This week we are going to take a step back from the United States irrigation news and peak into what has been happening in India. Though the United States is a large producer for corn, soybeans, and a few others. Other countries have the ability to grow and produce crops that we are not as lucky to grow but still depend on for feeding our families.
Currently, India has been seeing some large challenges with irrigating their fields, this is when the Walmart Foundation began to support the IDEI irrigation project with the goal to raise the incomes for 10,000 smallholder farmers.
Why was this so important for India? More than 62% of the population of Andhra Pradesh are dependent on agriculture, but lack the much-needed access to irrigation systems or other technologies that could help them improve their productivity and income when they sell their crops after the growing season.
This is where the Walmart Foundation stepped there are ten thousand smallholder farmers in Andhra Pradesh that are set to benefit from the introduction of sustainable irrigation products and practices under a program offered by International Development Enterprises – India (IDEI). The Walmart Foundation assisted in the costs of funding this project.
Providing a grant of $750,000, the Walmart Foundation will help IDEI develop the integrating smallholder farmers into market systems program to ten districts in the state. The IDEI confirmed this in a press release.
The program aims to introduce sustainable irrigation products and practices and create a complementary support ecosystem that will increase farm yields, lessen negative environmental impacts, and increase market access and smallholder farmer income.
This is so important to the area because of one simple fact that was listed earlier. More than 62% of the population of Andhra Pradesh are dependent on agriculture and lack access to irrigation systems or other technologies to help them improve their productivity. But the good thing is that companies and government programs are seeing the needs of the farmers and helping them become better producers.
In a recent India Times article, Amitabha Sadangi, Chief Executive of IDEI said, “Income poverty affects 1.3 billion people around the world and is a huge challenge. But simple solutions, like affordable modern irrigation, can make a massive difference. We have already helped more than 8 million people of farming families improve their output and standard of living, and we are determined to now doing the same for tens of thousands of smallholders in Andhra Pradesh.”
The IDEI grant is a part of the Walmart Foundation’s commitment, announced in September 2018, to invest the $25 million in philanthropic initiatives to improve farmer livelihoods in India over the next five years. It’s been a slow process and is not near it’s the end of its five-year plan but slowly the produces in India with beginning to see profit increases due to this grant program.
In the same India Times article, the Walmart Foundation director said that they were pleased to support organizations such as IDEI who have the expertise and a solid track record in strengthening farmers’ agricultural skills. This approach helps to create sustainable livelihoods for farmers by increasing production and helps to preserve important natural resources for the future.
The larger hopes for the outcomes of their 5-year plan. The program is expected to generate an additional $7.4 million in annual farming income in the state at the end of the project period, with individual gains of $400 per smallholder farmer household per year, it said. Substantial water savings in agriculture are also anticipated, amounting to 33.4 million cubic meters of water saved for the state during the program.
Sustainable agricultural products with practices are the keystone of the IDEI program. It will target smallholder farming families with irrigation interventions and support for market-oriented development. Introducing sustainable irrigation will help smallholder farmers increase the planting and harvesting window, increase yields, and enable greater crop variety and productivity, unlocking new market opportunities. It will also generate cost savings and reduce negative environmental impact by curbing excess water and Fossil Fuel consumption.
IDEI will also work to catalyze an ecosystem of entrepreneurs to provide access to affordable water-use productivity technologies and practices and for the maintenance and upkeep of these systems. These complementary activities can further enhance economic opportunities in the target regions of Andhra Pradesh. The program is off to a great start with no signs of slowing down. And for the smallholder farmers, there will be a fair share of learning that will be happening as new irrigation technology is introduced but it will be welcomed.