The Sunhara Prayas project, supported by Walmart Foundation, has successfully benefited 4541 women farmers and farm workers since with training, Self Help Groups and market linkages with buyers since its launch in December 2012 in five districts of Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. With six months remaining on the two-year project, Sunhara Prayas has already reached 5441 of its total target of 6,000 farmers and is on track to facilitate the socio-economic and financial empowerment of 5,000 women.
The Sunhara Prayas project is designed around a holistic set of activities aimed at improved knowledge and capacity for vegetable and fruit production, access to marketing (selling) opportunities and facilitation of institutional support for access to finance and social inclusion.
Rajneesh Kumar, Vice-President of Wal-Mart India, said: “Wal-Mart is committed to India and we are excited about our growth plans. Walmart has always made efforts to bring about differences in the lives of farmers, especially women in India. The Sunhara Prayas project is a testimony to that. The project aims to improve the socio-economic conditions of small and marginal farmers in Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh through facilitating sustainable linkages.”
The two-year program has brought about many changes in the lives of small and marginal farmers in Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Due to interventions such as self help group formation, access to finance and market linkages, agricultural extension and technical assistance for improved production and competitiveness; there has been a 32 percent increase in the income of farmers. Additionally, 1,639 small and marginal farmers have been linked to buyers; 3051 beneficiaries have reported increased access to income and 3,661 beneficiaries reported increased access to financial services. The interventions used by the Sunhara Prayas project has led to an increase in the production of five major vegetable and two fruit crops by 20 percent.
The Sunhara Prayas project is designed to engage stakeholders at both ends of the value chain—from farmers to end-market buyers—to make the market system more efficient and beneficial for all. Under the project, 12 Farmer Resource Centers (FRCs) have been established to offer crucial services such as soil testing, information on good agricultural practices and supply of quality inputs and equipment for irrigation and pest/disease control. The project has also introduced easy to adopt technologies such as Tray nursery, Low cost poly tunnel, Stacking or Trellis method, Fruit fly trap, Harvesting and pruning equipment. These techniques are effective with regard to productivity and costs.
The Walmart Foundation has supported the project with USD 1 million and has partnered with Agribusiness Systems International (ASI) for implementation.