Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF) has partnered with Godrej Agrovet Ltd to create income opportunities and support livelihoods via the ‘Grameen Vikas Project’ across 6 villages of Bundi, Rajasthan and 8 villages of Tilda, Raipur , Chhattisgarh - impacting a population of more than 28,000+ people. The project will provide necessary skills, expertise, infrastructure and training for the community to strengthen agro-based livelihoods, whilst leveraging government schemes, empowering women by strengthening SHGs and training youth in vocational skills.
In both the regions, agriculture is considered to be the primary source of income, but due to high input costs, low yields and limited access to government schemes, the majority of the population have been moving into the unorganized sector in search of a livelihood. Women have been confined to their homes - lacking confidence and basic entrepreneurial skills - and youth are either forced to support their families in the fields or by taking up labouring jobs.
Through the partnership, the ‘Grameen Vikas Project’ will reach out to farmers to develop multiple avenues for increasing income levels. ACF will train farmers with advanced horticulture practices, animal husbandry techniques and focus on promoting a community cadre and farmer clubs to create direct market connections and implement efficient water use practices. The team will also motivate community members to use water consciously in the area, where uncontrolled extraction of groundwater for irrigation is registered.
Through the women empowerment program, ACF will strengthen the existing 5 SHGs, promote women based group enterprises, and support 30 marginal, landless women by financing livelihood generation activities and ensuring their participation in agri-allied activities. A few women are already involved in making vermicomposting as an income generation activity and have sold it to the Department of Horticulture and Cooperative Society.
With the aim to curb migration and provide alternative career and income choices for youth, ACF will mobilize youth to enrol at the Skill & Entrepreneurship Development Institute (SEDI) Bhatapara, by creating awareness through door to door visits and parents meeting.
Commenting on the new partnership, Pearl Tiwari, Director & CEO, Ambuja Cement Foundation said, “We are pleased to have a strong partnership with Godrej Agrovet and launch the ‘Grameen Vikas Project’ to support rural communities. This takes us yet another step further towards our vision of ‘building prosperous rural communities, via partnerships.’ We look forward to strengthening villagers by providing appropriate skills along with technological and financial support, to enhance their livelihoods and overall quality of life.”
Gayatri Divecha, Head CSR & Sustainability, Godrej Industries and Associate Companies, said, “In our work with small and marginal farmers, we found three things that enable in making agriculture a viable livelihood option. One, adopting scientific agri practices and accessing timely information. Two, diversifying both farm and off-farm income streams. And three, connecting with market and leveraging government welfare schemes. The Garmeen Vikas project is an integrated model that is developed from the realisation that farm-based livelihoods are all interconnected. Our continued partnership with Ambuja Cement Foundation will further strengthen the small and marginal farm communities and assist them to be agri-entrepreneurs of India.”
Apart from the above, ACF will also encourage beneficiaries to avail government schemes and subsidies, support small businesses and organize health camps.