Women income enhancement project wins 2021 Sustainability Agriculture Award in India

14 February 2022
Focused on building resilience of Indian women farmers, Louis Dreyfus Foundation’s project ran jointly with the Centre for microFinance, recently scooped the 2021 Sustainability Agriculture Award in the Outstanding Sustainable Farmer Income Enhancement Program category.

The award ceremony took place on 17-18 November 2021 in New Delhi and was attended by the project team and the LDF representative in India Vipin Gupta, CEO and Head of Grains & Oilseeds for LDC India.

Established in 2021 by the Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the Sustainability Agriculture Award recognizes the efforts from the private sector and non-profit organizations in promoting sustainable agriculture development across the country.

Launched in 2020, the project has benefited 3,717 women farmers from 50 villages of the Tonk district in Rajasthan, enabling them to achieve higher yields and produce quality vegetables sustainably. A great achievement, to which Louis Dreyfus Foundation was proud to contribute”, explains Vipin Gupta.

The district of Tonk lies in the semi-arid eastern plains of Rajasthan in India, a farming region with low productivity, limited rainfall and a high incidence of poverty. Many of Tonk’s farmers are women, who are struggling to provide food security for their families due to poor crop yields. The average size of their farms is less than one hectare, and these tiny holdings face huge challenges. A high proportion of the soil is poor quality and low in nutrients. Disease and pests cause widespread crop losses, and farmers lack access to education about sustainable agriculture.

The project helped the beneficiaries diversify their sources of income thanks to the production of different food crops and vegetables, while developing their competencies in agricultural technology, natural resources management as well as microfinance.

Thanks to all project interventions, local farming communities have so far seen a 41%-improvement in their income derived from agriculture, compared to baseline values. The intensification of food production helped women producers to generate food surplus allowing them to cover their household’s food requirements for additional 3-4 months. This increase in both income and productivity has contributed significantly to improving the livelihoods of households and embarking on a pathway out of poverty.

The program has been extended until 2024 and aims to empower another 6,000 women farmers from 100 villages in Rajasthan, through crop diversification, improved livestock production, and water use efficiency. 450 farmer groups will be trained on financial literacy to allow them to apply for government financing.