May 15, 2018
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 90% of the world’s farms are small and more than two billion people depend on those small farms for their livelihood. But, as with all chemicals, crop protection products must be used responsibly and safety measures are required to protect farmers in the field from exposure to hazards. However, not every farmer is aware of this need for protection or they simply cannot afford it, which is why BASF is collaborating with 3M, a multi-technology company, to meet the safety needs of smallholders. The joint initiative provides farmers around the world with a professional farmer safety kit which includes disposable respirators, safety glasses and gloves, as well as easy-to-understand, picture-based instructions that show where, when and how to use each personal protection item, along with instructions on how to handle agricultural chemicals safely.
In 2013, India was the first country to engage in this global initiative with the launch of the Sanrakshan Kit (“Sanrakshan” in Hindi means “protection”). Now, BASF India has introduced a new version of the Kit, developed especially for smallholders and agricultural sprayers. In addition to the safety equipment, the farmers are also provided with up-to-date information and hands-on training on how to take important stewardship measures for the proper application of crop protection products.
Apart from the safety aspects, the kit has the additional bonus of being affordable, durable and comfortable to wear. With a shelf life of at least two years, it is sufficiently robust to endure rigorous use over a single season. All the components in the kit are packed in a sturdy and compact fiberboard box, weighing less than a kilogram.
BASF puts a strong focus on providing support and expertise to the farming community in all regions – because safety is key to more sustainable and more productive agriculture. In India, the new Sanrakshan Kits help ensure that farmers and sprayers have both the tools as well as the knowledge needed to achieve this. “Farmer safety is of utmost importance to ensure sustainable agricultural practices, and personal protection equipment plays a pivotal role in this. We hope that the new kit introduced by BASF will help us to achieve our goal of implementing safe agricultural practices within the farming community,” said Shri Ashwani Kumar, Joint Secretary Plant Protection, Department of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India.
The Sanrakshan Kit supports BASF’s “Suraksha Hamesha” program, meaning “safety all the time.” The program aims to create a platform for educating farmers and agricultural sprayers about the nine steps of responsible use of agrochemicals and personal protection measures. Through Suraksha Hamesha, BASF has successfully engaged with more than 71,000 farmers and 11,800 agricultural sprayers across the country since 2016. During these meetings, BASF also involves the state and central government’s farm extension teams to support and promote farm safety. All actions within the program are carried out to increase awareness of the sustainable and responsible use of crop protection products – ensuring that farmers stay safe while producing good quality food.
The new Sanrakshan Kit has been available in India since January 2018 and can be purchased at agricultural supply outlets.