IDH in India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maharashtra government, under World Bank funded mega project to promote sustainable agriculture – State of Maharashtra Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (SMART).
The MoU establishes a framework of cooperation between IDH India and the Government of Maharashtra with the goal of facilitating the connection of farmer groups in the state with Better Cotton Initiative and the Sustainable Spices Initiative – India. In the future, IDH would also explore partnerships under the project in the horticulture sector, to build a platform for facilitating sustainable production and procurement in the state, in line with IDH’s larger Maharashtra agenda to promote domestic responsible sourcing.
Maharashtra’s Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis, launched the SMART project, which was followed by signing of 50 MOUs between corporations, SMEs and farmers producer groups. The corporate houses which have pledged support and signed MoUs include Amazon, Walmart, Mahindra Agro, Pepsico, Tata Rallis, Reliance Retail, Big Basket, Patanjali, Tata Chemical, Happy Roots, Mera Kisan, and Way Cool, among others.
The SMART project aims to revamp agricultural value chains, with special focus on marginal farmers across 10,000 villages, covering a quarter of the State, by enhancing enterprise formation, increasing access to markets; and promoting climate resilience and resource-use efficiency. This will be done through creating and supporting value chains in post-harvest segments of agriculture, facilitating agribusiness investment, stimulating small and medium enterprises within the value chain, supporting resilient agriculture production systems, expanding access to new and organised markets for producers; and enhancing private sector participation in these agribusinesses.
While explaining the benefits of such of public-private partnerships, the Chief Minister said, “The welfare of the farmers is integral to the rural economy. The farmers will play an important role in the project. This project unites agriculture-oriented corporates and farmers by providing them a common platform. Through this meaningful partnership, change will emerge within the rural economy as well as for farmer livelihoods across the state.”