Farming Stories project: From Smallholders to Agricultural Entrepreneurs

From Smallholders to Agricultural Entrepreneurs

Of India’s rural households, 70% depend primarily on agriculture for their livelihood, with the vast majority being small subsistence farmers, like the tribal smallholders in Harichandanpur. In 2018, CINI (Collectives of Integrated Livelihood Initiatives), a nodal agency of Tata Trusts, and BASF Vegetable Seeds India initiated a project to better integrate these smallholders in the agricultural value chain. This effort helped them improve their income, transition to true agricultural entrepreneurship and better the livelihoods of their families and communities in a “climate smart” manner.

In 2022, CINI and Vegetable Seeds furthered their collaboration by focusing on further improving these communities’ climate resilience. Our vision is to support them in becoming more resilient in the face of volatile weather conditions due to climate change.

Farming Stories project: From Smallholders to Agricultural Entrepreneurs


A climate smart farming approach can enable farmers to withstand the effects of drought, heat stress and other adverse events to maintain high, high-quality, and stable yields. The idea is to “find answers together” and to create an irreversible impact for meeting the aspirations of the smallholders along with managing climate resilience aspects, such as soil and water management with awareness of the increased pressure on soils.


Vegetable Seeds and CINI addressed around 2000 small landholders in the remote pockets of Mayurbhanj district of Orissa, aiming to further promote sustainable farming practices and innovation. In a true spirit of partnership and dialogue with the farmers, the project focused on training agricultural service providers and first-generation farmers to be agri-entrepreneurs in their village. We continued improving the availability of crop inputs such as high-quality vegetable seeds, transferring know-how on innovative growing practices, and developing accessible sales channels. Moreover, the project has begun to introduce and demonstrate modern agricultural technology such as renewable energy installations, more efficient irrigation models and digital services. Another vital focus of the project was to give women decision-making power and control over farm income, thereby enabling them to identify as agricultural entrepreneurs as well.

The next step will be to further refine the climate smart agriculture approach with a focus on improving soil health, replacing fuel-based irrigation system (thereby reducing emissions and irrigation costs) and improving water use efficiency through drip irrigation.



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farmers educated through digital platforms


smallholders adopted commercial vegetable cultivation



smallholders with irrigation access, of which 608 covered with drip irrigation, of which 550 solar irrigation units


reduction in water use demonstrated through drip irrigation



high-tech vegetable nurseries




lakh seedlings distributed per year




of farmers covered doubled their income

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with farm decision making


Increased Spending
on education and health


SDG 1 – No Poverty

Project allowed transformational changes in the lives of unprivileged section of society, mainly through increased income levels and systems for irreversible impact.

SDG 2 – No Hunger

Access to affordable vegetable seeds for increased local production and healthy diets.

SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth

Higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation for the farmers involved.

SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals

Partnership with Sustain Plus (solar system), IBISA (Crop Insurance) Netafim (Drip Irrigation), CEV Haryana and KAU (Hi-tech Nursery), Iamkisan (Digital Connect), DMF, OLM, Horticulture dept, District Admin (Kheonjar, Odisha).

Farming Stories project: Suraksha Hamesha

Suraksha Hamesha

Suraksha Hamesha means “Safety at all Times” in Hindi. The premise of this Indian campaign is simple but powerful, as it is designed to train farmers and crop protection applicators on the responsible and safe use of crop protection products, focusing on measures they can take to minimize risk. The Suraksha Hamesha program was honored with the 2018 Agrow Award for Best Stewardship Program.

Farming Stories project: Suraksha Hamesha


Agriculture contributes almost one fifth of India’s GDP and is the largest employer with two thirds of the population directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture. Sustainable farming and farmer safety is of paramount importance, and BASF is committed to making sure that crop protection products are used safely and responsibly.


All across India, BASF collaborates with local governments to offer farmers hands-on training and demonstrations on safe and responsible mixing, spraying and storing of crop protection products. Farmers are educated on the nine steps of responsible use of crop protection products and personal protection measures. Along with the training, BASF offers the Sanrakshan Kit, an affordable, high quality set of certified personal protective equipment. Through this initiative, BASF is promoting the responsible and ethical management of crop protection products throughout the entire lifecycle.



Agriculture dept. officials participated

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Women farmers trained


Students reached


Farmers trained


Channel partners reached



Spray operators trained


SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-Being

Promoting farmer safety and well-being across rural India.

SDG 4 – Quality Education

Educating young people and offering training in schools across the country.

SDG 5 – Gender Equality

Reaching 7480 women farmers.

SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals

BASF partnered with the Department of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare.