“From Farm to Family”- Mangoes bring sweetness to farmers’ lives in Andhra Pradesh amidst COVID 19 Pandemic

Vijayawada: “Andhra Pradesh Irrigation and Livelihood Improvement Project (Phase 2)” is a project financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and implemented by Water Resources Department (WRD), Department of Horticulture, AP Food Processing Society and other allied departments under the Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP). The objective of the Project is to increase the local productivity and enhance marketing capacity by rehabilitating existing irrigation systems and supporting integrated farming systems within Farmer Producers Organization (FPO) structure, thereby contributing toward improvement of livelihoods of farmers in Andhra Pradesh state and creating value chain of Andhra Pradesh State.

The national lockdown to combat the COVID 19 pandemic put stress on the mango growers in Andhra Pradesh as the farmers were ready to harvest the season’s first produce of mangoes. With the lockdown, the local traders were unable to lift the product from the farmers to supply to the retail chains. In this backdrop, the project officials and E&Y LPP team, the consultants for implementation of pilot value chain development of selected crops under the project, devised an innovative way to ease the supply chain bottleneck, where the farmers get their share of income and the consumers get to relish the naturally ripened mangoes.

Their efforts gave life to ‘Farm to Family’ initiative, in which mangoes were directly procured from farmers at the farmgate and supplied directly to the consumers in a few selected townships and gated communities in Hyderabad based on consolidated demand placed by gated communities. The team partnered with a Farmer Producers’ Organization named ‘Reddygudem Mandal Farmers Producers Company Limited’, which has 350 farmers as members to launch this initiative.

The initiative has created a win-win situation for both the farmers and consumers. Mr. Teneru Sambasivarao, a farmer from Konaparaju Perva village in Krishna district said “I am happy with this arrangement as we did not have to bear the bagging charges, transportation charges, loading and unloading charges. We have received appreciated price and our produce is procured from the farmgate. We are also being educated on grading and sorting’

Mr. Bhojraju. Sr. Consultant at E&Y LLPs said, “We are teaching farmers selective harvesting, where they understand to pluck only those mangoes which are completely mature to be ripened in this way there is also cost cutting on the labour charges”.

Mr. Bharat Thota, Manager at E&Y LLP updated that this pilot initiative was launched on April 12, 2020 in 3 gated communities and so far, 3 MT of mangoes have already been sold and another 10 MT have been pre-booked from more than 12 gated communities in Hyderabad. The project intends to continue with this initiative, even after the lifting of lockdown, as it brings the farmers and consumers closer to each other.

Responding to this initiative, Mr. Katsuo Matsumoto, Chief Representative, JICA India said, “COVID-19 pandemic has thrown up numerous challenges and JICA appreciates the efforts made by AP Irrigation project to come up with innovative solutions, which benefits both farmers and consumers. JICA is keen to support and promote innovations that improve the well- being of people and help them tide over the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Andhra Pradesh Irrigation and Livelihood Improvement Project (Phase 2)” is a project financed by JICA under a loan agreement with the Government of India, signed on December 13, 2017, to provide Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan of 21,297 million Japanese Yen (approximately INR 1,520 crores based on exchange rate in April 2022). In addition, JICA supports agriculture and irrigation projects in other states including Jharkhand, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan.

The purpose of JICA’s assistance to Agriculture and Rural Development sector in India is to contribute to the efforts of poverty reduction in the country. JICA intends to focus on increasing rural income through improvement of agriculture productivity.