Despite India being in lockdown for almost for two months now, ICMIF member IFFCO, a fertilizer cooperative, has been working with farmers to ensure they are equipped with what they need to continue working safely through their ‘Break the Corona chain’ campaign.
The campaign is designed to educate farmers about virus transmission, equip them with masks and sanitizers and spread the message of hygiene and social distancing and it is targeted at IFFCO’s network of almost 35,000 cooperatives spread throughout the country. According to the latest figures released by IFFCO, 1,400 awareness training programs have been conducted so far, benefiting 650,000 people.
When speaking about the initiative, Dr U.S Awasthi, Managing Director, IFFCO said: ”IFFCO is a cooperative and coming to the aid of the community in a time of need is our duty and part of our organisational DNA.”
Awasthi went on to say: “we have mobilized the entire marketing team, group companies and the entire IFFCO ecosystem for this effort. IFFCO has over 400 field officers across India who have certain districts/areas that they manage. These field officers are our ‘corona troopers’, the men at the front line responsible for education and relief distribution. These ‘corona troopers’ are reaching out to the farmers and the community online through WhatsApp etc. and offline through one-on-one interactions by organizing relief distribution camps, awareness camps etc.”
All five of IFFCO’s plants located in Kalol, Kandla, Aonla, Phulpur and Paradeep remain open with staff following social distancing guidelines. Their distribution network and field officers are also working with extra caution to make sure plant nutrition is available to the farmers through the member cooperative societies and IFFCO Bazar outlets.
In addition, its ‘corona troopers’ have distributed more than 1,500,000 vitamin-C tablets, 300,000 medicated soaps, 300,000 masks, 52,000 sanitizers, 10,000 gloves, 300,000 food parcels and 30,000 ration kits were needed.
In addition to these efforts on the ground, IFFCO has donated USD 3.2 million to India’s Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund). The fund will be used for combating, containment and relief efforts against the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in India.