Tomato sourcing- public-private partnership with Government of Maharashtra
The World Bank states that supporting smallholder farming is the best way to stimulate economic development and reduce poverty. HUL used to be dependent on imports for sourcing tomatoes for its packaged food products. Sourcing locally had several barriers including lack of quality consistency, lack of availability of produce, price volatility, etc. Through our sustainable sourcing initiatives, not only have we been able to enhance the livelihoods of farmers but also have created a direct positive impact on the business.
The public-private-partnership (PPP) project which began in 2012 between HUL and Maharashtra Government for sustainable sourcing of tomatoes matured in 2014. In 2015, the programme no longer required the intervention or support of PPP as the project had become self-sustaining.
In 2016, HUL continued to provide these farmers a buy-back guarantee for their produce. HUL also offers global and local knowledge and expertise in sustainable agriculture practices in tomato cultivation; this includes the latest agricultural techniques, irrigation practices and recommendation of right seed varieties.
Execution of good agricultural practices and adoption of drip irrigation systems help farmers to significantly reduce usage of water, pesticide and fertiliser, reducing the negative impact on the environment. In fact, under this project, all the farmers associated with one of our partners – an established food processing company located near Nashik, are using drip irrigation. This in turn, helps to reduce water used in agriculture and has resulted in better yields.
Till date, we have reached out to over 8,000 smallholder farmers who grew tomatoes on more than 11,000 acres of land. In 2016 alone, we reached out to 5,000 smallholder farmers who grew tomatoes on 7,000 acres of land.