Rabobank, WWF India and EID Parry tie-up for sustainable sugar production
PUNE: Rabobank and WWF India have launched a partnership with a major Indian sugar producer – EID ParryBSE -2.40 %, to introduce the Decision Support Tool, a data interpretation tool that enables sugar mill managers to practice more sustainable sugar production. The partnership aims to demonstrate sugar production characterised by better water management, more responsible water consumption, a reduced impact on the surrounding ecosystems, lower CO2 emissions and better re-use of residual products which will not only protect the environment but also provide better economic returns.
The announcement follows a three-year pilot project held at EID Parry’s select facilities in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, which provided for the assessment and testing in conditions with differing rainfall patterns, irrigation sources and natural water resources.
The Decision Support Tool can be used in any geo-hydrological area with certain modifications required for it to be suitable in areas dissimilar to those where the testing has been carried out. The easy-to-use tool makes data interpretation manageable for farmers. The intent is to empower the mill manager to make informed decisions about water use based on data analytics.
Going forward, the plan is to encourage use of this tool to influence the water management practices of the sugar industry, and also to internalise it in the day-to-day decision making of EID Parry. To that effect, the feasibility of converting the tool into a mobile application is being explored for easy accessibility by the management at EID Parry to reduce water risks.
Arindom Datta, Asia Head of Sustainability at Rabobank said of the project, “This collaborative project aims at addressing one of the important sustainability issues for a key crop in India. In line with Rabobank’s ambition to make food and agri chains more sustainable, we are excited to partake in upscaling the DST to make a significant impact on water usage in the sugarcane growing areas.”
“The Decision Support Tool is a tool to navigate water related risks and help decision makers take action by optimising water use. Farmers will be able to plan mitigation actions to address current and future water related risk by rationing the water use in the mill catchment area. This would also help to reduce impacts from over withdrawal of water on the ecosystem,” commented Murli Dhar Director, Sustainable Agriculture Program at WWF India.
According to Sankara Raghu, Head of Research and Development of EID Parry, “Having completed these studies in two of our Mills in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, we are taking this to the next level of implementation.”
Similar projects to improve sustainability in agriculture have been undertaken by Rabobank in partnership with WWF in Chile (for salmon farming) as well as in Brazil (combating deforestation through crop-rotation). The projects are inspired by the Sustainable Development Goal #17 which deals with revitalising the global partnership for sustainable development.