INDIA – Walmart Foundation, the global charitable partner of Walmart has announced a five-year US$24.7 million (Rs 180 crores) investment to improve the livelihoods of farmers in India.

The funding will help small farmers raise their incomes by supporting them develop knowledge on sustainable farming practices, best business prices, value addition to agricultural commodities as well as improve access to finance and markets.

Additionally, Walmart Foundation will work in collaboration with non-government organizations in supporting farmer producer groups, develop best practices and demonstration sites across India.

This supports Walmart Foundation’s efforts to develop and scale strong farmer producer organizations.

Walmart India on the other hand has said it will grow its direct sourcing from farmers to 25% of produce sold in its Cash & Carry stores over the same period.

It also will seek to source from a local farmer producer organization in every state where it has stores, all efforts geared at accelerating market access improvements and reduce transportation costs for producers.

This is also in line with the Indian government’s ambitious goal to double farmers’ income by 2022.

“We’re pleased to help create more opportunities for smallholder farmers in India through Walmart’s strengthened commitment to local sourcing and the Walmart Foundation’s US$25 million investment to support local farmer producer organizations.

There are incredible benefits for our communities and our customers when we help give farmers opportunities to learn and expand their access to markets.

Farmers’ incomes can grow and they can create new business opportunities for local entrepreneurs and help improve access to high-quality products in their villages and beyond.

All of this adds up to a stronger supply chain, stronger local businesses and better lives for smallholder farmers and their families.

We are proud to be a part of that,” said Judith McKenna, president, and chief executive officer of Walmart International.

The new funding is part of the recently announced grant of close to US$2 million to support International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

In 2017, the Walmart Foundation invested US$2 million in Tanager to implement the Farmer Market Readiness Project in India’s Andhra Pradesh State.

In August, Walmart closed the US$16 billion investment to take 77% stake in India’s largest ecommerce firm, Flipkart.