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. Integrating these farmers in the agricultural value chain and improving the livelihood of their families and communities was the goal of the collaboration between CINI (Collectives of Integrated Livelihood Initiatives) and BASF Vegetable Seeds India.

Farming Stories project: From Smallholders to Agricultural Entrepreneurs


Although the village of Harichandanpur is connected to some of the largest vegetable markets in the state of Odisha, farming has never stood out as a viable business opportunity for its people. This is based on a variety of limiting factors: lack of exposure to the market, lack of access to market information, and lack of high-quality agricultural inputs and advanced agricultural practices. These circumstances needed to change in order for the farmers of Harichandanpur to benefit of their prime location and become sustainable commercial growers: true agricultural entrepreneurs. To make the improvements sustainable and irreversible, what was needed was nothing less than a transformation of the entire agro-ecosystem.


In collaboration with CINI, a nodal agency of Tata Trusts, BASF Vegetable Seeds India initiated a project that aimed to double farmers income with sustainable farming practices. 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, making crop inputs like high quality vegetable seeds more available and developing accessible sales channels. An important factor in making farming practices as sustainable as possible was the introduction of modern agricultural technology such as climate resilient systems with renewable energy, efficient irrigation models and digital application services. A vital focus of the project was giving women the decision-making power and control over farm income, thereby enabling them to identity as agricultural entrepreneurs as well.



smallholders adopted commercial vegetable cultivation



smallholders participating in drip-based precision farming


farmers doubled their income


% monthly reduction of farmer investment due to solar irrigation



farmers educated through digital platforms


% return on Investment for sampled farmers


% more area cultivated with vegetable crops with the same quantity of water


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



Schools covered


Students reached


Channel partners reached



Sprayers trained


Farmers 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.