I4DI Partners with Gates Foundation and Farmer Income Lab on Transformative Shubh Mint Project in India

I4DI is thrilled to announce our new collaborative venture with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as an expansion of our partnership with Mars Inc. on the Farmer Income Lab. This project will help impoverished smallholder households reach a livable income through alignment between government priorities and private-sector interests to serve smallholder farmers and agribusiness SMEs in a gender equitable way.

Through this initiative, I4DI will provide focused MLE support to the Shubh Mint project in Uttar Pradesh, India. This initiative is a pivotal step towards transforming procurement practices and integrating smallholder farmers into inclusive and economically viable supply chains, marking a significant leap towards equity for the region’s agricultural community.

 

The Importance of This Initiative & Our Strategy

In Uttar Pradesh, smallholder farmers, particularly those within the mint supply chains, face substantial challenges in accessing state and national markets. Despite numerous support initiatives, many still struggle to achieve satisfactory returns on their investments.

Addressing these challenges, the Farmer Income Lab Lighthouse Program stands out as a key strategic effort. It focuses on several critical aspects necessary for transforming the agri-food sector, including engaging the private sector, offering educational and training opportunities, implementing robust evaluation strategies, utilizing technology and analytics, and fostering collaboration.

The initiative is designed to establish a comprehensive monitoring, learning, and evaluation framework, drawing on insights from the Farmer Income Lab initiatives in Uttar Pradesh. A key component of this project is the development of an Inclusive Value Chains Toolkit, which will provide companies with practical resources for implementing inclusive procurement strategies. The overarching aim of the grant is to induce systemic change in the supply chain landscape of Uttar Pradesh, ensuring that inclusivity is integral at every stage of the business process. This effort includes integrating the toolkit into the government’s digital platform, thereby enhancing accessibility and impact across the region.

The Shubh Mint program is an excellent platform to apply these learnings and insights. It leverages the significance of the mint value chain for Mars in India, and aims to enhance the livelihoods of mint farmers. Importantly, the insights gained have the potential to benefit other agricultural sectors, including those of potatoes, mustard oil, and rice.

 

Our Methodology and Approach

Drawing from the project’s comprehensive learning agenda, I4DI will employ its expertise in Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluation (MLE) to guide adaptive management, champion gender equality, and regularly reassess the initiative’s strategies. Furthermore, I4DI is committed to integrating annual learning events into the project’s lifecycle. These events will bring together a diverse range of stakeholders, ensuring that the project remains responsive, adaptable, and continually refined.

 

Looking Forward

This initiative is a gateway to comprehensive learning and knowledge sharing. As the program evolves, the insights and best practices gleaned will be shared with a wider audience in the industry, locally and internationally. This dissemination of knowledge is set to influence procurement practices further and integrate smallholder farmers into inclusive, economically sustainable supply chains, creating a more equitable future for the small-scale farming communities.