Syngenta India launched a series of national-level CSR interventions and support programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The programs have been successful in benefiting over 1.5 million farmers and farming communities ever since the lockdown was announced, thereby helping farmers sell 2442 metric tons of their produce.
These initiatives helped farmers earn Rs 4.87 crore amid the lockdown through a collaborative effort by Syngenta India Limited, Syngenta Foundation India, and Agri-Entrepreneur Growth Foundation (AEGF).
At the onset of the lockdown, an initiative was undertaken to provide financial services support to the farmers and underprivileged sections in Bihar through the extensive network of Agri Entrepreneurs (AE).
The digital financial transactions worth more than Rs 13.5 lakhs were successfully completed across ten districts of Bihar, through Spice Money and IDFC tools during March and April 2020.
In collaboration with the state government of Bihar, AEs ensured the availability of 13,266 ration cards for families below the poverty line. The AEs have helped more than 2,000 women, farmers, to access their Jan-Dhan accounts and have facilitated 2,000 farmers access PM KISAN, the national direct cash transfer scheme.
“Since the March 2020 lockdown, our AEs’ have helped 12,290 smallholder farmers sell 6642 metric tons of produce and have enabled them to earn Rs 4.87 crores,” said Dr KC Ravi, Chief Sustainability Officer, Syngenta India.
“As part of the program 500 boxes of grapes from Nasik were delivered to housing societies in Pune, transported grapes to Patiala, Punjab; supplied vegetables from Nasik to the e-commerce player, Go4Fresh; dispensed 100 metric tons of maize to online agronomy player Agri-Bazaar in Bihar; sold ten metric tons of onions in Delgur; traded 70 metric tons onions in Kota, and 42.5 metric tons in Alwar; marketed and sold 301 MT of jackfruit and watermelon in Jharkhand and ten metric tons of tea leaves from Assam. Under this project, we ensured an efficient sorting and grading mechanism that has helped build more trust between buyers and sellers, and this has resulted in better prices for the produce,” added Ravi, giving details of the program.
“The AE program model positions an AE to fully understand the situation and respond quickly and precisely to farmers’ agricultural needs, thus providing a high quality of response,” said Rajendra Jog, CEO, AEGF.
Launched during 2019, AEGF is a collaboration between Tata Trusts and Syngenta Foundation India, aimed at creating wealth for resource-poor smallholder farmers in India through innovation, sustainable agriculture, and by linking them to value chains.
The awareness and education program driven by AEGF have so far successfully reached out to more than 15.8 lakh farmer family members and directly to over three lakh farmers in the states of Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana through a network of 1782 trained Agri Entrepreneurs (AE).
As part of CSR, Syngenta also provided frontline health professionals with 20,000 face masks, gloves, and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) in many states, successfully implementing sanitization and awareness programs across 100 villages in partnership with state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Rajasthan.
3000 PPE kits to Frontline workers including 1000 kits to Sasoon Hospital Pune was also provided under this initiative.
Under Syngenta’s CSR program, over 6,000 poor families were provided with essential grocery items in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Goa.
In partnership with Akshaya Patra, ISAP, and other NGOs, Syngenta has been providing food packets. This initiative is helping farmers, truck drivers and workers across Punjab, Haryana Maharashtra, Karnataka, AP, Telangana, Odisha, UP, Rajasthan, and Gujarat in major APMCs and Mandis.
“Through this initiative, we supplied about three lakh food packets,” added Dr Ravi.