The founding members of the Pragati project for sustainable castor crops—Arkema, BASF, and Jayant Agro-Organics, along with implementation partner Solidaridad—recently finalized and published the final audited and certified results of the fourth year of their program. The Pragati project was launched in May 2016, driven by a baseline survey of more than 1,000 castor farmers in Gujarat, India, where the majority of the world’s castor supply originates. Pragati is the Hindi word for progress.
The goal of the project is to enable sustainable castor crop production by:
- Using good agricultural practices to increase yield and farmer income
- Efficiently using water resources and maintaining soil fertility
- Driving adoption of good waste management practices
- Enabling better health and safety practices and respecting human rights
After successfully completing the initial three-year Phase 1 of the program, the founding members committed to a further three-year Phase 2 beginning in late 2019. In December 2020, the members officially updated the impacts of the program so far:
- Over 4,500 farmers have been trained, audited, and certified (an increase of 45% in year four)
- 24,000 tons of certified castor seed have been cultivated (an increase of 70% in year four)
- Yield has improved over 50% versus comparable yield published by local government in the region for 2019 and 2020
- Over 8,700 hectares have been farmed in accordance with the SuCCESS sustainable castor code (an increase of 71% in year four)
- More than 12,000 hours of classroom teaching have been concluded
- Approximately 5,000 safety kits and crop protection product boxes have been distributed free of charge
- Water consumption has been lowered by approximately 19% in the demo plots where accurate measurement and control is in place
- Farmers from more than 69 villages in North Gujarat now participate in the program
One customer event was hosted early in 2020 in order to create end-user awareness and involvement. The event involved a guided tour of the farms, trading yards, and castor processing facility. A second event will be planned in the near future once travel restrictions are eased.