Improving Rural Livelihoods
Uttar Pradesh is a state in northern India with 18 million hectares of arable land, supporting 23 million farming families with 6/7 members per family and an average landholding of 0.85 hectare per family. Nevertheless, the average annual income per hectare coming from farming operations is only USD800, mainly due to low productivity levels. In this context, DuPont has developed a complete package of Seed to Harvest programme, which includes trainings and lessons on the right hybrids for the right hectare, appropriate agronomic practices and right crop protection techniques to improve rice crop productivity.
The DuPont Rice Farming School is a classroom, on-the-field training programme where local farmers in the Uttar Pradesh region are trained by fellow farmers called Pioneer Pravaktas (Spokesperson) on the most efficient agricultural practices for rice crop management. The Pioneer Pravaktas are farmers who undergo trainings from Pioneer technical representatives to train more farmers. During the programme:
- DuPont identified 2,500 villages with low crop productivity;
- In each village, a group of 25 farmers were trained on effective rice farming practices, involving a total of 52,500 farmers in the farm school initiatives;
- In each village, DuPont identified educated young progressive farmer as the lead Pravakta farmer (Spokesperson);
- These 2,500 Pravakta farmers were then clustered into 50 separate groups and each cluster was then assigned to a field representative to oversee the progress of their activities and provide guidance on a regular basis.
DuPont Pioneer hybrid rice seeds volume has grown by 100% in two years after the implementation of the farm school program, with incremental revenues from farm school expected to reach USD4 million in 2015. So far:
- Average rice productivity of farm school villages has reached 5 metric ton per hectare, more than doubling the state average of 2 metric ton per hectare
- Pioneer Farm School has created 0.16 million metric ton of additional rice productivity in these 2,500 selected villages
- A 600 USD incremental agricultural income per hectare has been realized by following the Farm School rice crop management recommendations, with an overall financial gain of USD30 million realized by 52,500 farming families.