2018 Asia/Pacific, Ambassador Winner

Shramik Krishi Sewa Kendra - Maharashtra, India

Editor’s note: Shramik Krishi Sewa Kendra was one of three retailers named 2018 Environmental Respect Award winner for the 2018 Asia Pacific Region. The Maharashtra, India-based retailer was also one of four companies honored as a 2018 Ambassador of Respect during a ceremony in October 2018 in Washington, DC, by ERA sponsor Corteva AgriScience. Here is an inside look at Shramik Krishi Sewa Kendra.

Shramik Krishi Sewa Kendra has been serving the rural agricultural community in its home base of Maharashtra, India, since 1986 and now employs 350 people.

“We understand the role we have to play for responsible stewardship at our end in terms of good warehousing practices and responsible, careful storage of chemical products. We are also promoters of responsible and safe use and handling of products to customers and our workers,” Chairman Sahebrao Navale says.

Shramik Krishi employees not only help growers with the right products, they also work with them to get a better price for their harvests.

Navale explains that, for the company, sustainable development means combining long-term business success with environmental protection and social responsibility. This means achieving more yield from existing land and using less water and energy while ensuring the profitability of farming, caring for the environment, and meeting the needs of society and future generations.

“Sustainable agriculture allows us to produce and enjoy healthy foods without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. Insect pests threaten both livestock and high-value fruit and vegetable crops,” he says. “Farmers, suppliers, agronomists, and other experts need to collaborate together so we can have sustainable agriculture. When the opportunities in agribusiness grow, we will grow with them by meeting the needs of our customers and contributing to the food security of India.”

Shramik has been conducting various activities at the farmer level to create awareness for the responsible use of agrichemicals, including farmer meetings and stewardship programs and trainings, often having its retail channel partners and government officials participate in the meetings as well. The company organizes tree plantings in its village to encourage environmental stewardship culture.

Regarding counterfeit products, the company has been vigilant and organizes special campaigns for farmers to help identify fake vs. genuine products and encourages them to buy on contract and from authorized retailers. “This helps to curb the menace and helps in sustainability of the products we sell,” Navale says.

Importantly, Shramik has helped cultivate a passion for agriculture in youngsters by opening an agri-college called Shramshakti, where students can learn about and gain appreciation for agrisciences. “We have started various educational institutes for a very minimal fee for school children and professionals who aspire to pursue agri fields,” Navale says.