7) SABMiller India and ICRISAT collaborate to improve rural livelihoods through integrated water resource management

Partnership driving crop productivity enhancement, soil and water conservation and livelihood generation for smallholder farmers

  • Additional water storage capacity of more than 30,000 m3 leading to groundwater recharge of about  75,000 m3
  • Increase in soil moisture content by 10% in the case of black soils and 5% in the case of red soils
  • Increased crop yield – chickpea by 35%, cotton 12%, paddy 15%, and sugarcane 8%
  • Increased income of Rs 50,000 (US$ 922) per family per annum benefitting
    52 families
  • Total profit made by Self-Help Groups over a year is Rs 1,20,000 (US$ 2,213)
  • Milk production up by 257 liters per day

Hyderabad, India, 19 February 2013 – SABMiller India, the Indian arm of SABMiller Plc and one of the leading brewers in the country, showcased the results of the collaborative Integrated Water Resource Management project in partnership with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid tropics (ICRISAT) headquartered in Hyderabad in a field visit to Fasalwadi village in Medak district yesterday, 18 February.

The project, spread over four villages (Fasalvadi, Shivampet, Venkatakishtapur and Chakriyal) in the district covering 2,526 households with a total population of 12,940 on 4,500 hectares, seeks to develop sustainable water resources while contributing to the improvement of the livelihoods of the people dependent on agriculture. This is being done by enhancing agricultural productivity through rainwater conservation and harvesting and building farmer capacity to develop sustainable water management practices that enhance groundwater availability and use efficiency.

As a result of the project’s interventions, crop yields have significantly increased up to 35% and small and marginal farmer incomes by up to 11%. This includes on average, yield increases in chickpea (35%), cotton (12%), paddy (15%), and sugarcane (8%). Small and marginal farmers’ incomes have increased by Rs 4,730/hectare (20%) for chickpea, Rs 5,730/hectare (11%) for cotton, Rs 4,270/hectare (10%) for paddy, and Rs 19,360/hectare (8%) for sugarcane.

The project also provides micro-entrepreneurship opportunities to approximately 150 women from Self-Help Groups through the Spent Malt programme. These women collect malt from the SABMiller India local brewery (Charminar Brewery) and circulate it to farmers in the villages to feed to milch animals. It has been a win-win project since the farmers benefit from significant increase in milk production from 1 liter per day to 3-5 liters per day, while Self-Help Groups have made a total profit of Rs 1,20,000 (US$ 2,213) over one year.

Mr Dinakar Babu, Collector, Medak District led the felicitation ceremony to acknowledge progressive farmers from the villages during the field visit to the project sites.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Ajit Jha, Director, Corporate Affairs and Communications, SABMiller India said, “We are working towards creating an increasingly holistic approach to water stewardship. In addition to our ongoing efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle water within our own breweries, we are working to drive performance improvement in water efficiency, enhance focus on water availability assessment, and support collaborative resource management initiatives in Andhra Pradesh along with States like Rajasthan and Haryana.”

Remarking at the event, Dr Suhas P Wani, Assistant Director, Research Program – Resilient Dryland Systems, ICRISAT said, “The results achieved over the last 3 years since the initiative was introduced and the response of the farming community in the watershed have been very encouraging. Crop yields have increased by 10 to 35%, and income generating activities have contributed Rs 25 lakh (US$ 46,109) to the net income of 50 families with animals. Such projects demonstrate the importance of partnerships, such as that of SABMiller India and ICRISAT, in managing water efficiently, benefiting farmers through inclusive market-oriented development (IMOD), and improving their livelihoods in the process.”

According to farmer Mallesh from village Fasalvadi, “My association with SABMiller India and ICRISAT has been very beneficial. It has helped me obtain better crop yield and earn more by using Integrated Genetic and Natural Resource Management techniques. It has also educated us on how to use water more efficiently”.

SABMiller India is also part of the Water4Crops initiative in which the Indian consortium led by ICRISAT will explore the use of treated wastewater to increase agricultural productivity and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in India.  As co-participants of the Water Futures Partnership, along with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and GIZ (German Agency for International Cooperation), SABMiller is also working towards creating mechanisms for companies to engage in local collective action to help address shared water risks facing businesses, communities and ecosystems. 


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