World’s first sustainable castor bean programme extended for phase two

Following the successful completion of phase one of the Pragati sustainable castor crop project, Solidaridad joined Arkema, BASF, and Jayant Agro-Organics to sign phase two, extending the programme to 31 July 2022.

Representatives from BASF, Arkema, Jayant Agro-Organics, and Solidaridad toured one of the demo plots with members of the Pragati programme before posing for a group photo

Phase two of the Pragati programme will build on the tenets of phase one, launched in May 2016. This focused on good agricultural practices to increase yield and income, efficient use of water, adoption of proper waste management, and enabling better health and safety practices.

Representatives from BASF, Arkema, Jayant Agro-Organics, and Solidaridad sign the agreement to officially commit to Pragati, phase two, on January 22, 2020 in Mumbai

Witnessing the impact

The member companies invited a select group of end-users to see the impact of the programme in Gujarat, India – home to approximately 70% of the world’s castor crop. During the three-day event, which included a tour of castor farms, demo plots, and local trading markets, the founding members shared the highlights and achievements of phase one of Pragati (2016-2019): 

• 13,000+ tons of certified castor beans cultivated 

• 3,000+ castor farmers audited and certified 

• approximately 5,200 hectares of castor beans farmed in accordance with the castor sustainability code -SuCCESS (Sustainable Castor Caring Environmental & Social Standards) 

• 8,000+ hours of classroom training completed 

• 3,000+ safety kits and crop protection product storage boxes distributed 

• water consumption dropped by approximately 25% in the demo plots 

• crop yield improved by more than 50% compared to the 2016 baseline study 

Members of the castor farming community were interested in examples of end products such as sports shoes and ski boots

Phase two will double number of farmers reached

The founding members also announced the key goals for phase two, including: 

• training and certifying an additional 4,000 farmers 

• increasing involvement of women in the programme 

• developing awareness and involvement among key end-users – specifically by inviting stakeholders to actively participate in the Sustainable Castor Association 

• continuing to improve crop yield, water conservation, and basic chemical hygiene 

Programme partner Arkema is a global leader in specialty chemicals and advanced materials. BASF is the world’s leading chemical company. Jayant Agro-Organics Ltd. is a pioneer in castor oil-based chemicals in India. 

>Read more about Solidaridad's work in Asia