Syngenta India, a leading agriculture company, launched a series of national level CSR interventions and support programmes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The programmes have been successful in benefiting over 1.5 million farmers and farming communities ever since the lockdown was announced, thereby helping farmers sell 2,442 metric tonnes of their produce. These initiatives helped farmers earn Rs 4.87 crore amid the lockdown through a collaborative effort by Syngenta India, Syngenta Foundation India and Agri-Entrepreneur Growth Foundation (AEGF).
At the onset of the lockdown, an initiative was undertaken to provide financial services support to the farmers and underprivileged sections in Bihar through the extensive network of Agri Entrepreneurs (AE). The digital financial transactions worth more than INR 13.5 lakhs were successfully completed across 10 districts of Bihar, through Spice Money and IDFC tools during March and April, 2020. In collaboration with the state government of Bihar, AEs ensured the availability of 13,266 ration cards for families below the poverty line. The AEs have helped more than 2,000 women farmers to access their Jan-Dhan accounts and have facilitated 2,000 farmers access PM-KISAN, the national direct cash transfer scheme.
Dr KC Ravi, Chief Sustainability Officer, Syngenta India, said, “Since the March 2020 lockdown, our AEs’ have helped 12,290 smallholder farmers sell 6,642 metric tonnes of produce and have enabled them to earn INR 4.87 crore.”
Giving details of the programme, Ravi further said, “As part of the programme, 500 boxes of grapes from Nasik were delivered to housing societies in Pune, transported grapes to Patiala, Punjab; supplied vegetables from Nasik to the e-commerce player, Go4Fresh; dispensed 100 metric tonnes of maize to online agronomy player Agri-Bazaar in Bihar; sold 10 metric tonnes of onions in Delgur; traded 70 metric tonnes onions in Kota, and 42.5 metric tonnes in Alwar; marketed and sold 301 MT of jackfruit and watermelon in Jharkhand and 10 MT of tea leaves from Assam.”
“Under this project, we ensured an efficient sorting and grading mechanism that has helped build more trust between buyers and sellers, and this has resulted in better prices for the produce.,” Ravi added.
Rajendra Jog, CEO, AEGF, said, “The AE programme model positions an AE to fully understand the situation and respond quickly and precisely to farmers’ agricultural needs, thus providing a high quality of response.”
Launched during 2019, AEGF is a collaboration between Tata Trusts and Syngenta Foundation India, aimed at creating wealth for resource-poor smallholder farmers in India through innovation, sustainable agriculture and by linking them to value chains. The awareness and education programme driven by AEGF have so far successfully reached out to more than 15.8 lakh farmer family members and directly to over three lakh farmers in the states of Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana through a network of 1,782 trained agri entrepreneurs (AE).
As part of CSR, Syngenta also provided frontline health professionals with 20,000 face masks, gloves, and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) in many states, successfully implementing sanitisation and awareness programmes across 100 villages in partnership with state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Rajasthan. 3,000 PPE kits to frontline workers including 1000 kits to Sasoon Hospital Pune was also provided under this initiative.