17 May 2016 The Sustainable Grapes Initiative – India was launched last month in Mumbai together with partners and industry leaders. The initiative aims to increase the sustainability of grape production.
The Sustainable Grapes Initiative – India (SGI-I) came to shape after a request from SIFAV (Sustainable Initiative Fruit and Vegetables) partners in Europe to source sustainable grapes from India. The outcome of the program will not only benefit SIFAV partners when importing grapes from India but also support the domestic market by decreasing risk and increasing quality through sustainability. At the same time, the project will also help improve the businesses and livelihoods of small farmers, workers and relatively larger growers in India.
The SGI-I aims to increase the sustainability of grape production by decreasing risk and increasing quality through sustainable production practices in farming and production. In the initiative, all stakeholders (retailers, traders, exporters, producers, farmers, institutions and government agencies) will work together to strengthen sustainability in the Indian grapes sector. During the first year, the SGI-I will focus on grower and labour capacity building.
Kebba Colley, senior program manager for fruits and vegetables at IDH, said: “We are currently building an engagement model to work with the grape farmers in Maharashtra and we expect to reach out to a minimum of 10,000 farmers by the end of the 3rd year. The farmers will be trained on a number of issues around the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, effective use of water, soil health, and on environmental impact and social issues. In India, we have had some success in working with 400,000 cotton farmers along with BCI and private brands and retailers. Building on the learnings of our other interventions at IDH and working closely with the different stakeholders in the grapes sector we will define the package of practices to engage the grape farmers. Some of the expected benefits for farmers would be optimization of input cost, awareness on health and safety issues, more productive use of resources, and access to technical know-how, etc. It will also ensure that a larger number of grape farmers would have export quality grapes and through that improve on the farmer livelihood.”