By Meghana K
This is about the Neem Project of Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers & Chemicals Ltd. (GNFC), a leading PSU which is leveraging Neem edge in the country.
So what is the highlight?
Smt. Bhanu is a rural woman who wants to contribute to her family and the community around her. Now she has become a strong support for her family. Thanks to GNFC, as she joined Neem project 2 years back. During Neem season, daily morning Bhanu and her husband, gather all women seed collectors in the village and take them on their Tempo to nearby forest to collect the Neem seeds. She drops few women seed collectors near every Neem tree. By the end of the day, on returning home, she picks all the women seed collectors along with their collection and drop them back home safe, free of cost. For once, we are reminded of a school bus which picks and drops children safely. Isn’t it?
This thoughtful and responsible action by a rural woman, who has just studied her primary schooling, is to be applauded. Well, the effect of each small action leads to extraordinary results. Do you agree? She passionately speaks about her experience with the Project. Being part of it from past three years, it has visibly increased her earnings and savings and so as for many others in the village.
Bhanuben gifted a mobile handset to her son, financed daughter-in-law’s education, bought jewelries for self- all through Neem seed collection savings. Relatives from far off places come and stay with Bhanu during Neem season to be part of this Project. Guess what? To make headway, the family wants to purchase more tempos so that they can take more number of seed collectors in order to collect more seeds. Bravo!
The Neem Project
Being the flagship CSR Project of GNFC, Neem Project has paved a way for social transformation by providing a platform to many rural women to exhibit their leadership and entrepreneurship skills. Here is one instance of rural poor women in Devakarnna Muvada a small village, near Gandhinagar in Gujarat. Similarly, the Neem project has unfolded a new lease of lives to plenty of rural women across the state. The vital factor for sustainability of the project here is that the objectives are environment-friendly and is consistent with beneficiaries needs. With innovative neem-based products and exclusive Neem Complex, GNFC is reviving the lost culture of using Neem in daily life and is adding to the love of Desi products as well.
Wow, how exactly are the results then?
After the enormous success in the first two years of launch, the third year of the Neem Project continues with a whopping result.
Who designed this project?
Many leaders are competent, but few qualify as remarkable.
Dr. Rajiv Kumar Gupta – Leadership and vision
To carry forward the vision of our Prime Minister of 100% neem oil coating of urea, The Neem Project was conceptualized and designed by Dr. Rajiv Kumar Gupta, IAS, who belongs to Uttar Pradesh, India.
Being a TED speaker, he is an IAS officer from 1986 batch and a Gold Medalist and holds a Doctorate in International Law. He holds several specialized courses from foreign universities. With vast national and international professional experience, he has held various key positions in Government of Gujarat.
Currently as MD in GNFC, he is applauded for significant contributions in raising the stakes and profit numbers. It is the hard work, grit, and vision of this man for which he was awarded Skoch Blue Economy Person of the Year, 2016.
He dreams to drive this project into Neem Revolution in the country. Due to his shrewd decision making and guidance, this Project has bagged several prestigious awards for outstanding results in CSR, Shared Value Creation, and Sustainability arena. Passion is contagious! The Neem team members acknowledge the efforts of their leader and are committed and enthusiastic to capitalize on their strengths to see the improved outcomes year after year.
Spirit of Neem in GNFC
The highly sophisticated, with state of the art facilities, GNFC in Gujarat, gleams with all Neem products on display and with the photographs of awards, trophies won across the country. This project has boosted employee satisfaction and they claim a wonderful experience in the Neem project. It’s enthralling to see the joy of Neem team members, competing in Neem seed collection, from their respective village blocks to call themselves Neem Ratna of the year.
What about the glitches?
There is a constant inquiry from general public and police about women traveling in groups for seed collection in villages. For this company has provided them ID cards for the seed collectors. This is a good sign to educate public with Neem related activities. But again heavy rains amount to less seed collection. And this should encourage the discovery of different techniques to Neem seed collection, and its cost effective processing techniques in the country.
Study says 60% of the world’s Neem tree is found in India. Neem oil is exported to Srilanka, Europe, United States of America, South Africa, New Zealand, Maldives, Netherlands, Oman etc.1 Another study by the agriculture ministry in four states found- there was an increase in farmers’ returns due to rise in crop yields and reduction in the cost of production due to lower consumption of urea implying that Neem-coated urea is showing positive results.
The study by Agricultural Development and Rural Transformation Centre, Bengaluru, found that use of Neem-coated urea improved soil health, higher crops, reduced costs, decreased pest/disease attack2. Global neem extract market finds wide application in industries such as pharmaceuticals, Ayurveda-Unani treatments, agriculture, bio pesticides, fertilizers, health & personal care, nutraceuticals, animal products such as animal feed, pet care etc.5 This implies that the Neem Project has wide scope in future days to come.
Lots of discussions around as to how CSR is to be spent, should it be 2% or more or less than that to create high impact, why some are not doing CSR, whether it’s a philanthropic activity or business inclusive social model.
Ultimately, along with profit making, any business which assumes responsibility to cater to the societal needs, protects, nourishes and cherishes environment, is widely accepted, recognised, respected and acknowledged.
(About the Author: Meghana K, Research Scholar, CMR University, Bengaluru, India. She can be reached at Meghana.firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Meghana. K and Dr. B. S. Patil, (2017), Corporate Social Responsibility Excellence: An Initiative of GNFC for Rural Women Empowerment in India ’Journal of Management Value and ethics’, Vol.7, No.4,PP. 126, ISSN 2249-9512
- Images by author
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