AP minister launches ICRISAT-Walmart processing unit; To benefit 6,000 farmers

AP minister launches ICRISAT-Walmart processing unit; to benefit 6,000 farmers

Kakani Govardhan Reddy, Minister for Agriculture & Cooperation, Marketing, Food Processing, Government of Andhra Pradesh, inaugurated a secondary processing unit (SPU) set up by ICRISAT-Walmart in Mudulapuram village in Anantapur district on August 10, 2022. The unit creates new livelihoods and better market access opportunities through value-added groundnut, millet, and other nutritious products.

The SPU launched today is approved by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and is expected to benefit over 6,000 smallholder farmers in Anantapur district. The facility which has a built-up area of 1,000 square meters, is operated by the women-led Rythu Nestham Food Producer Company (RNFPCL).

RNFPCL was established with support from ICRISAT and the Accion Fraterna Ecology Centre (AFEC) and includes farmers from nine FPOs across eight sub-districts (mandals) of Anantapur district. The facility is equipped with five processing lines, which will produce highly nutritious millet and pulse-based ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat formulations such as traditional khichdi and upma mixes, high oleic groundnut products comprising of nutrition bars (chikki), cookies, snacks and savories, and healthy cold pressed groundnut oil.

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“Our government’s priority is to make agriculture more viable and profitable for farming communities. This women-led food processing unit will boost sustainable farming and market access for local agricultural communities, provide employment to women and youth and create new opportunities for community-managed industry through the development of more food processing units. We congratulate Walmart Foundation, Flipkart, ICRISAT and AFEC on this initiative, and look forward to more such collaborations in the future,” said Govardhan Reddy.

“The entire infrastructure of the unit will ensure improved livelihoods and better opportunities for smallholder farmers. The launch of this SPU in the district will bring synergy between agriculture and the food processing industry,” said S Nagalakshmi, Collector and District Magistrate Anantapur, Government of Andhra Pradesh.

“We are constantly looking for ways to empower our communities. Walmart Foundation’s grant to ICRISAT aims to better support farmers’ incomes while strengthening and diversifying the services of farmer producer organisations (FPOs) to deliver benefits to their members. It aligns well with our efforts in India to provide grant support to programmes expected to benefit and improve livelihoods by enhancing opportunities for smallholder farmers in the country,” said Julie Gehrki, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Walmart Foundation.

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“ICRISAT fosters entrepreneurship in dryland agriculture by opening new avenues and opportunities for farmers, particularly women. With support from the Walmart Foundation, ICRISAT is helping smallholder farming communities in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh to attain knowledge of sustainable farming practices. Smallholder farmers are enabled out of subsistence farming to produce surpluses that can be sold in markets paving the way for prosperity in the drylands,” said, Dr Jaqueline d’Arros Hughes, Director General, ICRISAT.

Dr YV Malla Reddy, Director, Accion Fraterna Ecology Centre (AFEC) and Rajneesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Flipkart spoke at the launch. The association of Flipkart through Walmart is expected to expand access to e-commerce to FPOs across Andhra Pradesh.

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