At Solidaridad, we make supply chains sustainable. This month’s newsletter focuses on various interventions across commodities that are aimed at bringing sustainability at different stages of the supply chain, from farmers to suppliers and buyers. Supporting and promoting agri-entrepreneurs is another key area of intervention in India and across Asia, and such stories have been spotlighted in this edition.
Launch of Small Farmer Atlas
Small-scale operations account for 90% of the world's 570 million farms, yet even for their prominence, small-scale farmers are often sidelined in sustainability discussions.
Our Small Farmer Atlas is a first attempt to truly understand the perspectives & priorities of small-scale farmers on a large scale. This comprehensive satisfaction survey covers 10,000 farmers in 18 countries across 8 commodities.
The Atlas was launched in Pune, India with the first edition of the report presented to a small-scale farmer Mahesh Kharade in the presence of Shambhaji Kadupatil – Director General, VSI; Monika Khanna, Country Manager, Solidaridad Regional Expertise Centre; Dr. Alok Pandey, Head- Sugarcane programme- Solidaridad; Dr. Santosh Karanje, Subject Expert – KVK; Ganesh Salunkhe, Regional Manager – Bayer; Santosh Kumbha, Managing Director – Dalmia Bharat Sugars; and Pankaj Gawande; Head Quality Control and Sustainability – Baramati Agro). The event was attended by more than 50 sugarcane small farmers from Maharashtra and joined by dignitaries from Europe virtually.
Towards Traceability in Leather: QR Code for LTIP Launched
In a key achievement for Solidaridad, the QR code for Leather Trade Intelligence Portal (LTIP), developed under the European Union Switch Asia-funded projects, was launched at Leather Accessories Footwear Conclave and Awards of North India (LAFCAN), in Delhi on 26 April. On scanning the QR code, the customer will be informed about the sustainable practices adopted by the supplier while making the product.
LTIP is a digital tool which allows tanneries to self-assess their environmental and social performance, which in turn can enhance their business prospects, viability, and access to markets. It also guides the tanneries on improving their performance, ultimately leading to reduction in environmental footprints and bringing traceability in the supply chain.
At the launch event, Tatheer Zaidi, General Manager, Pollution Management in MSMEs at Solidaridad, also participated in a panel discussion and spoke about the transformational impact of innovative and commercially viable waste-to-value solutions for the leather industry.
Jharkhand Livelihood Promotion Team Visits Project Areas of Bharatkhand Consortium
The Bharatkhand Consortium of Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO), supported by Solidaridad, is gaining recognition. A delegation from the Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society, Government of Jharkhand, made an exposure visit to the project areas of Madhya Pradesh to gain insights on the functioning of the Consortium. This consortium was launched on 6 April 2023 in the presence of Dr Nico Roozen, founder and honorary president of Solidaridad Network, and Dr Shatadru Chattopadhayay, Managing Director, Solidaridad Asia, in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
The consortium, comprising 25 FPOs and around 50,000 farmers, aims to establish inclusive business models with the underlying principles of creating a level-playing field for smallholders, while ensuring a business case for associated value chain players.
Promoting Good Dairy Practices and Reducing GHG Emissions
Solidaridad is implementing a pilot project with dairy farmers of Sterling Agro, known for their NOVA Dairy brand. NOVA Dairy is also a supplier to Unilever and Nestle. The project is being implemented with the support of Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform under the Sustainable Dairy Partnership to promote good dairy practices and reduce GHG emissions. In this partnership, producers, suppliers, buyers are all invested in good dairy farm practices.
Recently, top officials of Nestle and Sterling Agro, including the Regional Sustainability Manager of Nestle from the company’s Switzerland office and the Managing Director of Sterling Agro, visited the project area in Uttar Pradesh. The project demonstrates the importance of loose housing in dairy, early pregnancy testing, prevention of Mastitis, fertility and nutrient management to increase milk productivity, improving quality and reducing GHG emissions per kg of milk.
Women Farmers Trained on Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Farming
In coordination with the district agriculture department, Solidaridad organised a training for women farmers at Dhamangaon Training and Resource Centre in Amravati district of Maharashtra, on 17 April 2023. Guidance was provided to women farmers on entrepreneurship, agriculture and allied activities, government schemes for agriculture, soil testing and its importance in maintaining soil health, use of natural crop protection products and its impact on reduction of cost of production, among other things. The training was attended by 52 female farmers.
Such training helps build the confidence of women farmers, while also encouraging them to adopt good agriculture practices and reduce their cost of production, eventually placing them on the path to sustainability.
A Capacity Building Workshop for Nutrition Team
A capacity building workshop was organised for the nutrition team of Good Farming-Good Food programme from 29 April to 1 May 2023 in Bhopal. It provided an opportunity for the nutrition team working at the grassroots and driving the programme to exchange ideas, share their concerns, plan for better outcomes and most importantly, build collaboration. Thirty seven members from project areas in five districts of Madhya Pradesh – Bhopal, Sehore, Dewas, Ujjain and Agar-Malwa – took part in the workshop, which included various fun and learning activities.
Celebrating International Tea Day with Small Growers
The International Tea Day was celebrated on 21 May in Solidaridad’s project areas in Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts in Assam, and in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal.
In collaboration with the All Assam Small Tea Growers Association (AASTGA) and powered by the Tea Board of India and other agencies, the event in Assam saw a participation of more than 100 small tea growers. Along with the felicitation of some small growers, writing and painting materials were also distributed to underprivileged children.
In Bengal, the Jalpaiguri District Small Tea Growers Association (JDSTGA) in collaboration with Solidaridad organised a seminar on ‘Possibilities of Horticulture Crop in Small Tea Garden’. The event was attended by Sharbari Choudhury Gohain, Joint Director, Tea Board of India; Dr Alok Kr Mondal, Director of Horticulture, Government of West Bengal and Dr Khurshid Alam.
Occupational Health and Safety Training for Tannery Workers
Solidaridad’s project office in Chennai organised its third Occupational Health and Safety Training workshop on 18 April 2023, at Pallavaram Tanners Industrial Effluent Treatment Company Limited (PTIETC). This was conducted as part of the ‘Promoting Circularity in the Tamil Nadu Leather Clusters for Solid Waste Management’ project supported by the European Union-Switch Asia. The training saw participation of 110 workers from 51 tanneries and PTIETC.
The training focused on risk assessment, workplace safety, fire safety, hydrogen sulfide gas safety, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) gas safety, proper handling/storing of chemicals, safety in machinery operations and electrical installations, first aid etc. There were safety demonstrations for appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE), followed by distribution of PPE kits.
Shetishala: Building a Community of Informed Farmers
Shetishala or the weekly online farmer training session started by the Solidaridad Regional Expertise Centre, Nagpur is playing an important role in capacity building of farmers. Every Wednesday, Solidaridad staff virtually join the farmers from different villages across programme locations. Agriculture experts, agri-scientists and officials from the agriculture department are invited to guide the farmers on farming-related issues, good agricultural practices, benefits of regenerative agriculture, and use and preparation of natural crop protection products. Farmers who have benefitted from sustainable agricultural practices share their experiences during these sessions. If numbers are an indicator of success, more farmers are participating in Shetishali every week.
Imparting Sustainable Tea Cultivation Knowledge to Students
Assam accounts for nearly half of India’s overall tea production. Tea is a way of life for many households in this Northeastern state. Boidya Bora, founder and head of Jatiya Vidyalaya, Chikarajan, Tinsukia district, Assam, believes in ‘training them young’. He imparts training on sustainable tea cultivation to his students – possible tea producers in the future. “Since this region is dependent on tea production, we have to impart the knowledge (about tea) to the future generation. We have been doing our bit but they have to take care of the tea cultivation in the future,” he says. A win for sustainability!
Farmers’ Group Starts a Vermicompost Unit
Under the Smart Agri programme, farmers in the Jainad block of Adilabad district in Telangana are being trained on capacity building. A group of farmers – Ashish Agrawal, P. Swami, G. Ram Reddi, M. Suresh, and P. Sai – were worried about the cost of chemical pesticides and crop loss due to uncertain climatic conditions. This group attended a training at a farmer field school run by Solidaridad where they were nudged to start thinking about the sustainable way of farming. With the help of vermi bags distributed by Solidaridad, this group started a vermi unit in the Jainad block. They cultivated cotton, maize, groundnut, bengal gram and sugarcane using vermicompost. Currently, the unit is producing 100 vermi bags every month. This group is also creating awareness in their locality about good agricultural practices, and planning to sell the compost to other farmers at a low cost.
Simmi Sunny has moved to SREC from 1 May 2023. She was associated with Solidaridad Asia for seven months. Now, she will bring her expertise to our programme teams as Manager, Programme Development and Fundraising.
Balaji K. has joined us as Programme Officer in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. He brings in more than 20 years of work experience in the leather sector. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Leather Technology from the University of Madras and a Diploma in Leather Technology from DTE, Chennai. Balaji will be part of the implementation team for the EU-supported programme ‘Promoting Circularity in the Tamil Nadu Leather Clusters for Solid Waste Management’ in Ambur, Tamil Nadu.
Revathy V. has joined us as Field Coordinator in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. She has more than 15 years of work experience in programme management. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Anna University and a Masters in Structural Engineering from Dr. Sivanthi Aditanar College of Engineering, Tiruchendur. Revathy will be part of the implementation team for the EU-supported programme ‘Promoting Circularity in the Tamil Nadu Leather Clusters for Solid Waste Management’ in Ranipet, Tamil Nadu.
Assistant General Manager – Sugarcane
Assistant General Manager – Cotton
Preeti Peter Felix
Senior Programme Officer – Soy
Senior Graphic Designer – Communications
Accounts and Administrative Officer
Field Senior Programme Officer - Leather
Field Programme Officer - Leather
Assistant Programme Manager - Sugarcane
Senior Officer - Grants