Location: Bangalore, India
Small farmers around the world struggle to make a living off of their crops. They face uncertainty and risk due to rainfall shortages, crop failures, and fluctuating prices for their produce. In addition, they lack the capital and land to reach economies of scale, which tends to trap them in poverty. With a growing market for biofuels, VayuGrid saw an opportunity to improve farmer’s incomes and create a profitable business.
VayuGrid is a network connecting farmers to each other, to the biofuels market, and to resources such as training and insurance. VayuGrid contracts with farmers to grow oilseeds on portions of their land, and earns commission from suppliers it connects with its network. Bringing the farmers together also allows them to benefit from volume discounts on things like insurance, seeds, and farming equipment. In addition, the new crops are not displacing food crops, as they are being planted on pieces of land that were previously considered unfit for cultivation. Planting oilseeds and using modern farming techniques increases farmers output and generates new sources of income to increase their welfare.
VayuGrid is also committed to “economies of scope,” which means making use of all the products created across the crop cycle. From selling agricultural waste that can be used as biofuel, to extracting silk from the weeds that grow alongside these crops, nothing goes to waste. Vayugrid is working in Africa, Asia and the Middle East to create sustainable supply chains for biofuels, with inclusive growth for rural areas. They have an ambitious plan for growth, and set the goal in 2011 to expand from 15,000 acres to 500,000 over the next five years and then to two million by the eighth year. Could this type of supply network be the answer to providing small farmers the resources and financial security they need?
Environmental impact: Sustainable agriculture & avoided use of fossil fuels, including avoided emission of GHGs and harmful substances
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