Promoting regenerative agricultural practices, fostering innovation and building market linkages are among the key pillars driving Solidaridad’s work with farmers and workers in India, as well as in Asia. This month’s newsletter highlights our project interventions in these areas and industry recognition for some of our efforts.
Solidaridad Awarded for Promoting ‘Soybean Farmer-Industry Linkages
Solidaridad won the Soy Food Promotion Welfare Association (SFPWA) award for 2023 for its work towards ‘soybean farmer-industry linkages’. The award recognizes Solidaridad’s contribution in adoption of sustainable farming practices, fair trade, responsible sourcing by the industry, and creating a win-win proposition for everyone in the value chain.
Dr Suresh Motwani, Programme Head, Edible Oils, received the award on 22 June at the 9th International Soy Food Conference in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Om Prakash Saklecha, Minister for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises and Science and Technology, Government of Madhya Pradesh along with other dignitaries were present. Solidaridad also set up an exhibition at the event to showcase the diverse range of products that can be produced from soybean.
Spotlighting Regenerative Agriculture at Farmers’ Convention in Nagpur
Our Nagpur team participated in the ‘Krishi Melawa aani Pradarshani’ (Farmers’ Convention and Exhibition) in Saoner on 14 June. The Solidaridad team’s stall at the convention was visited by 500 farmers, many of whom shared their farming experiences. Farmers were told about good agricultural practices, the benefits of regenerative farming and how it can help in conserving biodiversity, besides being introduced to our Smart Agri programme and agri advisories shared under it.
Agri entrepreneurs supported by Solidaridad, Sharad Zade from Kalmeshwar block, Nagpur and Sudhakar Kohle from Saoner block, Nagpur spoke about vermi-compost. During the convention, Solidaridad was honoured with an appreciation certificate for its contribution towards empowering farmers.
At Leather Summit, Solidaridad Highlights Multi-stakeholder Approach for Pollution Prevention
Our Kanpur team recently took part in the Central India Leather, Accessories, Products, Footwear, and Saddlery Summit (CLAPSS) jointly organized by the Council for Leather Exports (CLE), Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Government of India, and the Kanpur-Unnao Leather Cluster Development, in Kanpur. Solidaridad was also felicitated at the event.
The first edition of the Summit, which saw participation of key industry stakeholders like the Small Tanners Association (STA), Uttar Pradesh Leather Industries Association (UPLIA), and Leather Industries Welfare Association (LIWA), aimed to create synergies to foster regional development, to work in partnerships, and to align with the vision of CLE to help the Indian leather industry grow to USD 47 billion by 2030.
At a panel discussion during the event, Tatheer Zaidi, General Manager, Pollution Management in MSMEs at Solidaridad Asia shared the experience of developing a multistakeholder approach for pollution prevention and circular economy in leather tannery clusters in the Kanpur-Unnao region. Tatheer highlighted the scientific demonstrations established by Solidaridad in India on water optimization, effluent reduction, GHG reduction and circularity, and developing a digital tool, the Leather Trade Intelligence Portal, in collaboration with CLE.
Soy Mahakumbh Fosters Innovation & Knowledge Sharing across Value Chain
The Soy Mahakumbh 2023, an event dedicated to promoting and highlighting the versatility of soybeans, was organized by Solidaridad and The Soybean Processors Association of India in Dewas district of Madhya Pradesh on 12 June. The event provided a platform for knowledge exchange between farmers, representatives from government departments, farmer producer organizations (FPOs) and industry. Nearly 1,000 farmers took part in the event, with 21 of them being felicitated.
Scientists from ICAR- IISR, Krishi Vigyan Kendra and officials from the state agriculture department conducted insightful sessions on regenerative agriculture, impact of soybean cultivation on biodiversity, and the importance of sustainable farming. Experts from the soy industry demonstrated ways to build market linkages for soy farmers. Latest technological trends in the soy industry were also discussed and showcased at the event.
Women Farmers in Nanded Get Training on Biodynamic Composting
Solidaridad organized a training on biodynamic composting for women farmers in three villages of Nanded district, Maharashtra, on 13, 14 and 15 June. A total of 240 women farmers took part in the training, which was organized in alliance with the state agriculture department, Krishi Vigyan Kendra and Sarg Samiti, Akola. KVK scientists from Nanded, biodynamic composting expert from Sarg Samiti and Block Technology Manager from Nanded conducted the training. Biodynamic compost reduces the cost of compost production as it requires less amount of cow dung. Cow Pat Pit (CPP) method of bio dynamic composting was demonstrated during the training.
“We are thankful to Solidaridad for organizing such training from time to time. Reduction in production cost is the need of the hour and with such training, Solidaridad has shown us ways to do that while practicing sustainable agriculture,” the participating farmers said.
World Milk Day Celebrated with 150 Dairy Farmers in Maharashtra
Solidaridad celebrated World Milk Day on 1 June with 150 dairy farmers in Saswad village in Phaltan taluka of Maharashtra, under the Trust Dairy project. Fifteen women dairy farmers were felicitated for their good dairy practices. Trust dairy kits (useful dairy equipment) were distributed among the dairy farmers. Dr Suyash Vardhan, Regional Technical Manager, Asia Pacific, Trouw Nutrition and Dr Shantaram Gaikwad, General Manager at Govind Milk and Milk Products Pvt. Ltd. – Trouw Nutrition and Govind Milk are partners in the project – were also present.
Kharif Planning Workshop for Farmers in Yavatmal
A Kharif planning workshop was organized for farmers at Mozar village in Yavatmal district, Maharashtra, on 31 May. Agricultural scientists from KVK shared knowledge on seed treatment, seed germination test, and broad bed and furrow (BBF) system. Experts from Solidaridad spoke about use of natural crop protection products, reduction of chemical fertilizers and use of vermicompost. Mahesh Solase, Manager, Solidaridad explained the importance of soil organic carbon and soil-based carbon sequestration. In the interactive session, farmers’ queries related to various aspects of farming were also addressed.
Raising Awareness on Green Tech, Eco-friendly Processes in Tanneries
On World Environment Day, the Kolkata leather team of Solidaridad organized a series of green initiatives to raise awareness and encourage action on environment protection among stakeholders. The day started with a ‘Training of Trainers’ programme for tannery workers on Enzyme Assisted Dehairing, an eco-friendly approach which reduces the environmental impact of leather manufacturing. This was followed by planting of saplings at the tannery premises in the project area. A workshop was also conducted for technicians, supervisors and tannery managers on sustainable production practices and impact of green tanning technologies on leather clusters. The day ended with a process demonstration of one of our eco-friendly green tanning technologies in a tannery.
Sustainable Sugarcane Farming is Critical for Water Conservation
World Environment Day was celebrated in Dariyabad Karam Husan village in Pasgawan block, Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh with 132 progressive sugarcane farmers. Others joining in the programme included members of the gram panchayat, sugarcane expert Dr S.K. Saini, Deputy General Manager-Cane of DCM Shriram Sugars (Ajbapur), Atiullah Siddiqui, and government officials from Pasgawan block. The day-long programme opened with the symbolic act of watering the plant – water is key to agriculture and its conservation is critical for society. It sparked discussions on the need for sustainable agricultural practices, including rainwater harvesting and efficient water usage. This was followed by a sapling plantation drive in the area.
Going Green at Work
Our activities leave imprints on our planet and some of these activities can be harmful to the environment and to us. Since many of these activities are work-related, Solidaridad India is nudging teams to rethink what we do and how we do those things in the workplace, to ensure a robust and healthy environment.
The Delhi team celebrated World Environment Day with everyone placing indoor plants at their workstations. A small step towards being pro-planet and pro-health.
Yoga for Mind, Body and Soul
Yoga is an ancient practice which originated nearly 5,000 years ago in India as a holistic approach to interconnect the mind, body and soul. Yoga helps us to achieve physical and mental well-being, thus enabling us with the energy to meet the increasing challenges around us. On International Day of Yoga, a yoga session was organized at the Delhi office, taking participants through a sequence of exercises to improve health and mindfulness.
Sustainable Sugarcane Farming is Critical for Water Conservation
Udalguri district in Assam, known for its quality tea, has often been at the centre of climate change-induced devastating events – flash floods during monsoon and droughts in the winter. Nagen Bezbaruah, a resilient tea farmer in Udalguri, faced a setback when his plantation was devastated by floods in June 2022. The calamity left his livelihood hanging by a thread as his tea bushes remained submerged for days. However, with the support of Vodafone-Idea Smart Agri Project and its post-flood advisories, as well as Nagen’s diligence, he gradually revived his tea plantation and nursed it back to good health. By leveraging the weather data provided by the IoT devices, Nagen optimized his farming practices, ensuring the well-being of his tea plants and improving the crop yield.
“I lost all my hopes after the flash flood in June 2022. Though the flood water receded after a week, it left my plantation area filled with sand and mud. I didn’t know what to do because it was the second flush season and I was hoping to get a good price from my produce. Thanks to the VI Smart Agri Project of Solidaridad Asia, I got the advisory on post-flood management for tea and followed it sincerely. I also received the weekly advisory to take care of the flood-affected crops,” says Nagen. “I was so happy to see that after a month the crop had slowly revived and I could earn a good amount from the autumn flush, as well as the backend crop.”
Vijaypal Singh as joined us as Head of Programme Operations at the SREC-Delhi office. He brings in 15+ years of experience in CSR and nonprofit organizations providing strategic leadership to programmes, project development, execution, due diligence, grants management, stakeholder management, etc. Before joining SREC, he was associated with Cairn Oil & Gas Vedanta Limited as their CSR Lead. He holds an M.Sc degree in Agriculture (Agronomy) from H.N.B. Garhwal University.
Ghugha Soyabali has joined us as Field Coordinator in our new project (supported by Nayara) at Jamnagar, Gujarat. He comes with two years of experience in data collection, farm monitoring, community engagement and on-ground programme management. Previously, he was associated with Wadhwani AI Foundation as Data Coordinator.
Nikita Sethi has joined us as Programme Associate – Dairy at the SREC-Delhi office. She has two years of experience in research, documentation and report writing. She holds an M.Sc degree in Biodiversity and Conservation from Indraprastha University. Previously, she was working with Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi as Junior Research Fellow.
Assistant Manager - Finance and Administration, Kolkata office
Senior Programme Officer-Leather
Senior Grants Officer