1,019 Indian Farmers Complete World's First Sustainable Castor Bean Programme

01 June 2018

A total of 1,019 Indian farmers have successfully completed the world’s first sustainable Castor bean programme. This is a result of a collaboration between leading chemical companies, Arkema, BASF and Jayant Agro-Organics, and CSO Solidaridad who are working together to create a framework for sustainable castor bean production.

Sustainable Castor Caring for Environmental & Social Standards

Arkema is a global leader in specialty chemicals and advanced materials, BASF is the world's leading chemical company and Jayant Agro-Organics Ltd is a pioneer in castor oil based chemicals in India. In collaboration with Solidaridad, these players have come together for Project 'Pragati' (Hindi for ‘progress’).

This is a first-of-its-kind global initiative in which the companies are developing a sustainable castor framework titled 'SuCCESS' (Sustainable Castor Caring for Environmental & Social Standards).

1,019 Farmers Formally Awarded Sustainability Certificates

On 2 May 2018, the first ten Castor producer groups, representing 1,019 farmers were formally awarded certificates for their tremendous achievements in improving the sustainability of their farming practices.

A baseline survey of more than 1,000 castor farmers was conducted in 2016 on issues relating to their productivity, social impact, environment, health and safety. Based on the initial findings, Project ‘Pragati’ was launched in May 2016 in Gujarat, India. This region produces nearly 70% of the world's supply of castor beans.

Developing a Sustainability Framework

The project aims to address these issues by developing a sustainability framework designed to evaluate the social, economic, agronomic, and environmental performance of the Indian castor farmers.

Key outcomes of the project include:

· A yield improvement of 55% vs the 2016 baseline

· Distribution of safety kits and pesticide storage boxes to all 2,700 participating farmers

· More than 1,000 hours of classroom training

· Completion of soil and water tests across 41 villages

· Setting up of health camps in 26 villages

· Creation of five demo plots for better agricultural practices field demonstration

· More than 2,000 hectares of castor farming are now in accordance with the project framework

Adoption of Best Agricultural Practices 

Since its launch, Project ‘Pragati’ has led to intensive farmer engagement and adoption of best agricultural practices within the castor community. These results have been audited by independent third-party inspection agencies. To date, over 2,700 farmers have been trained by the project and 1,019 farmers have now been successfully certified and recognized under the project.

By educating, and disseminating best agricultural and environmental practices, Project ‘Pragati’, enables farmers to access the full benefits of productivity through better practices. In addition, this project aids in creating awareness and incentivizes them to take responsibility towards health, environment, safety and society.

While the project continues to positively impact the farming community, the founders are now considering to open the project for participation of all interested stakeholders to enhance sustainability in the castor industry within the next 12 months.

For more information on the sustainable castor project, please write to: info@castorsuccess.org

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