Walmart Foundation Announces Three Strategic Grants To Strengthen Agriculture in Maharashtra

Indian woman in chickpea field.

Grants to enhance farmer incomes and build climate resilience across rural communities in India

BENTONVILLE, Ark., and MAHARASHTRA, India, Jan. 29, 2024 — The Walmart Foundation today announced new grants totaling over $3 million with BAIF Development Research Foundation, Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) and Collective Good Foundation (CGF). These grants aim to empower smallholder farmers through sustainable agriculture practices in the state of Maharashtra. 

These three grants reaffirm the Walmart Foundation’s continued commitment to supporting local grantees to help strengthen Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and enables farming communities in the rural heartlands of India establish and maintain a more robust, sustainable and equitable agricultural sector. The initiatives focus on climate-resilient farming, bolstering livelihoods through enhanced value chains and promoting women's active participation in agriculture. The projects aim to improve prosperity and resilience among rural farmers in Maharashtra.

BAIF: Elevating tribal farmers through value chain and gender integration

BAIF Development Research Foundation received a grant of $1,560,535 for improving livelihoods and gender integration through value chain initiatives in tribal regions. Targeting three districts — Palghar, Nasik and Jalgaon — the project aims to impact 14,700 farmers. The focus is on enhancing yield for existing crops, cultivating high-value vegetables and flowers, and improving livestock breed management. The effort includes training and exposure programs for FPOs and projects an involvement of 40% women farmers.

"We are happy to be supported by the Walmart Foundation, which we will use to  benefit the rural poor, particularly women, for improved livelihoods and gender integration through value chain initiatives impacting 14,700 farmers,” said V.B. Dyasa, regional director (west region) of BAIF Development Research Foundation.

WOTR Project RISE: Enhancing smallholder farmer incomes through an ecosystems approach

Walmart Foundation’s grant of $1,242,650 to WOTR for Project RISE strives to establish resilient incomes for smallholder farmers. Encompassing three districts — Jalna, Dharashiv and Solapur — and working with 11 FPOs. this initiative aims to reach 20,000 farmers. The project’s key interventions include establishing Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) as trusted market players, developing a sustainable farming system and setting up a green inputs center. With a 50% target of women farmers, the project holds a promise of enhancing farmers’ earnings and a 40% reduction in farmer input costs.

“The project is geared towards transforming FPCs into EbA-compliant (Ecosystem-based Adaptation) powerhouses. EbA practices ensure seamless integration of profits and ecosystem preservation — where the pursuit of financial gains doesn't compromise with the environment,” said WOTR Executive Director Prakash Keskar. “Furthermore, the project aims to facilitate partnerships between FPCs and institutional buyers, enhance FPC governance using technology platforms, and make them a trusted market player."

Collective Good Foundation: A leap toward climate resilient prosperity

The Walmart Foundation’s grant of $500,000 to the Collective Good Foundation aims to empower 12 FPOs and drive climate-resilient growth for 10,000 farmers across five districts — Amravati, Solapur, Latur, Osmanabad and Nanded — in the state with 70% of them being women. The initiative aims to provide access to financial resources, capacity development for farmers and to strengthen FPOs. These farmers will focus on crops such as pulses, soybean, dairy, millets, fruits and vegetables.

"We are delighted to start this grant from the Walmart Foundation under our Accelerating Climate Transition (ACT) initiative. At CGF we are committed to improving livelihoods for 10 million farmers of whom 50% will be women through the THRIVE network”, said Priya Naik, CEO and founder, CGF. “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our lifetime that threatens livelihoods, and we believe partnerships like these will go a long way in building climate resilience and improved incomes for the most vulnerable communities. We look forward to leveraging our deep partnerships with common service centers, agricultural experts, ONDC and other stakeholders to enable FPOs to truly realize their potential of becoming financially sustainable, and climate-smart, farmer-led companies."

"We support nonprofits in a way that goes beyond the fields.  We're excited to invest in grantees’ potential to drive change,” said Julie Gehrki, Vice President for the Walmart Foundation. “Through these grants, we are helping create a farming ecosystem that is resilient, accessible and inclusive, thereby ensuring that every farmer, especially women, can use technology and sustainable practices to grow crops and invest in their own futures."

About Philanthropy at Walmart

Walmart.org represents the philanthropic efforts of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. By focusing where the business has unique strengths, Walmart.org works to tackle key social and environmental issues and collaborate with others to spark long-lasting systemic change. Walmart has stores in 20 countries, employs more than 2 million associates and does business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. Walmart.org is helping people live better by supporting programs to accelerate upward job mobility for frontline workers, advance equity, address hunger, build inclusive economic opportunity for people in supply chains, protect and restore nature, reduce waste and emissions and build strong communities where Walmart operates. To learn more, visit walmart.org.

About BAIF Development Research Foundation

BAIF Development Research Foundation (formerly the Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation and popularly known as “BAIF”) is a Public Trust founded in 1967 by Dr. Manibhai Desai, a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. Based on its mission of improved quality of life for the rural poor, BAIF is implementing various climate-resilient, replicable models of poverty alleviation in 14 states across the country for more than 56 years. BAIF has been able to transform the lives of more than 4 million families from one lakh villages through its nature-based and carbon-positive rural-based livelihood programs such as Livestock Development, Natural Resources Management, Agri-horti-forestry (wadi), and Renewable Energy, with women empowerment, health, and nutrition cutting across all these programs. The overall contribution of BAIF programs to the rural economy during 2022-23 was INR 25,759 crores. Our state-of-the-art Central Research Station at Urulikanchan near Pune in Maharashtra serves as the technology development center for our field programs. The organization has a strong human resource base comprising a multidisciplinary team of 6,423 professionals, researchers, thematic experts, and field practitioners.

About WOTR (Watershed Organisation Trust)

WOTR is a nationally and globally recognized leader and think tank in rural development committed to eradicating the root causes of rural poverty. The organization stands at the forefront of rejuvenating ecosystems and strengthening community resilience in the face of climate change. Through initiatives aimed at enhancing water availability, improving land and agricultural productivity, diversifying livelihoods, empowering women, and bolstering the health and well-being of vulnerable rural communities, WOTR has significantly transformed rural landscapes. Its unique approach convenes a diverse spectrum of stakeholders, fostering collaborative efforts to build rural community resilience. Celebrating 30 years of impactful operation, WOTR, together with its partners, has worked in over 6,850 villages across 10 states in India, bringing positive change to 6.58 million individuals.

About Collective Good Foundation (CGF)

Collective Good Foundation (CGF), in partnership with Samhita Social Ventures, is an impact catalyst which brings together pioneers, innovators and leaders from the private, public, philanthropy, social and financial sectors to co-create and deliver transformative social impact on a national scale. Over the past 13 years, Samhita-CGF has impacted over 16 million lives. Our work is aligned with India’s socio-economic priorities as well as UN Social Development Goals (UNSDGs), particularly SDG 13 - Climate Action, and are 100% CSR and FCRA compliant. By offering multiple interventions to aspiring individuals and communities, our hope is to positively impact 25 million lives by 2030 with a focus on women and underserved communities.