Farmer Jayesh Bhai Jaman Bhai Bhakkad, 41, has spent more than half his life in his fields. Depending on the season in Thanapipli, Jungadh, Gujarat state in Western India, he grows what the market demands — from cotton and vegetables to peanuts — according to traditional methods.
After a much smaller peanut harvest (and income) last year, he discovered a fungus was attacking his crops. To help battle the invader, he found training programs, attended classes at a local university and spent 6,000 rupees ($86) on pesticides. Despite the farmer’s efforts to combat the fungus, his plants continued to wilt.
"I have been growing peanuts for last 24 years and all of a sudden my peanut plants turned yellow,” he said. “And scientists from the nearby agricultural university could not solve my problem."
While India is the world’s second-largest producer of peanuts, farmers face significant challenges that hinder production. These include low yields, limited extension support that offers resources and training, and lack of quality control measures to fight aflatoxins, which are produced by certain fungi and are a critical food safety concern.
This is why Mars is committed to meaningfully improve the lives of 1 million people across our value chain to enable them to thrive. It’s a cornerstone of our Sustainable in a Generation Plan, and we’re engaging a network of partners to drive meaningful change. Tanager, an international nonprofit, works with us to create economic and social opportunities that increase smallholder farmers’ incomes and change lives for people like Bhakkad.
We invest in local initiatives that provide a direct impact, like Mangal Moongfali, our farming and training program we launched in partnership with Tanager in 2018.
When Bhakkad joined Mangal Moongfali, he learned from the experts how to incorporate better agricultural practices, reduce water usage and implement key techniques to combat aflatoxins. During one session, he learned that a cost-effective micronutrient spray could help his peanut plants recover. The farmer used the treatment and almost overnight the plants returned to their natural state. The program sowed immediate results and saved his harvest.
Local farmers want to know the best way to protect their crops, but technical knowledge and smart solutions are not always available. The Mangal Moongfali Peanut Farmer Program delivers the expertise farmers need and ultimately helps to increase their incomes. And on-the-ground resources reap the rewards. In its first year, the Mangal Moongfali program trained more than 900 peanut farmers and helped increase crop yield by 28.5% on farmer demonstration plots. Our partnership proves that the action we take today makes a direct impact on farmers’ livelihoods — helping those we need in our supply chain thrive.