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German chemical and biotech giant BASF has announced that more than 6,200 farmers have been certified to date under the sustainable castor programme that it runs in partnership with other companies.

The Pragati sustainable castor project was founded in May 2016 by BASF, speciality chemicals company Arkema, oleochemical firm Jayant Agro-Organics and implementation partner Solidaridad.

The results of the project’s sixth year published on 8 December showed that more than 6,000ha of mainly semi-arid land were now being farmed in accordance with the SuCCESS sustainability code and more than 50,000 tonnes of certified castor seed had been cultivated.

Yields in the project’s sixth year were also 22% higher than the yield published by the local government for this region, BASF said.

Pragati is the Hindi word for progress and the project was launched in May 2016 driven by a baseline survey of more than 1,000 castor farmers in Gujarat, India.

The project’s goal is to enable sustainable castor crop production by the use of good agricultural practices to increase yield and farmer income, the efficient use of water resources and maintenance of soil fertility, the adoption of good waste management practices and better health and safety practices and respect for human rights.