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Neem project: GNFC giving wings to the vision of PM Narendra Modi

By auther pic. Namit Hans

March 22, 2018

Neem project: GNFC giving wings to the vision of PM Narendra Modi

Picture Credit: GNFC

After coming to power in 2014, one of the most defining achievements recounted by PM Narendra Modi has been the neem coating of 100 percent urea to avoid misuse of the commodity. On many occasions, the Prime Minister has lauded the initiative and its impact on the farmers.

 

Taking this a step further, Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GNFC), Government of Gujarat, decided to collect or buy neem seeds from the marginalized communities, especially women, so as to give them an opportunity to earn profits in a bid to empower them financially and socially.

Under the backward integration model, as it is known, GNFC involved the rural poor in collection of neem seeds. Village Level Collection Centres (VLCC) are established in several areas where these neem seed collectors can go and sell their seeds for cash which is given to them within 7 days.

The seeds are then sent to service provider partners and from there it is finally delivered to neem oil extraction unit of GNFC. The project is currently being implemented in six states - namely Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.

In 53 districts of these six states, the project could directly impact the lives of 2.25 lakh women and landless labourers in a period of two years after its inception in February 2015.

 

Neem ProjectThe objectives of the project, as defined by GNFC, are:

  • To prevent the misuse of urea and to reduce its consumption.
  • To supplement the income of rural poor, especially women.
  • To promote Neem cake as organic fertilizer for the larger interest of farmers and increase its availability to avert adverse environmental impact.
  • To strengthen Village Level Societies, Milk cooperatives, SakhiMandals, PaniSamitis (Water committees) etc. to act as collection centres of neem seeds and provide livelihoods to the rural people.
  • To plant one million neem trees over next 4-5 years and create awareness about the environmental protection.
  • To encourage people to protect and nourish neem trees.
  • To ensure that the reach of GNFC’s project is far-fetched, it works extensively to integrate the farmers and spread awareness among them by partnering with District Rural Development Authority, Dairy Cooperatives, ATMA, and Mission Mangalam – GLPC (Gujarat Livelihood Promotion Company).

    The company has so far organized over 500 events, including awareness campaigns, to bring more and more farmers in the fold. The success of backward integration model by GNFC paved way for implementation of forward integration model too.

    From 2015-17, it had collected over 22,000 MT of Neem Seeds from the marginalized communities who earned about Rs 25 crore from the sale of the seeds. In the first year of its operations, ie 2015, GNFC produced 800 MT neem oil and 6,700 MT neem cake which is distributed among the farmers to encourage organic farming.

    To measure the impact of the project, an External Impact Assessment was carried out by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the findings were only encouraging for GNFC. As per the report, there was an increase of 35 per cent in annual wages of rural women.

    Further, GNFC has planned a bi-annual impact assessment by the UNDP to keep a track of its project’s impact and to ensure that the accountability is maintained throughout. The financial development of these rural women has also led to some other visible changes like a reduction in domestic violence in rural households and migration of people in search of work.

     

    Neem Project

    GNFC looks forward to engage deeply with the communities it is already working with and also to expand to more areas. The estimates suggest that there is a requirement of about 4,00,000 MT neem seeds to fulfil the need of 100% neem coating of urea consumed all over the country annually.

    This number suggests that there is a large potential for GNFC to expand its work and procure seeds from more communities across the country, empowering them in this process. As a positive step, based on the recommendations of the company, Ministry of Fertilizer in Government of India also issued direction to all the fertilizer companies to procure neem oil only from genuine producers.

    “GNFC has also successfully advocated with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fertilizer to standardise Neem oil specifications in gazette/ fertilizer control order. The Ministry of Agriculture has recently announced these standards based on GNFCs recommendations and representations in the gazette notification dated February 6, 2017,” the company states.

    This support from the government and also the popularity of the project among landless labourers, rural women and farmers restores everyone’s faith in its viability and GNFC looks forward to live upto these expectations adding new dimension to the vision of PM Narendra Modi.

     

     


    Impact-Story is a series on development and CSR interventions leading to some impacts on the ground. If you have a project, innovation or intervention that has changed the lives of a few people or a community, please share a brief note at csr@ngobox.org. Our Team will get back to you after validating the information for a detailed coverage. 

    Also Read: SNEH project: Moody’s efforts to eradicate malnutrition in children

    Author

    Namit is a writer, editor and educator. He has worked as a journalist in prominent newsrooms in India and has also been a Gandhi Fellow. Currently, he works as a freelancer

     

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