The founding members of the Pragati project for sustainable castor crops—Arkema, BASF, Jayant Agro-Organics, and implementation partner Solidaridad—recently finalized and published the final audited and certified results of the fifth year of the 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.
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 2021, the members officially updated the impacts of the program so far. Over 5,800 farmers have been trained, audited, and certified. This represents an increase of 27% compared to the prior year. In addition, 36,000 tons of certified castor seed has been cultivated, an increase of 50%.
Yield has improved over 35% vs. comparable yield published by local government in the region for 2020 and 2021. Over 13,300 hectares are being farmed in accordance with the SuCCESS sustainable castor code, and farmers from more than 69 villages in North Gujarat now participate in the program.
Approximately 6,300 safety kits and crop protection product boxes have been distributed free of charge. In addition, water consumption has been lowered by about 35% in the demo plots where accurate measurement and control are in place.