Castor Program In India
Why It Began
Castor farming in India is done by numerous smallholders, mostly family farms. Especially on this level, the supply chain of castor oil shows sustainability challenges (social, health, safety and environmental risks). Castor oil is used for a variety of applications in several industries, e.g. Coatings & Paints, Pharma, Lubricants, Engineering Plastics, Crop Protection and Personal & Home Care.
On May 2, 2016, the companies Arkema, BASF and Jayant Agro as well as the NGO Solidaridad signed a contract to foster sustainability in the castor oil supply chain. Under the name “Sustainable Castor Initiative – Pragati” (Hindi for “progress”), the four project members aim to improve the livelihood of castor farmers and contracted workers by supporting them to optimise yield and reduce environmental impact.
Therefore, a community initiative with 3,000 castor farmers from Gujarat (India) has been built. They are trained on good agricultural practices, for example regarding best practices in irrigation, crop rotation or soil treatment. The farmers have been supported during a complete crop season, from soil treatment to seed sales into the market.
In 2019, the Sustainable Castor Association was created by the founding members to open the SuCCESS code to the larger castor community and to develop a supply chain for certified castor oil and castor derivatives.
A pilot version of the supply chain certification standard (SuCCESS code for supply chain) was developed and launched to certify sustainable castor oil and derivatives.