Tomato sourcing - public-private partnership with Government of Maharashtra

The World Bank claims that supporting smallholder farming is the best way to stimulate economic development and reduce poverty.HUL used to be dependent on imports for the sourcing of the majority of its tomatoes. Sourcing locally had several barriers including lack of quality consistency, lack of availability of produce, price volatility, etc. Through our sustainable sourcing initiative, not only have we been able to enhance the livelihoods of farmers but also have created a direct positive impact on the business.

Project

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 which made the project self-sustaining. As a part of this initiative, HUL provides farmers with 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 the right type of seeds. Execution of good agricultural practices and adoption of drip irrigation systems help farmers make significant savings in water, pesticide and fertiliser, limiting any 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.

Impact

Till date, we have reached out to over 5,000 smallholder farmers who grow tomatoes on more than 7,000 acres of land. In 2015 alone, we reached out to 3,000 smallholder farmers who grew tomatoes on 4,000 acres of land. In 2015, we sourced 100% of tomatoes used in Kissan ketchup from sustainable sources.

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