Ruchi Soya inks deal with Solidaridad to scale up sustainable production in India

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte witnessed the signing of an agreement worth €4.5 million that is intended to reduce India’s dependence on imports and save on foreign exchange.

Ruchi Soya Industries Limited (Ruchi Soya), India’s number one edible oil and soya foods company, recently inked a deal with Solidaridad. Valued at €4.5 million, the deal was signed in the presence of the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Ruchi Soya will share 55% of this investment and Solidaridad the remaining 45%. The project will work on the principle of "Make in India" and "More Crop per Drop".

Ruchi Soya and Solidaridad will be working with the Indian palm oil farmers and training them on sustainable practices to grow more palm oil with less land, water and energy while protecting the environment. Solidaridad would bring in its expertise in sustainable palm oil production from across the world and use state of the art technologies to augment water efficiency and sustainable expansion of palm production in India.

The aim of the project over the next five years is to make a significant volume of sustainable palm oil available for the Indian market, to save at least 1.5 trillion liters of water in palm production and generate major employment in the rural areas. The purpose of this agreement is to set up the first major sustainability intervention of palm oil production in India in a Public-Private Partnership approach. As a result, the Indian economy will reduce the outflow of foreign exchange for the import of palm oil.

Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands, who was present at the signing of the MoU said, “The Netherlands is the second largest exporter worldwide of agricultural produce. Therefore, I welcome the partnership between Solidaridad and Ruchi Soya in the sustainable production and trade of agro-commodities.”  

Dinesh Shahra, founder and managing director of Ruchi Soya Industries Limited, said, “The partnership aims at increasing the productivity and income of Indian farmers in a sustainable way. Our endeavor is to ensure that the Indian farmers get the best quality of inputs and state of the art technology that can help them scaling their productivity to global standards. India consumes 19.65 million metric tonnes of edible oil, of which 13.5 million metric tonnes is imported and palm constitutes 8.8 million metric tonnes of the total import. Government of India has identified 2 million hectares of land for oil palm cultivation in India. Ruchi Soya has done pioneering efforts in the oil palm cultivation in India and our partnership with Solidaridad will help India in saving the valuable foreign exchange.”

Dr Shatadru Chattopadhayay, managing director of Solidaridad South & South-East Asia, mentioned, "Palm oil farmers in India have a bright future as providers of food and suppliers of renewable energy and raw materials. Palm oil is an extremely efficient oil to produce. It’s cost effective, produces high yields on little land, consumes relatively little energy, and can generate almost 10 times the amount of energy consumed in its production. I believe this partnership would create a concrete example of how sustainable, commercially viable Public-Private Partnership can enhance the potential of Indian smallholder farmers and workers in rural areas with fewer negative consequences for people and the environment.”

It is expected that the large scale project would contribute towards India’s vision of moving towards self-sufficiency in palm oil, saving crucial foreign exchange outflow while simultaneously generating significant employment for smallholder farmers in remote regions with assured monthly returns throughout the year.

About Ruchi Soya Industries Limited

Ruchi Soya Industries Limited, with a consolidated turnover close to $5 billion, is India’s leading FMCG and India’s number one edible oil and soya food company. An Integrated player from farm to fork, Ruchi Soya has secured access to oil palm plantations in India and other key regions of the world. The company is also the highest exporter of soya meal, lecithin and other specialty food ingredients. The company is committed to renewable energy and exploring suitable opportunities in the sector.

About Solidaridad

Solidaridad is an international civil society organization with more than 45 years of global experience in facilitating the development of socially responsible, ecologically sound and profitable supply chains. Solidaridad works across 12 supply chains and operates through 10 Regional Expertise Centres on five continents. We bring together supply chain actors and engage them in innovative solutions to improve production, ensuring the transition to a sustainable and inclusive economy that maximizes the benefit for all. In India, Solidaridad is supporting smallholder farmers to work in a collective manner to increase yields with less water and connect them to high value supply chains for enhancing their profitability. It is dedicated to making farming an attractive option for rural youths by providing the skills, tools and long-term support necessary to be successful. Currently it has various support programmes for major crops in India in close partnership with diverse stakeholders in 2,500 villages covering over eight lakh farmers within 38 districts and 10 states of India.