This is all too common around the world. Smallholder farmers provide the majority of the food consumed in developing countries, where much of the population struggles with food security. And many of them have to do it cut off from crucial information that would help them succeed.
If this doesn’t sit right with you, you’re not alone. That’s why S M Sehgal Foundation works to help rural communities in India create sustainable programs for managing water resources, increasing agricultural productivity, and strengthening rural governance.
Sharing a Wealth of Knowledge
Suhas Joshi, head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Bayer in South Asia, told us a bit about Bayer’s support for this important work. “The principle objective was to reach out to as many farmers as possible,” he explained. “The outstanding aspect about this project has also been to kindle entrepreneurial spirit in farmers to ‘help themselves’ by working together on projects and sharing the benefits.”
The program has provided fourteen new solar-powered pumps to help about 4,000 farmers. Farmers have also made great strides by adopting zero tillage. Tillage — plowing the land to prepare it for crops — helps control weeds and break up soil, but it can also cause erosion and water loss. About 2,000 acres in Bihar are now covered under zero-tillage technology, which is saving substantial amount of water and fuel, while enabling better weed management. And through the program, the farmers also learn about alternative livelihood options, such as goat rearing.
Ramakant Kushwaha was one of many farmers in Bihar who struggled just to produce enough food for him and his family. With low yield harvests, there wasn’t much left over to sell on the market. Samagra Krishi helped him change all that. The program introduced him to new tools, such as a zero-tillage machine, for a fraction of the cost. Not only did he see a great efficiency boost on his farm, he also got an opportunity to lease equipment out to other farmers. He reduced his cost of cultivation by more than half and also generated additional income through providing other farmers an opportunity for utilization.
While this important initiative has already provided life-changing experiences to many farmers in need, there’s still a lot of room to grow. Bayer continues to collaborate with Sehgal Foundation, supporting its efforts to positively impact the Indian farming community. This includes app-based water management, improved weather forecasting and toll-free helplines to support farmer questions, just to name a few.
Learn more about the Sehgal Foundation’s important work here.