The Government of Maharashtra has launched an ambitious project—State of Maharashtra Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (SMART)—in 10,000 villages within the next three years with an aim to achieve sustainable farming.
The project will cover almost one-fourth of Maharashtra. The State has around 40,000 villages. The focus is clearly on villages that are reeling under the worst agriculture crisis compounded by lack of infrastructure and assured value chains to channelize the farm produce.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis launched the project, which was followed by signing of 50 MoUs between big corporates and farmers producer groups. SMART will be assisted by the World Bank. Amongst the corporate houses that have pledged support include Reliance Retail, Amazon, Walmart, Mahindra Agro, PepsiCo, Tata Rallis, Big Basket, Patanjali, Tata Chemical, Happy Roots, Mera Kisan, Way Cool and others.
The project is to create and support the value chains in post-harvest segments of agriculture, facilitate agribusiness investment, stimulate SMEs within the value chain, support resilient agriculture production systems, expand access to new and organized markets for producers and enhance private sector participation in the agribusiness.
The project, which will be implemented in 10,000 villages, was shortlisted by the State Government based on multiple parameters of socio-economic backwardness in terms of development and growth.