13 March 2020

Founding members of Pragati, world's first sustainable castor bean program, sign phase 2 commitment


March 13, 2020

The founding members of the Pragati project for sustainable castor crop – Arkema, BASF, Jayant Agro-Organics along with implementation partner Solidaridad – recently met to celebrate the successful results of phase 1 of the project and formally committed to phase 2, which will extend the program until July 31, 2022.


In a three-day tour of the castor farms, demo plots, and local trading markets, the member companies invited a select group of end-users to experience first-hand the impacts of the program in Gujarat, India – home to approximately 70% of the world’s castor crop. During the event, the founding members shared the highlights and achievements of phase 1 of project Pragati (2016-2019):

  • More than 13,000 tons of certified castor beans have been cultivated
  • More than 3,000 castor farmers have been audited and certified
  • Approximately 5,200 hectares of castor beans have been farmed in accordance with the castor sustainability code - now called SuCCESS (Sustainable Castor Caring Environmental & Social Standards)
  • More than 8,000 hours of classroom training have been completed
  • More than 3,000 safety kits and crop protection product storage boxes have been distributed
  • Water consumption has dropped by approximately 25% in the demo plots
  • Crop yield has improved by more than 50% compared to the 2016 baseline study

The founding members also announced the key goals for Pragati phase 2:

  • Training and certifying an additional 4,000 farmers, thus bringing the total to 7,000
  • Increasing involvement of women in the program
  • Developing the awareness and involvement among key downstream end-users – specifically by inviting stakeholders to actively participate in the Sustainable Castor Association (www.castorsuccess.org)
  • Continuing to improve crop yield, water conservation and basic chemical hygiene

After completing a 2016 baseline survey of more than 1,000 castor farmers in Gujarat, India, the Pragati project was launched in May 2016 with the goal of enabling sustainable castor crop production by:

  • Using good agricultural practices to increase yield and farmer income
  • Efficiently using water resources and maintaining soil fertility
  • Driving adoption of good waste management practices
  • Enabling better health and safety practices and respecting human rights

Arkema is a global leader in specialty chemicals and advanced materials. BASF is the world’s leading chemical company. Jayant Agro-Organics Ltd. is a pioneer in castor oil-based chemicals in India.

Solidaridad is an international civil society organization working in the area of sustainable economic development. With more than 50 years of experience in the sustainable agriculture sector, it facilitates the development of socially responsible, ecologically sound and profitable supply chains.

Birgit Hellmann
Global Sustainability Communications
Last Update 13 March 2020