The Walmart Foundation and the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) have joined hands to launch a Secondary Processing Unit (SPU) in Muddalapuram village, Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh.
The facility would provide new livelihood and market access prospects to district farmers through value-added peanuts (groundnut), millet, and other nutritious commodities.
The facility was launched on Wednesday by Kakani Govardhan Reddy, Minister for Agriculture and Cooperation, Marketing, and Food Processing in the Government of Andhra Pradesh.
Through interventions at multiple levels of the agricultural value chain, ICRISAT has been working with its project implementation partner, Accion Fraterna Ecology Centre (AFEC), to accelerate Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and smallholder member-farmers advantages.
Over 6,000 smallholder farmers in Anantapur area are estimated to benefit from the SPU. Rythu Nestham Food Producer Company Ltd, a women-led company, operates the 1,000-square-metre factory (RNFPCL).
RNFPCL was formed with the help of ICRISAT and AFEC and included farmers from nine FPOs spread over the eight mandals of the Anantapur district.
The plant has five processing lines that will produce highly nutritious millet and pulse-based ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat formulations such as traditional khichdi and upma mixes, high oleic groundnut products such as nutrition bars (chikki), cookies, snacks, and savories, and healthy cold pressed groundnut oil.
The Walmart Foundation has made a ‘long-term commitment’ to help FPO capacity building and farmer lives by increasing yields through improved farm practices, formal market links, and overall support for FPOs on their sustainability journeys. This mission and focus are supported by the grant to ICRISAT.
‘Walmart Foundation’s donation to ICRISAT aims to better enhance farmers’ incomes while improving and diversifying the services of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) to bring benefits to their members,’ said Julie Gehrki, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Walmart Foundation.
According to a press release, ICRISAT Director General Jaqueline d’Arros Hughes stated that his institute is ‘assisting’ small-holder farming communities in the Anantapur area of Andhra Pradesh in adopting sustainable farming practices.