MAHINDRA & Mahindra, a part of the USD 20.7 billion Mahindra Group, is collaborating with the Naandi Foundation, one of the largest and fastest growing social sector organisations in India, for the development of sustainable farming in Wardha.
The Wardha Family Farming Project (WFFP) was initiated as one of Mahindra’s flagship Corporate Social Responsibility programmes. The WFFP project delivered its first harvest of pomegranates which were plucked between May and July of this year.
The WFFP was initiated in 2015 and since then, it has gone through several stages from land preparation, implementation of drip irrigation systems to plantation, boundary and intercrop farming, institutionalising.
The aim is to help farmers through the development of techniques for sustainable cultivation which give them viable livelihoods. The project converted low yielding cotton land to high-value pomegranate plantation over 1,000 acres of land spread across 79 villages. These efforts by Mahindra and Naandi have already benefitted over 750 farmer households by ensuring sustainable income generation.
This maiden harvest has helped raise the farmers’ income from nil to Rs 60,000 approximately per acre at the current plant age of 2.5 years. Mahindra Agri Solutions Ltd. (MASL), a wholly owned subsidiary of M&M, is a key stakeholder for the development of efficient and sustainable market linkages for the project.
Ashok Sharma, MD & CEO, Mahindra Agri Solutions, said, “At Mahindra, we have a long association with farmers in India. The Wardha Family Farming Project was initiated with the aim of creating a viable source of income for farmers and helping them build a secure livelihood through sustainable agriculture. We aim to create a tangible impact on the farmers’ lives which ultimately helps us achieve our objective of driving rural prosperity.”
Sharma further added, “The first harvest of pomegranates encourages us to introduce more such initiatives that can support farmers and usher in hope and prosperity to the community. In fact, in this exciting new phase of Farming 3.0, our larger aim is to educate farmers about new technologies and provide them with real-time information, leading to enhanced productivity and farm income.”
Manoj Kumar, CEO, Naandi Foundation said “Like the Araku Coffee Project, most things Naandi does appears at first as well-nigh impossible. Hence getting hundreds of small farmer families in Wardha, Vidarbha region, which is infamous for climate change challenges and farm distress, and offering them a new transformative sustainable agriculture template of creating world-class organic pomegranate orchards, appeared very audacious. Luckily for us, Mahindra Group could foresee this as visionary and supported us to create this entirely new narrative for Indian agriculture. In less than three years, ours is the only oasis in the desert like rain-ed terrain. Farmers are delighted at their maiden pomegranate harvest and record prices earned. We think the “Red Rubies Revolution” has just begun and Wardha will be the center of India’s agriculture Renaissance”.
Mahindra has been working closely with farmers, consulting experts and building capacity. This project defines the very base of ‘Rise for Good, a call to action to do good.