New Delhi, India, Nov. 17, 2022: To improve rural livelihoods of small and marginal farming households, especially women farmers in the tribal regions of eastern states of the country, Walmart Foundation and PRADAN today announced the implementation of the ‘PROWFIT’ project. PROWFIT, that stands for the 'prowess of organized resources & women-farmers for transforming FPOs into independent institutions', intends to support 60 women-led Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) over a period of 30 months.
The project will be supported by a grant of $2 million from the Walmart Foundation and will aim to empower nearly 120,000 women to create viable smallholder businesses with a total cumulative annual turnover of $32 million. As part of the project, the FPOs will receive assistance to develop business plans, build necessary systems and processes and implement governance systems for their ventures. In addition, they will also be provided technology and financial support through access to service partners and linkages with relevant national or state government programs to avail complementary aid. For example, under the Government of India Scheme 'Formation and Promotion of 10,000 FPOs', 29 FPOs from the project will be able to benefit with access to improved technology, credit, better input and more markets to enhance quality and value realization of their produce.
PROWFIT builds off PRADAN’s previous project 'LEAP' (Livelihoods Enhancement through market Access and Women Empowerment). LEAP, a two-year project, was supported by $1.9 million grant from the Walmart Foundation. This project impacted the livelihoods of 45,000 smallholder women farmers across Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. The program focused on creating opportunities for women smallholder farmers (SHFs) to build capabilities to sustainably double their income over a four-year period, with a goal to take them irreversibly above the poverty line by establishing sustainable farm businesses. These women farmers were already mobilized into Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and collectivized into informal production clusters, to take up agriculture and allied activities through synchronized production and market interface. These informal producer collectives have since evolved into 13 formalized FPOs and interventions to strengthen these institutions are underway.