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Walmart Foundation to invest Rs 180 core to support farmers

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Walmart Foundation on Thursday announced that it will invest about Rs 180 crore ($25 million) to improve farmers’ livelihoods in the country over the next five years.

Separately, Walmart India is also planning to grow its direct sourcing from farmers to 25 per cent of produce sold in its Best Price cash and carry stores over the same period, to accelerate market access improvements and cut transportation costs for producers, the company said in a statement.

“We’re pleased to help create more opportunities for smallholder farmers in India through Walmart’s strengthened commitment to local sourcing and the Walmart Foundation’s $25 million investment to support local farmer producer organisations,” said Judith McKenna, president and chief executive officer, Walmart International.

The $25-million commitment includes a recently announced grant of close to $2 million to support International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics help smallholders generate more income, according to the statement.

The new funds will be used to support farmer organisations to develop knowledge of sustainable farming practices, share business best practices, add value to primary agricultural commodities and improve access to finance and markets, it said.

The Foundation will work with well-established non-government organisations to support farmer producer groups and develop best practices and demonstration sites that can be shared across the country.

“The aim is to eventually empower multiple farmer organisations and connect them into a nationwide farmer-support network,” the statement said. According to McKenna, giving farmers opportunities to learn and expand their access to markets have incredible benefits for communities and customers.

“Farmers’ incomes can grow and they can create new business opportunities for local entrepreneurs and help improve access to high-quality produce in their villages and beyond. All of this adds up to a stronger supply chain, stronger local businesses and better lives for smallholder farmers and their families,” she said.

Walmart sources 95 per cent of the goods sold in its Best Price cash and carry stores in India from local companies and offers access to technical assistance and training programmes to improve farming efficiency.

Reinforcing its presence in the country, the US-based retail giant had last month completed the acquisition of 77 per cent stake in e-commerce firm Flipkart for about $16 billion.

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