focused on improving crop productivity and the quality of produce by promoting Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and weather-based crop advisory.
Speaking on the initiative, Amy Senter, chief sustainability officer, Kellogg, said, “India has approximately 126 million smallholder farmers, accounting for 86% of total operational holdings in the country. However, they have limited access to important resources which has a cascading effect on their livelihoods. We believe it is important to help people and communities grow. Our partnership centered on improving the livelihood of smallholder farmers in India contributes to our better days commitment to support 1 million farmers globally by the end of 2030.”
Commenting on the partnership, Punit Gupta, country director, TechnoServe India, said, “The Covid-19-induced slowdown has impacted smallholder farmer economics severely, and is expected to lower farmer household incomes by an average of over 30% across India. From a geographical perspective, Uttar Pradesh is among the states expected to experience the greatest value loss, due to their projected value decline and significant contribution to India’s total agricultural output value. Working with farmers to improve crop productivity and helping them access better markets will play a significant role in bolstering farmer livelihoods, and we are delighted to partner with Kellogg on this important effort.”
Climate Smart Agriculture initiative
With this program, Kellogg and TechnoServe aim for successful results, similar to the ‘Climate Smart Agriculture initiative in Madhya Pradesh’ which kick-started in 2015 and helped 12,000+ farmers in corn, wheat, soy, and legume-growing regions, to adopt profitable, environmentally friendly, and easily accessible techniques to improve yields, crop quality, and resilience to climate threats. Participating farmers witnessed a 20% increase in income, while families have also learned how to develop personal kitchen gardens, which improve nutrition and reduce food expenditures. The average household with a garden now consumes vegetables daily, while their spending on vegetables has decreased by nearly 75%. The expanded partnership between Kellogg and Technoserve aims to deliver more substantial impact on the lives and livelihoods of the 10,000 farmers in Uttar Pradesh.