Lupin Foundation Sustainable Farm Bond intervention is creating livelihood opportunities

Palghar is a newly formed district in Maharashtra heavily polarized by urban planning and development. While the urbanized district thrives, its rural counterpart has been downtrodden by developmental problems of poverty, malnourishment and water scarcity. While Palghar predominantly lies in the heavy rainfall region, a portion of the region receives scanty rainfall and continues to face a severe water crunch post-monsoon. Paddy is only crop cultivated in the region and most of the rural population has taken to seasonal migration post Kharif season, a consequence of the water shortage. Additionally, the undulating lands and rocky terrains of the region render dug wells obsolete and the water percolated from the rain goes un-stored due to an absence of water storage structures. Thus, the problem social organizations and the agricultural community collectively grappled with was that of creating sustainable modes of production and livelihood and finding reliable modes of natural resource management. The 'Lupin Human Welfare & Research Foundation' a pharmaceutical-based organization that at the time was already actively working in the Dahanu Block, came to the rescue. The LHWRF team had observed the recurrent migration patterns of the community during their SHG related projects and collaborated with NABARD and the community to develop a farm pond intervention program to increase the annual income of tribal farmers.

Lupin Limited, India is a transnational Pharmaceutical Company that has a strong onshore and offshore presence with its products available across 70 countries. The company is consolidating and growing in all its chosen markets on the strength of its technology base and seamless execution. Driven by their founding father Shri DeshBandhu Gupta's philosophy of 'repaying your motherland and it's people', the company extends its expertise to transform the lives of people and make a difference to society. In line with this sense of social responsibility. Chairman Gupta set up the Lupin Human Welfare & Research Foundation in 1988 intending to provide an alternative model of rural development that is sustainable, replicable and ever-evolving.

Lupin Foundation, Tarapur with support from NABARD curated an experimental but innovative idea to harvest rainwater into the farm ponds to create an assured source of irrigation for farmers to reduce seasonal migration. Additionally, the program would also introduce fishery as a supplementary income generation activity and convert a single rainfed cropping system to a double cropping system. The farms would cultivate a second crop on 0.5 acres of land with the assistance of water storage in the farm pond and drip irrigation system. Additionally, it was also decided upon to introduce fishery enterprises into these farm ponds. The fishery enterprise would be carried out for a period of six months- from July to December while the vegetable cultivation would be done after December so that water from farm pond can be used for irrigating the vegetables. Lupin would ensure that good quality fish fingerlings were introduced into the ponds and these fishes would later be sold into the market after six months. The first step in implementation was to generate awareness and mobilize the community. Village and hamlet level meetings were arranged in the project area to educate and incentivize the farmers about the farm pond project. 20 Tribal Families from Dhaniwari, Deur, Deu, Ranshet, and Nikane within the Dahanu Block were selected as beneficiaries based on interest in fish rearing, high-value vegetable cultivation and ability to pay required community contribution. All the participant farmers were rigorously trained on fishery training and POPs of high-value vegetable cultivation by the Lupin staff. Since the project is a collaborative venture between Lupin Foundation, NABARD and the tribal community, the finances were split between organization funds and community contribution. The total cost of the project was around 26 lakhs with LHWRF contributing 11.12 lakhs, NABARD pitching in 9.86 lakh, and a community contribution of 5.27 lakhs. Then the ponds were constructed and the project took off.

Creating livelihood via fishering

Mr. SantyaZipar Handa, a resident of Dhaniwari village was a proud participant in the intervention. Before his involvement in the project, he derived his income solely from paddy cultivation, receiving 35 to 40 thousand rupees in earnings. He made his contribution towards setting up the farm pond, lining paper, electric motor, and drip irrigation system and had his setup ready in time for the onset of the rainfall season. As promised, the farm pond was filled with harvested rainwater and 2000 fish seeds were introduced in the farm pond. After the Kharif season, Mr. Handa began double-cropping cultivation, planting Chilis and Brinjals in 0.25 to 0.30 acre of his land near the farm pond. He was able to cultivate 1500 Kg of vegetable crop averaging 20 Rs per kg. The total cost of the vegetable production was around Rs. 10000 thus giving him a net profit of Rs. 20000. The fish seeds in the farm pond achieved their desired growth in 7 to 8 months weighing 1 kg to 1.25 kg per unit and Mr. Handa was able to take 700 Kg of Fish production and make a net profit of 50000. Thus, under the intervention, Mr. Handa had been successful in doubling his profits making a net profit of Rs 70000 from vegetable cultivation and fish rearing. His average annual income increased by INR 100000.

 Mr. SantyaZipar Handa's success story is a testament to the strength and sustainability of the program. This brainchild initiative of the Lupin Foundation and NABARD was piloted for 20 individual beneficiaries and created a water storage capacity of 9.5 Lakh liters, thereby enabling the second crop cultivation and doubling the cropping intensity. The average annual income of the cohort per family increased by INR. 60,000 -1,00,000 and the migration patterns among these families significantly reduced. The quality of the project is maintained through a meticulous monitoring mechanism. A Central support office team is responsible for regular field monitoring, while external monitoring is also done by NABARD representatives to pre-post the intervention.

The project has proven to be promising, paving the way for further scope and expansion. The model can also be replicated in high rainfall and low evaporation level areas, and can also be suitably modified to suit local conditions. This farm pond intervention is unique in its methodology – by combining a sustainable model of irrigation and production with community collective action, Lupin foundations have ensured the continued implementation of the program even after withdrawal from the project area. Lupin Foundation's innovative initiative has highlighted the need for more programs that encourage community participation and ownership – so that rural communities become artisans of their futures.

If the story resonates with you, please share

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 Our Team will get back to you after validating the information for a detailed coverage.


Faiza Ruksar Arif

Faiza Ruksar Arif is a content specialist and researcher based in Bangalore who has worked extensively on curating curriculum and educational programs for adolescents in Telangana. With a Master’s degree in Gender Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Faiza is on a mission to improve social realities by equipping women and other marginalized sections, with improved access to health, education and livelihood opportunities. She also dabbles in artwork and is passionate about issues pertaining to mental health and minority politics.