Three year project launched in India
Chemical company Solvay has teamed up with L'Oréal to promote sustainable agricultural practices among guar bean farmers in India.
The two companies will work with 1,500 guar bean farmers in ten Indian villages in the country's desert region of Bikaner. Guar is the main resource for many farmers in this region but its production is volatile as it relies on monsoon rains for growth.
As a drought-resistant crop, guar conserves water resources and replenishes soil nutrients through nitrogen fixation. The seeds are processed to obtain guar gum, an in-demand ingredient in the cosmetics industry. India currently produces 80% of the world's guar.
Solvay and L'Oréal are hoping to give farmers in the region the tools and knowledge to cultivate the crop through better agricultural practices, resulting in more continuous, high-yield production over the next three years.
Emmanuel Butstraen, President of Solvay Novecare and sponsor of the project, said: "Solvay's initiative and partnership with L'Oréal, acting as a founding member, brings many benefits – for farmer communities, their environment, as well as for demanding industrial applications. The project will help farmers improve the use of water and preserve the soil, it will raise their income and support local communities. Our approach will also reinforce the availability of bio-based guar for industries and allow them to promote their ambitious sustainability goals."
Laurent Gilbert, Director for International Development of Advanced Research at L'Oréal, added: "Our partnership with Solvay is a concrete implementation of our 'Sharing Beauty with All' sustainability commitment. By improving yields while promoting a suitable model of sustainable agriculture, we will improve the livelihood of farmers and protect local resources such as water, soil and biodiversity. This programme will allow ensuring a durability of income for guar bean farmers while considering the impact of climate change into their activities."