Icrisat opens agro-processing unit in AP to aid small farmers

Anantapuramu: The International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat) and Walmart Foundation on Wednesday inaugurated a secondary processing unit at Muddalapuram village here to support local farmers with new livelihood opportunities and market access facilities.
Icrisat has been working along with its project implementation partner, Accion Fraterna Ecology Centre (AFEC), to accelerate Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and smallholder member-farmers benefits, through interventions at various levels in the agricultural value chain.
These efforts are in line with Icrisat’s aim of turning dryland farming into a profitable enterprise through improved crop practices, post-harvest management and new food processing opportunities for smallholder farmers, a release here said.
The secondary processing unit (SPU) was inaugurated by state Agriculture Minister Kakani Govardhana Reddy. The SPU would create opportunities through value-added groundnut, millets and other nutritional products.
Over 6,000 farmers holding small pieces of land were expected to benefit from the SPU, operated by Rythu Nestam Food Producer Company Limited that has been established with support from Icrisat and AFEC.
The new facility is equipped with five processing lines that will produce nutritious millet and pulse-based ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat formulations, the release added.
Speaking on the occasion, the minister said the state government has introduced several initiatives like community-managed sustainable farming to make agriculture more viable and profitable.
Icrisat Director General Jaqueline d’Arros Hughes said the SPU, approved by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), would provide employment, reduce food wastage and promote food and nutritional security for the smallholder farmers.
“It will empower farmers from remote geographies to access fair commodity value chains and improve livelihoods,” he added.
Anantapuramu District Collector S Nagalakshmi said the unit would ensure improved livelihoods and better opportunities for smallholder farmers.
Complimenting Walmart Foundation, Icrisat, AFEC and Flipkart on the initiative, Nagalakshmi said it would bring synergy between agriculture and food processing industry in Anantapuramu district.
Walmart Foundation Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer Julie Gehrki, Flipkart Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Rajneesh Kumar and others attended the event.

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