Indian non-profit consultancy receives $2 million grant from Walmart

20 December 2017 3 min. read
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Agribusiness Systems International (ASI), a non-profit consultancy for agricultural businesses, is set to receive a sizeable grant of nearly $2 million from the Walmart Foundation. The grant is aimed specifically at supporting the Farmers Market Readiness Project in one of the main agricultural regions of the country.

The Indian economy is heavily reliant on agriculture and agricultural businesses, with around 50% of the workforce employed by the sector. As a result, the services sector around agriculture is vibrant in India, including the banks and financial services, and increasingly the consulting industry.

ASI is a major actor in this domain. Founded in 1993, ASI is an international, non-profit consulting firm in the agricultural sector, with a specific focus on aligning big businesses with the interests of small agricultural producers. To this end, the firm conducts analysis on market systems, builds strong networks on the ground, and builds reliable supply chains to create double-sided profits.

The firm has now received a considerable boost for its operations in India, in the form of a $2 million grant from International retail firm Walmart’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm – The Walmart Foundation. The grant has been provided with the objective of supporting the Farmer Market Readiness Project In the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The farmers market readiness project

The project is aimed at equipping the farmers with the tools and the know-how to compete with increased competition in wider markets. Numerically, the project hopes to benefit 15,000 agricultural workers over the next two-year period, helping them learn the value of collaboration for increased productivity.

Indian non-profit consultancy receives $2 million grant from Walmart

Through the project, ASI hopes to bridge the gap between the producers and the buyers of agricultural produce. This will be done by facilitating discussions before the sowing season, which will allow retailers to provide their inputs on market trends and anticipated demand, standards and prices. As a result, farmers can better plan their harvesting cycles.

Commenting on the grant, ASI’s India representative, Amit Singh said, “The Walmart Foundation’s support of smallholder farmers in Andhra Pradesh will help unlock the potential of farmer livelihoods for generations by focusing on sustainable and transparent partnerships with public and private sector supply chain actors. In Andhra Pradesh, private sector actors are eager to engage more closely with smallholder farmers. This represents a great opportunity for these farmers to reach bigger and better markets through private sector engagement.”

Julie Gehrki, the Vice President of Programs for the Walmart Foundation said, “Smallholder farmers are vital to ensuring sustainable access to nutritious food around the world. The Walmart Foundation is proud to launch this effort to support small-scale farmers in Andhra Pradesh as they grow their skills and create opportunities for their families and community. The approach that ASI is taking to the work is one that looks at how a range of actors – from government to financial institutions and local businesses – can all be a part of supporting farmers in this growth.”

As India’s economy enters a phase of rapid growth, such initiatives will be important to ensure equitable distribution of wealth in years to come. One innovative method to achieve market readiness would be to delve into the world of organic food production, which has tremendous potential for growth in India.