To reduce malnutrition among the vulnerable population in Madhya Pradesh, A Flagship Double-Engine PPP Initiative for 'Good Farming – Good Food'

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Solidaridad organised a day-long event to launch the implementation phase, along with logo and website, of Good Farming – Good Food

Media Kesari

Madhya Pradesh

 Solidaridad Asia and partners have united in a consortium to launch the implementation phase of one of the flagship projects 'Good Farming – Good Food'. The project is a collaboration with the Netherlands government, aimedat reducing malnutrition among the vulnerable population, particularly women and children, in Madhya Pradesh, India, and is jointly funded by the Dutch multi-national East West Seeds;Vippy Industriesand the Dutch Government—the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).

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With a funding of 3.5 million Euros,the 'Good Farming – Good Food' programme aims to support around 50,000 vulnerable families, including rural women and school children, through access to nutritious food. The objective is also to increase consumption of nutritious foods, particularly soy-based products and vegetablesat farm and household level. 

The project also encourages farmers for crop diversification and aims to help around 30,000 farmers improve their net income on the basis of crop diversification and improved market access, which contribute to better food security and nutrition status at the household consumption level. 

'Good Farming – Good Food' was implemented by the partners last year. The inception phase has helped in creating a strong foothold in the region and strengthening relationships with the communities. It has also provided the opportunity of translating work plans, project goals and objectives into actions. The has facilitated in smooth implementation of targeted interventions as well as in deepening the impacts towards building resilience of small holders and creating better nutritional outcomes. 

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Digital Integration

The programme “Good Farming – Good Food” appropriately integrates the digital solutions and innovative tools, which are proven to be effective and tested at the ground. The digital technology-enabled learning and knowledge sharing is facilitated through the introduction of Farmers’ Training and Learning Mobile App. The app provides different e-learning modules, animated videos, audio clips, literatures as well as facilitates an interactive learning process. The digital literacy and digital content-driven training are ensured for better uptake of good agricultural practices. Along with this, it has in-built MIS to track or review farmers’ knowledge levels and feedback. Along with this, an innovative tool to track the households’ nutritional level is also under development.

The launch event of the implementation phase, including the website and logo, of “Good Farming – Good Food” was graced by the presence of Bart De Jong, Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; Jeroen Douglas, Executive Director, Solidaridad Network; Dr Shatadru Chattopadhyay, Managing Director, Solidaridad Asia Praneet Mutha; Joint Managing Director, Vippy Industries Ltd.;Dr Dipika Agrahar Murugkar, Principal Scientist, Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering (CIAE); Raman Wadhwa, Dy CEO, Madhya Pradesh D.A.Y. State Rural Livelihood Mission (MP-SRLM) – Government of Madhya Pradesh;Ms Sathiyabama Baskaran, Head Knowledge Transfer – India, East West Seed and  Ramsingh Thakur, CEO, Samarth Kisan. 

 Jeroen Douglas, Executive Director, Solidaridad Network, Netherlands mentioned, “‘Good Farming – Good Food’ provides a strategic move, which gives the soy commodity a new direction towards addressing food and nutritional security. With awareness on food and nutrition at its peak during COVID-19, democratising nutrition by creating affordable and accessible food products with high nutritional and health values has become a necessity.Projects that leverage agriculture for health and nutrition is the need of the hour.”

At the launch event, Dr Shatadru Chattopadhayay, Managing Director,Solidaridad Asia said,“I would also like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) for their extended support and cooperationon the project. A large number of rural population, especially women and children in Madhya Pradesh are anemic and malnourished. Ironically, the state produces the largest quantity of soy (most affordable source of protein) but the community that grows soy are the most impoverished. In our opinion, the traditional models of nutritional improvement have had limited impact and it requires innovative approaches to connect agriculture- health-nutrition pathways. The term ‘Good Farming – Good Food’is a reflection of the interdependence between nutrition, health and agriculture.”

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Sathiyabama Baskaran, Head East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer, India, said, “Availability of quality vegetables will help in reducing malnutrition faced by the ruralpopulation in Madhya Pradesh. In this project, we are focusing on four major areas toimprove the farmer’s knowledge on improved agronomy practices. We have initiatedvegetable demonstration plots to enhance good farming practices, village to villagetechnical training programs and field training programs to spread awareness onimproved farming techniques. We are also providing undivided attention to improvewomen participation in farming through our kitchen garden programs. During theinception period, EWS-KT has trained over 3,300 farmers in over 47 villages”

Mr Praneet Mutha, Joint Managing Director of Vippy Industries Ltd., said, “We appreciate our association with Solidaridad and consortium partners. This partnership will go a long way in ensuring nutrition security as well as enhancing the livelihood of smallholders. We are happy with the accomplishments of the inception phase and looking forward tothe implementation phase. The project is very well aligned with the aspirations of Vippy industries for well-being of society. We are happy to support farmers through the market linkages and ensureavailability of affordable and quality raw material for manufacturing nutritious soy food products for the local markets as well as to governmental food and nutrition support programs like mid-day meal scheme.

 Bart De Jong - Consul General, Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Mumbai, said, “Both India and the Netherlands are committed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We are working with India towards these targets in various projects. The Good Farming – Good Food is a perfect example of an ideal public-private partnership between the Dutch and the Indian public and private entities towards curbing malnutrition and promoting locally produced healthy food.”

Dr Dipika Agrahar, ICAR-Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering, “We are happy to be the knowledge partner for ‘Good Farming – Good Food’. I am confident that the project would facilitate the transfer of pioneering research outcomes of the institute around agricultural mechanisation, post-harvest technology and entrepreneurship around soy food processing. We appreciate the efforts of the consortium partners, especially that of Solidaridad.”

The website, which was launched during the meeting, would serve as a platform for showcasing the progress/updates of the project through various mediums and add credibility to the work being done.

The website launch was followed by four more sessions on ‘Regenerative Agriculture — Sustainable Eco Agri Revolution’; ‘Role of Private Sector, Businesses and CSR in Sustainable and Inclusive Agricultural Development – Bringing Innovations and Solutions’; ‘National Initiatives for Sustainability in Vegetable Oil Industries’ and ‘Opportunities for Sustainable Herbs and Medicinal Plants Sector’. The sessions saw eminent agricultural experts and scientists participating and engaging in insightful discussions on sustainable developments

The jury of experts for ‘Regenerative Agriculture — Sustainable Eco Agri Revolution’, were Padma Shri Dr M H Mehta, Honourable Trustee, Solidaridad Regional Expertise Centre and Former Vice-Chancellor of Gujarat Agriculture University, Dr Bhaskar Sinha, Associate Professor and Chairperson, Centre for Climate Change Studies, Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM) and Honourable Trustee, Solidaridad Regional Expertise Centre (SREC), Dr Nita Khandekar, Director, Indian Institute of Soybean Research (IISR) and Dr Ashok K. Patra, Director, Indian Institute of Soil Science (IISS)

The jury of experts for “Role of Private Sector, Businesses and CSR in Sustainable and Inclusive Agricultural Development – Bringing Innovations and Solutions” were Dr Nilay Ranjan, Head Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Vodafone Idea Limited as well as speakers representing to Mahindra and Mahindra - CSR, Syngenta, Koppert Biological Solutions, and Bio Nutrients India Pvt. Ltd. 

The jury of expert panel for “National Initiatives for Sustainability in Vegetable Oil Industries” were Dr Shatadru Chattopadhayay, Managing Director, Solidaridad Asia, Dr B V Mehta, Executive Director, The Solvent Extractor’s’ Association of India, Mumbai, India and Convener, SEA-IPOS Council, Dr D.N Pathak, Executive Director, The Soybean Processors’ Association of India (SOPA) and Member Secretary SOPA ISSS Council, Mr Vikash Sharma – Head - International Trade, Godrej Industries Ltd., India and Chairman SEA-IPOS Council.

The jury of expert panel on “Opportunities in Sustainable Herbs and Medicinal Plants Sector” were, Dr G S Jarial, Senior Advisor, Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Solidaridad, Dr Manish Pande, Director & Head, Project Analysis & Documentation (PAD) Division Quality Council of India (Autonomous Body set by Govt. of India) and Dr P K Shukla, Regional Director, Regional-Cum-Facilitation-Centre, National Medicinal Plants Board – Government of India.

Overall, the stakeholders meeting provided the opportunity to discuss and deliberate on area of cooperation and joint efforts towards different themes i.e. sustainable eco-agriculture, gender, food security, health and nutrition, role of digital IoT solutions in agriculture and promotion of high-value crops for crop diversification and income enhancement of farmers etc. The event would also provide opportunity to discuss the experiences of different partners and stakeholders and to share the best practices around themes mentioned above.

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