Innoterra, Transforming Rural India Foundation (TRIF) and Barefoot College International (BCI) announced a strategic partnership to support smallholder farmers in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh through the development of integrated rural value chains through an innovative 'systems change' approach.
The Innoterra-TRIF-BCI trilateral collaboration will work closely with Uttar Pradesh State Rural Livelihoods Mission (UPSRLM), Mission Prerna by Govt. of Uttar Pradesh and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to build a resilient, regenerative and thriving rural farm economy. Yogesh Kumar, additional commissioner, MGNREGA-Uttar Pradesh, says, "This is a very positive step towards a robust rural economy. Coming together of the organizations who have considerable expertise in this sector and working for smallholder farmers in Uttar Pradesh has the potential to be a changemaker and create a model for a scale-up."
The partnership's focus will be to support women collectives to catalyze regenerative agri-based livelihoods through farming interventions, to develop rural entrepreneurs in upstream and downstream activities and fully integrated digital initiatives. The partnership will also work towards a groundbreaking digital Learning Management System (LMS), designed to cross language and literacy barriers.
Three sub-districts in UP have been identified for the first phase of this initiative: Bankati in Basti (Varanasi & Allahabad Marketshed Delhi), Mihinpurwa in Bharaich (Kanpur Marketshed), and Nighasan in Lakhimpur Kheri (Lucknow Marketshed). The initial focus of the partnership will be on value chains in the dairy and horticulture sub-sectors.
Speaking about the development, Meagan Fallone, chief impact officer, Innoterra, says, "This partnership is a significant achievement that brings together three strong organizations that complement each other. Innoterra will deploy the smallholder-focused B2B platform to first-time women dairy farmers. We also bring our expertise in banana farming and post-harvest management to catalyze large-scale clusters for fruit in the state."
Anish Kumar, co-lead at TRIF, comments, "We are glad to be a part of this collaborative – it's a force of nature that has all the capabilities and tools to achieve our mission. The partnership will engage the private sector, civil society, philanthropic, and community partners meaningfully to achieve its goals. TRIF will work together on livelihoods with UPSRLM and Rural Development Department to converge various government efforts. We have dedicated teams in the identified sub-district with support of Axis Bank Foundation. The focus of its efforts is to develop 'replicable model' for Uttar Pradesh villages, with participation from all stages of regional government."
According to the press note, BCI will provide technical assistance, along with their unique HT3C agricultural and animal husbandry skill development curriculum. BCI will also train rural women through their award-winning ENRICHE Critical Thinking, Enterprise, Environment, and Agency curricula.