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GNFC’s Neem Project receives International Recognition in University of Chicago
Managing Director of GNFC presented about the project’s push towards empowering women in the community by livelihood generation and economic value addition for thesocietal good.
Fulfilling the vision of Hon. Prime Minister for 100% Neem coating of Urea, GNFC pioneered the innovative Neem Project that has provided livelihood to rural women and landless labourers for the last two years. Dr. Rajiv Kumar Gupta (IAS), MD GNFC was invited by the University of Chicago to present about the Neem Project, as it is a model to be emulated in shared value creation. It recognizes the company’s contribution for upliftment of women and girls by developing and implementing such a transparent, sustainable and pragmatic socio-economic programme. Incidentally ex-Governor Reserve Bank Of India Shri Raghuram Rajan also teaches at University of Chicago.

Dr. Rajiv Kumar Gupta (IAS) was received by Mr.Sam Ori, Executive Director, Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), and Dr. Balaji Srinivasan, Senior Advisor to the President at The University of Chicago. The talk took place at Saieh Hall, andwas attended by around 100 faculty, researchers, students, and staff from the economics department and the law, policy, and business schools.The presentation explained the genesis and peregrination of the Neem Project, and concluded by elaborating on its replicable model. It lasted around 40 minutes followed by 20 minutes of audience questions and answers.

Inspired by the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s policy mandate for 100% Neem coating of Urea, Neem Project was planned and implemented. GNFC used established community structures in rural Gujarat to build linkages within its supply chain network for neem seed collection. It is proof of effective backward integration for creating shared value among the rural and urban poor; and empowering communities with targeted focus on women empowerment through income generation and improved livelihoods.

The project has been active in 22 districts across 4000 villages in Gujarat.In the last two years, over INR 25 crore (USD 3.9 million)income has been generated for 225 thousand women. An additional 75,000 has benefitted from indirect employment.GNFC's approach has been lauded in the UNDP Impact Assessment Survey which concluded that there has been significant decrease in domestic violence, increase in asset creation and education expenditure. It has been hailed as an example in community-led transformation by laying a strong foundation for community building and cohesion.

The presentation was coordinated by Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC). EPIC works via a cross-cutting approach that links the University of Chicago’s renowned economists with leading thinkers in policy and law, business, big data, engineering and natural and physical sciences throughout the University, and at partner institutes across the world. At the same time, the Institute is working directly with global leaders to help them make important decisions about the future, while also educating and mentoring the energy leaders of tomorrow. By leveraging these partners and harnessing top talent with varied expertise, EPIC is tackling the world’s toughest energy problems.

The Neem Project was appreciated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister for the positive impact on the indigenous people of Gujarat. Till date, the Neem project has won nine awards, including Golden Peacock Award for Corporate Social Responsibility 2016, the SKOCH Blue Economy Platinum Sustainability Award 2016, and Global CSR Excellence Award. Dr. Rajiv Kumar Gupta (IAS), Managing Director, GNFC was awarded the ‘SKOCH Blue Economy Person of the Year Award’ for conceiving, designing and managing the Neem Project.