Private-Public partnership model to improve the livelihoods of the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP)

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

CII – ICRISAT & Coca-Cola Foundation Collaboration for Backward Areas Development through Strategic Intervention in Watershed Development The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Coca-Cola Foundation will collaborate for sustainable and equitable management of Rural Water Resources Infrastructure and other Natural Resources Management (NRM) through “watershed+” interventions in Dungarpur district in Rajasthan and Thirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu.

The objective of the collaboration is to improve the livelihood of poor and marginal farmers in the project villages. Further, this is also to evolve a strategy for rapid up scaling in the region such that optimum scales required for translating development interventions in to significant enhancements of land & water use productivity, agri production and rural incomes are achieved. This will be through plugging gaps in soil and water conservation projects, creating water access for poorly endowed families and efficient use of rainwater for improved agricultural practices. The farmers’ income will be further enhanced through diversification into high-value water efficient crops.

The collaboration is expected to lead to a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between ICRISAT and CII, which will provide a framework for cooperation on NRM and related activities in rainfed areas. ICRISAT and CII will undertake action-research on rainfed agriculture, conjunctive use of water resource and development of policy and institutions for sustainable & equitable management of water and other natural resources. Training and capacity building of target communities will be an important part of this project.

Within the framework of the MoA the Coca-Cola Foundation’s financial support will be used to implement “watershed+” interventions in Dungarpur and Thirunelveli districts. The Coca-Cola Foundation — supported by the Company and its bottling partners – works around the world to improve the quality of life in their communities.

According to Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT, the collaboration with CII and the Coca Cola Foundation will strengthen the institute’s partnership with the private sector to help the farmers in the drylands of India. This collaboration will add to ICRISAT’s public-private partnerships, which include collaboration on watershed development with the Sir Dorabjee Tata Trust and the TVS Agricultural Science Research Institute.”

According to Mr. S. Sen, Dy. Director General, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), “The CII slogan for the year 2005-06 was ’Inclusive growth’ and a number of initiatives have been taken by CII in the Private-Public partnership model to improve the livelihoods of the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP). CII believes that a third category of partners i.e., knowledge partner is required to provide science and technology inputs. This project being presented here is a first step in this direction.” These projects have evolved through CII initiative and it will be facilitating the smooth execution of these projects. CII appreciates the efforts of Coca-Cola India to help forge this linkage between Coca-Cola Foundation and ICRISAT.

According to Mr. Deepak Jolly, Vice-President, Public Affairs & Communication, Coca-Cola India, “A rapidly growing population, increasing food requirements and improved lifestyles along with industrial development in the country has resulted in competing demand for finite water resources. To achieve food and fodder security and to tackle the water scarcity problem in the country demands efficient use of rainwater and an overall water management plan. We are happy that our Foundation is supporting two such initiatives where ICRISAT in partnership with CII will be undertaking watershed development projects in Dungarpur and Thirunelveli.”

The one-year project will have a project outlay of US$ 140,000 entirely supported by the Coca-Cola Foundation. ICRISAT has a long-standing experience in watershed development research. In addition to several watershed projects in the India, the institute has implemented projects in Thailand, Vietnam, China, and Ethiopia. These projects are implemented in partnership with the national agricultural research systems, the private sector, NGOs, and farmers.

In ICRISAT’s integrated genetic and natural resources management programme, the aim is to use participatory research and development to build the capacities of the farmers and community-based organizations to manage their resources efficiently and sustainably. The immediate result of integrated watershed management is enhanced water availability (both groundwater and surface water) for drinking and agricultural purposes. ICRISAT leverages its strength in quality research to help the poor by building their capacity to help themselves.

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