- CHALLENGE: Food
- INDUSTRY: Agriculture
- LOCATION: Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
Agriculture in India is a mainstay of life across this vast country. But some 70% of the population lives below the poverty level, on less than $2 per day. Poorer farmers who can’t afford new seeds for their crops often plant seed saved from prior seasons — which can lead to lower yields that fall below one metric ton per acre — and the cycle continues for another year. Many farmers lack the awareness and benefits of improved seeds and crop management practices. But the Indian state governments were aware that Public Private Partnerships (PPP) could help create opportunities and structures for these farmers that would benefit the entire Indian food chain.
DuPont Pioneer believed its hybrids and knowledge could dramatically improve crop yields and agriculture in India. In Odisha, Pioneer initiated a PPP to introduce high-yielding corn hybrid seeds to 25,000 farmers in six districts, along with season-long agronomic support to help increase the productivity. Similar initiatives were implemented in five districts of Gujarat, where more than 27,000 farmers benefited from the increased productivity and profitability of the corn and mustard seeds and improved practices they received. A two-year project covering 150 blocks in 26 rice-growing districts provided technical training and extension services for Uttar Pradesh rice growers. And in Rajasthan, Pioneer signed a memorandum with the Agriculture Department for multiple projects in pearl millet and corn seed development.
The results of the collaboration are ongoing, and uniformly positive. One result shows the Odisha farmers producing over three times their previous yields — around two to two-and-a-half tons/acre — and seeing income increases of $500 to $600 in just 65 to 70 days. Plus, all the farmers carry their new, valuable planting knowledge into the next season. It took the cooperation of the Indian governments, the dedication of the Pioneer staff, and the enthusiasm of the farmers to learn new skills.