As COVID-19 continues to challenge food security all over the world, the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) is taking steps to ensure its plants remain fully operational and, also using its extensive marketing network to deliver critical goods and supplies in areas otherwise hard to access.
To keep its plants open, operational and safe, IFFCO is providing workers a regular supply of sanitisers, soaps, and masks and is implementing social distancing policies across its sale points, warehouses and societies. Trucks used to transport fertilisers are also being sanitised regularly. The cooperative is also distributing food supplies to workers from disadvantaged backgrounds, who are likely to be most affected by the crisis.
To help prevent the spread of the virus IFFCO launched Break the Coronavirus Chain a campaign to raise awareness with staff and members on how they can stay safe with information on sanitation, personal hygiene, healthy diets and social distancing. IFFCO has also distributed more than 20,000 scarves, 300,000 face masks, 52,000 hand sanitisers, 300,000 soap bars, 10,000 gloves, 1.5m vitamin C tablets, and 300,000 food packages. The cooperative estimates that 650,000 people have benefitted from this campaign.
Dr U. S. Awasthi, managing director of IFFCO was recently featured in a list of the "50 Influential Indians 2020" by Fame India Magazine & Asia Post Survey.
He said: “IFFCO is a cooperative and coming to the aid of the community in the time of need is our duty and part of our organisational DNA. We have mobilised our entire marketing team, our 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 ‘coronavirus troopers’, the men at the front line responsible for education and relief distribution. They are reaching out to the farmers and community online through WhatsApp and also offline through one-on-one interaction’s by organising relief distribution camps, awareness camps.”
Yogendra Kumar, the Marketing Director at IFFCO, who is supervising this campaign, added: "The effort has been on multiple fronts. The farmers are being educated directly and we are also taking the help of local and regional influencers like the local politicians, officials and progressive farmers to propagate the message of breaking the chain of transmission through hygiene and social distancing in the region. Apart from that, we are also running a social media campaign around these messages. But we are focused on community participation to stop the transmission by educating them about the virus and also helped them to come up with unique ways that will help break the chain of transmission on the ground. This is an on-going campaign and we will stop only when rural India is free of this virus."