MOLINE, Ill., Jan. 27, 2011 /CNW/ -- Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) will work with the local government in the state of Gujarat, India on an innovative public-private partnership to benefit marginalized tribal farmers over the next five years. Officials say the program could benefit approximately 50,000 farm families who will learn skills to help mechanize their farms and could increase crop yields.
"The world is challenged to increase food production significantly in the next few decades," said Samuel R. Allen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Deere & Company. "All around the world, John Deere is working to help customers be more productive. Deere supports developmental projects such as this one in India to help farmers increase their chance for prosperity and improve their quality of life."
John Deere will open small agricultural implement resource centers across Gujarat, making more than 500 tractors available for use by local farmers and providing the farmers access to use a set of 13 different implements for various operations. Each center will include a trained operator and maintenance staff. Farmer groups that use the equipment for crop cultivation will pay only for operating and maintenance costs and not for the actual tractor or implements.
According to Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, the new public-private partnership is the first of its kind in the agriculture sector in India. "This is a shining example of a program that will help empower and provide economic wealth to our marginalized farmers and tribal brethren," he said while addressing approximately 500 participants at the inaugural ceremony, organized jointly by the Gujarat Tribal Development Department and John Deere. The ceremony was attended by beneficiary tribal farmers, representatives of NGOs, senior government officials and John Deere staff.
The Gujarat government not only aims to train farmers on the productive use of tractors and farm implements but also to help develop additional skills in soil testing and micro-irrigation.
John Deere will help ensure technical skill development and enhance future employment opportunities in the Indian state by training approximately 1,000 local individuals as tractor operators and another 500 as tractor mechanics.
"We have seen many policy initiatives in recent years in Gujarat to improve agriculture, including significant efforts to facilitate farm mechanization in the state," said Allen. "Initiatives have addressed important topics such as market access, contract farming, agriculture extension services, water conservation, micro irrigation and the availability of quality electricity."
Four local NGOs - Sadguru Foundation, ANaRDe Foundation, Shroffs Foundation and JNPCT - have been asked to create self-help groups that cover at least 100 acres of farm land each to help ensure early adoption of the program.
Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) is a world leader in providing advanced products and services and is committed to the success of customers whose work is linked to the land - those who cultivate, harvest, transform, enrich and build upon the land to meet the world's dramatically increasing need for food, fuel, shelter and infrastructure. Since 1837, John Deere has delivered innovative products of superior quality built on a tradition of integrity. For more information, visit John Deere at its worldwide website at www.JohnDeere.com.
For further information: Ken Golden, Director, Global Public Reputation Strategy of Deere & Company, +1-309-765-5678 Web Site: http://www.deere.com