- To fulfil a Historical policy mandate
- To prevent the misuse of Urea and reduce the use of Urea in farms
- To supplement the income of rural poor especially women by way of Neem seed collection
- To promote the usage of Organic Fertilizer for the larger interest of farmers and to increase its availability
- To encourage people to protect and nourish Neem trees
- To strengthen Village Level Societies (VLS’s) / PaniSamiti / Sakhi Mandal / Milk Cooperatives as collection centres for Neem seeds and providing livelihood to the rural population
- To plant one million Neem trees over next 4 to 5 years and create awareness about the environmental protection
To fulfil these objectives, GNFC started a detailed situational analysis process to understand on-ground challenges and the various structures and mechanisms available that it could leverage for optimised operations. It additionally undertook as assessment of the socio-economic investments it would make in order to maximise the project’s impact and results.
The challenges that emerged from its analyses:
- Neem Trees are not harvested in farms and therefore their growth isn’t localized
- Neem Seed collection is a tight and limited 45-day window
- Set up the entire supply chain from scratch
- Wrap up the entire operation beginning from collection, sale, purchase to payments in one and a half months
- Stakeholders in the supply chain did not have experience in such activity and therefore presented capacity deficit
- Storage of Neem seeds would need to calibrated since Neem seeds are volatile and can combust if not kept in open and airy space
To overcome challenges and fulfil program objectives, GNFC established extensive linkages with existing community and government structures. The time of Neem seed shedding takes place between mid-May to July in Gujarat which is when there is no farming activity across most parts of the state. This opened the opportunity of employment generation during lean months for the rural poor if they were to get involved in Neem seed collection. A collection chain of 1200 Self Help Groups, &1000 co-operativeswas established as part of the sourcing network. These became the collection centres across 4000 program-active villages.
The Neem seeds are then collected by Service Provider Partners, currently numbering 300 across the state. SPPs provide intermediate storage for seeds and report directly to GNFC on collection data. Oil is extracted in expelling and/or extraction units. The entire process is overseen by GNFC officials who also arrange for regular trainings to stakeholders at each nodal point of the supply chain to overcome capacity deficit issues.