The Fact Maker

Walmart Foundation Expands Efforts to Support Smallholder Farmers in India, Further Empowering Women

  • New grant commitment aims to reach 1 million farmers by 2028 with at least 50% women

Chennai: Expanding its commitment to improving farmer livelihoods in India, Walmart Foundation today announced a new five-year strategy that aims to reach 1 million smallholder farmers by 2028 with at least 50% women. The grants will be extended to non-profit organizations working in the areas of collectivization and farm aggregation with the aim of boosting farmer incomes across several states including Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

The Walmart Foundation grants will focus on enabling local grantees to better support capacity building for farmer producer organizations (FPOs), expanding access to market linkages so that they can participate in commercial opportunities more seamlessly, and training farmers on sustainable farming methods and technology, with a particular focus on empowering women farmers. The Foundation announced two new grants alongside the new five-year strategy; they include:

  • $3 million to TechnoServe for smallholder farmers in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh aiming to reach 24 FPOs and 30,000 farmers, with 50% of them expected to be women.
  • $533,876 grant to Trickle Up aiming to reach 1,000 women smallholder farmers in Odisha, connecting them with two FPOs.

This five-year strategy is an extension of the Walmart Foundation’s investments since 2018 to improve farmer livelihoods in India and expand their access to commercial goods markets. Surpassing its initial goal of $25 million invested, the Walmart Foundation has funded philanthropic grants supporting smallholder farmers in India totaling just over $39 million through 24 grant programs with 16 grantees.  Grants span the states of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh.  

Through these investments, Walmart Foundation grantees project they will cumulatively support over 800,000 smallholder farmers. Of those grantees reporting on gender, more than half of the farmers reached are expected to be women. This new commitment reaffirms the Walmart Foundation’s work to expand market access for smallholder farmers across India by leveraging its scale, networks and strategic philanthropy. As the new set of grants starts to roll out later this year, they will build on the results of a new impact study conducted by Sambodhi, an India-based impact measurement firm, that assessed the efficacy of Walmart Foundation’s investments thus far in enhancing livelihoods and incomes for Indian FPOs. The study examined a number of initiatives put forth by NGO grantees in the area of FPO capacity building and indicated that interventions by implementing partners contributed to strengthened systems and processes at the FPO level, higher revenues and profitability as well as increased representation of women at the farm level and in FPO leadership.

Key highlights include:

    Higher incomes:

  • Participating FPOs have a higher ability to provide inputs, support sale of final produce to more varied markets, and earn 29% higher revenues on an average than comparable FPOs.
  • A greater proportion of program FPOs were profitable (72% vs 42% comparable FPOs) and on average made 38% more profit.
  • A higher percentage of program households began leasing land for cultivation indicating higher confidence among program beneficiaries regarding higher income potential.

    Higher yields:

  • Women farmers in FPOs helped by projects supported by the Walmart Foundation had significantly higher cropping intensity (210% vs. 149% as compared to their peers) and cultivated more high value crops.
  • Over 40% of FPOs supported by NGO interventions were engaged in aggregation of produce.
  • Many of the FPOs supported by the Walmart Foundation’s grantees have started engaging in millet-based products like pearl millet flour, ready to eat jowar meal, among others, which are important for everyday health.

Digitization and diversification:

  • 80% of program beneficiaries were using digital technology in managing FPO operations, finances and connecting with member farmers for provision of advisory and services.
  • Participating FPOs exhibited greater financial viability through significant diversification of business activities and income sources.
  • The top three advisory services received by program farmers over the last 12 months were crop advisory (61%), pest management (39%) and input advisory (27%).
  • The report also identified that gender-sensitive programming remains a key focus across all implementing partners to ensure women have equal access to inputs and services and are equipped to cope with challenges and take advantages of opportunities.
  • The report also validated the need to continue working across grantees and ensuring thatthe benefits are accruing to a wider percentage of FPO members.

On the occasion, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, the Honorable Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, said, “Agriculture forms the backbone of the Indian economy and the welfare of smallholder farmers is one of the top priorities of the government under Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s leadership. Along with launching multiple measures to increase farmer incomes, the government has initiated setting up more than 10,000 FPOs in the country that will help them get the maximum return on their produced. I congratulate Walmart Foundation for committing to support 1 million farmers by 2028, and especially for their focus to benefit women farmers.”

Kathleen McLaughlin, Executive Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, Walmart Inc. and President, Walmart Foundation, said, “The Walmart Foundation’s latest commitment to expanding market access for smallholder farmers in India builds on our efforts to identify solutions that can systemically help create shared value for all stakeholders. Strategic philanthropy can act as a strong instrument in rewiring yesterday’s systems and enhancing economic opportunities for smallholder farmers while promoting the inclusion and empowerment of women.”

Rajneesh Kumar, Senior Vice President, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Flipkart, said, “Flipkart is committed to building a resilient and inclusive agribusiness supply chain.  We know that grocery empowers local stakeholders, and, working closely with the Walmart Foundation, and programs such as Flipkart Krishi Samarth, we are creating a holistic ecosystem that helps farmers prosper by leveraging the opportunities that the digital economy presents. Helping empower women, and in this case women farmers and ensuring inclusive growth is at the center of all our initiatives.”