Armstrong have piloted a programme to invest its social bond to improve the agricultural yields and incomes for farmers in India. Our ambition has been to increase the yield of farmers by 50% through the installation of solar-powered drip irrigation systems and improved agronomy.
We are delighted to say that we have beaten that target significantly. In the first phase of the roll-out of over 100 systems we have improved farmers yields from an average of 27 tonnes per acre to 50 tonnes per acre. This represents an increase in the gross income of the farmers of 85%.
When considered on a net income basis the impact is even greater:
– By changing farming techniques and persuading the farmers to increase the gap between the rows of sugar cane, we are actually reducing the cost of their seed by circa 38%.
– by providing support in how to use fertilisers, we have reduced the fertiliser cost by 50%
Our analysis shows that, on a net basis, these farmers have earned circa Rs 71,375 (£830) per acre, compared with Rs 16,750 (£195) per acre that they were previously earning. This represents an increase in their net incomes of 326%. Given that these increases in yield are being driven by improved farming techniques rather than through increased use of fertilisers, we believe that these benefits can be delivered over the long-term, rather than just once.
In summary, our tests indicate that our social programme is delivering, and exceeding the objectives that we set out for it and we look forward to expanding this path-finding project to deliver social and economic change to some of the poorest farmers in the world.
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