India

Retail Giant Walmart’s Philanthropic Arm Grants $4.5mn To Empower Women Farmers in India

In India, where 70 percent of rural households derive their incomes from agriculture, has been trying to help its farmers with several reforms and economic packages. Just earlier this month, three new laws were announced by the government, claiming to free agricultural trade and allow the participation of private players in the sector.

Keeping in line with the vision of empowering Indian farmers, the philanthropic arm of retail giant Walmart called “Walmart Foundation” announced two grants adding up to $4.5 million in a bid to help farmers earn more from the improved output and fair market access.

The fresh capital is bound to focus mainly on creating more opportunities for women in agriculture via farmer producer organisations (FPOs).

“The global COVID-19 pandemic has increased pressure on India’s farmers, especially female farmers shouldering extra responsibilities in the household while seeing their incomes diminish overnight,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, President of the Walmart Foundation.

The grants are part of Walmart’s 2018 commitment to invest $25 million to help Indian farmers over a period of five years. As of now, the retail giant has poured in $15 million supporting social initiatives designed to impact over 140,000 farmers in India. A chunk of the money will also be used to introduce advanced technologies to help farmers in their work.

Lately, the Narendra Modi-led Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government has been drawing flak from Indian citizens for not being able to help out farmers to its fullest capacity. When it rose to power in 2014, BJP had pledged to double the farmers’ income by 2022 – a goal that hasn’t been achieved as of now.

Voices also rose in unanimity when several cases of farmers who had committed suicide made it to the headlines in India during the ongoing pandemic. Recently released data by the National Crime Records Bureau of India revealed that over 10,000 cases of farmer suicides were recorded in the country last year in 2019.

The lockdown restrictions that were imposed in India in March, according to economists, are forcing millions of households into poverty and contributing to the long-running tragedy of farmer suicides in the country.

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