Celebration is in the air, and this month’s newsletter celebrates the work we are doing with farmers, industry and policymakers to promote sustainable supply chains. From launching the world’s first regenerative cotton platform in India and kickstarting a new project on regenerative farming in sugarcane, to raising awareness about traceability in tea, strengthening cross-learning within Solidaridad and organising camps to promote best practices in cattle rearing and soil conservation.
Here’s wishing for more milestones to celebrate in 2023.
Win for Regenerative Cotton
Solidaridad has teamed up with the Centre for Responsible Business, a New Delhi-based think-tank, and regenagri, an international initiative to promote regenerative agriculture, to launch the world’s first regenerative cotton platform in India – the Alliance of Cotton and Textile Stakeholders on Regenerative Agriculture (ACRE). A call to action in the form of the Nagpur Declaration was also signed by stakeholders, committing their support to regenagri-certified cotton. To know more about ACRE, click here
Securing Sugarcane Supply Chain
This 13 December, Solidaridad India in partnership with Shree Renuka Sugars Limited (SRSL) organised an event in Belagavi district of Karnataka to formally kick off the field activities under the new project, ‘Regenerative and Resilient Sugarcane Supply Chain’. The project aims to bring 15,000 farmers into the regenerative agriculture fold over the next three years – helping them grow their yield and income. Farmers will also get support in the form of weekly advisories on weather, good agriculture practices, disease and pest control through smart tech interventions. Besides Team Solidaridad, several top officials of SRSL attended the day-long event.
Workshop to Understand PMEL
The Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (PMEL) team of Solidaridad India organised a three-day workshop in Kolkata from 12-14 December. Thirty participants from different projects (leather, tea, sugarcane, castor) attended the workshop which included sessions on understanding the PMEL structure at Solidaridad, measuring impact, developing theory of change, understanding and developing robust indicators, and data management. A session on knowledge and learning highlighted the potential areas for strengthening cross-learning within Solidaridad. Several group exercises were conducted to help the participants learn root-cause analysis in project management.
Cattle Health Gets Priority
Solidaridad conducted a three-day cattle health check-up camp and awareness programme for dairy farmers in three villages of Kanpur Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh in November. A total of 118 farmers attended the camp and 244 cattle were examined. Essential veterinary medicines, including mineral mixtures and vitamins, liquid calcium supplements, drugs for infertility-related problems, and wound-healing ointments were distributed. These health camps are aimed at spreading awareness among cattle owners about best practices in cattle rearing.
Waste to Walk Initiative
The Kolkata leather cluster is one of the largest leather clusters in India, housing around 350 tanneries and over 4,000 leather goods manufacturing units. The sludge, a byproduct of the process to transform skins/hides into finished leather, is a major pollutant. Disposing this sludge at landfill sites is a cost-intensive and environmentally-detrimental activity. Solidaridad, along with its EU-Switch Asia Kolkata project partner, Dugros Leather (India) Pvt. Ltd., came up with an innovative solution to use this sludge as an ingredient in paver tiles. While minimising the pollution threat, the ‘Waste to Walk’ initiative has also turned the sludge into a value-added product with commercial viability. Read the story in full here
Campaign for Soil Health
Soil health is key to sustainable farming practices. To mark World Soil Day, Solidaridad conducted a week-long campaign in Madhya Pradesh, from 1-7 December. It included training farmers on ways to improve soil health, taking out an awareness march, holding a session on regenerative agriculture, and recognising farmers who have taken the lead in adopting best practices for soil conservation.
Working on Traceable Tea
Our field staff from the tea programme held several village-level meetings in Coonoor, Kotagiri and Gudalur in the Nilgiris district, all through November and December. The activities included raising awareness among smallholders about the Trinitea programme and how farmers can use the digital self-assessment tool in the Trinitea app to grade their produce and fetch the right market price for it. The staff also engaged with bought-leaf factories and helped them use the Trinitea factory app, which assures better access to chemical-free, good-quality and sustainably grown tea leaves from small growers. For the end consumer, this entire journey of tea can be traced back to the farm through the SoliTrace QR code on their tea pack.
Castor and Sustainability
While everyone wants to get onto the castor bandwagon, increasing consumer awareness is nudging brands in this sector to explore sustainable initiatives. Rajesh Bhatia puts in perspective the work of Solidaridad with farmers and supply chain actors in an article for COFCO International. “The key is to meet the rising demand for castor products with a responsible and sustainable mechanism that benefits consumers, producers and the environment,” he says. COFCO International, a leader in global grains, oilseeds and sugar supply chains, is a member of Solidaridad-led Sustainable Castor Association.
Mangesh Murlidhar Deulkar
has joined as Senior Programme Officer and will be working out of the Nagpur office. He has more than 12 years of experience in the rural development sector and has handled agriculture, livelihood and cotton-based programmes at BAIF, Lupin, Swades Foundation and Welspun. Mangesh holds an M.Sc in Agricultural Entomology from Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola and has pursued Post Graduate Programme in Development Management from S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai. Mangesh will support the cotton programme in Yavatmal.
has joined as District Coordinator, Nagpur. Ashish comes with 8 years of experience and in a range of areas like agriculture extension, community development, natural resources management, project management and operations, farmer collectives and agri-businesses. He holds a Master’s degree in Agroforestry and a Diploma in Rural Management. Born to a farmer family in Khargone, Madhya Pradesh, Ashish’s first job was as a teacher in a government college but he soon realised his true calling was working with the farmers.
joined Solidaridad in 2013 as Accounts and Finance Officer in the Tinsukia office and retired from the service in November. We are grateful to Prodip for his contribution to the larger mission of the organisation, and wish him the best for his future endeavours.
a graduate of TERI School of Advanced Studies, was Programme Associate for the Kanpur-Unnao leather project. We thank her for her contribution towards the implementation of the project, and wish her best of luck.