US-based biotech major Monsanto plans to spend Rs six crore on developing sustainable yields in cotton and maize in the country, a top company official said.
"We have allotted Rs six crore on the project 'Sustainable Harvest, Agriculture, Research, Environment' (SHARE) to make cotton and corn farming sustainable in three states -- Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan," Monsanto India Region Lead Sekhar Natarajan told PTI.
Natarajan said the project would roll out in September this year and would continue for four years.
Monsanto, which will execute the project SHARE jointly with a Delhi-based NGO Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals (ISAP), plans to identify 10,000 small and marginal cotton and corn farmers who are facing low yields and unexposed to new farm technology, he said.
According to experts, the population of India will touch 1.3 billion by 2017 and may face shortage of 14 million tonnes of foodgrain. Sustainable agriculture is the only solution to meet the growing demand of food in future.
Sustainable agriculture refers to the ability of a farm to produce food indefinitely, without causing severe or irreversible damage to ecosystem health, they said.
The Project SHARE will create awareness about the sustainable farming by establishing a cluster group of 25 farmers in three states, according to ISAP, which will work with farmers in fields during the project period.
"Our aim is to convince them through demo-units that quality seeds, agri-inputs and best agronomic practices are important for crop productivity," ISAP said, adding that farmers will also be facilitated to identify good seeds, finance to buy farm inputs and also market the crop.
"Monsanto and ISAP will collaborate with different organisations and experts to offer the best services to enhance crop productivity and make farming sustainable," Monsanto said.
A sustainable yield initiative to improve the lives of farmers in India is part of Monsanto's global three-point commitment to help increase global food production in the face of growing demand, limited natural resources and a changing climate.