The cross-commodity Learning Journey, organized by the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform, aims at empowering smallholder farmers in India by examining the role and challenges of smallholders in Telangana State around Hyderabad. “The India Learning Journey was a powerful experience,” said Yael Fattal-Lariccia, Global Event Manger at SAI Platform. “It highlighted the importance of peeling back the layers within supply chains and building solid relationships with the farmers by meeting them face-to-face.”
Strengthening traceability in the rice supply chain
Supply chains in India are very complex and comprised of multiple stakeholders across the entire value chain, making traceability from farm to factory very challenging. The market for agricultural produce used to be driven solely by price rather than quality. Over the last few years, however, this scenario has been changing and consumers are now requesting food that is traceable, safe, and nutritious.
As part of the Learning Journey, on September 25 Bayer hosted a field visit to Banswada in Kamareddy District to showcase a joint Food Chain Partnership initiative with Nestlé that focuses on the implementation of good agricultural practices, including data collection and monitoring practices. “As part of this project, we use the field passport for record management and documentation,” said Pankaj Kumar Sharma, Head of Food Chain at Bayer India. “This has ensured a consistent and sustainable market for rice growers.” Bayer and Nestlé are committed to continuing their support of Indian rice growers during that journey.
Sustainable production of high-quality vegetables
On September 26, Bayer hosted a field visit near Vantimamidi, on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Metro sources vegetables – such as tomatoes, cabbages, cauliflowers, and cucumbers – from over 120 farmers in the Hyderabad metropolitan area. Via its BayG.A.P. Service Program, Bayer supports Metro in training farmers in quality improvement, disease and pest management, and the safe use and handling of crop protection products.
“Farmers need information and training in order to reach quality requirements,” said Pankaj Kumar Sharma. “BayG.A.P. helps farmers to achieve the certification necessary to access new markets.” Guidance throughout the crop cycle resulted in higher yields, better quality, and a higher net income for the farmers. In addition, Metro can source high-quality vegetables and strengthen their relationships with the growers.
The journey continues
Both the field visits and the Learning Journey presented a unique opportunity to better understand the challenges and practices of smallholder farmers in India – both in and off the field. “It was a hexathlon of initiatives, where we also got the opportunity to present two of our Food Chain Partnership initiatives,” said Pankaj Kumar Sharma.
“We witnessed the importance of empowering communities, smallholder farmers, and stakeholders by working in collaboration and together with the farmers to achieve a systemic change,” added Yael Fattal-Lariccia.