Submit Concept Notes for Breakthrough Solutions for Efficient Water Use in Agriculture


Agriculture consumes 80 percent of India’s water. Inefficient water use practices, bias towards water intensive crops and rampant extraction of ground water has escalated into a deep social and environmental crisis. We seek to support new approaches that can mitigate water related risks (through improved access or lower cost) for small farmers and deliver remunerative returns to them through technology and market-based solutions. The intent is to go beyond incremental improvements in water use efficiency in agriculture towards highly integrated solutions that can deliver sustained impact.

About Hindustan Unilever Foundation

Hindustan Unilever Foundation (HUF) is a not-for-profit organisation that anchors water management related community development and sustainability initiatives of Hindustan Unilever Limited. HUF operates the ‘Water for Public Good’ programme, with a specific focus to empower local community institutions to govern water resources and enhance farm-based livelihoods through adoption of judicious water practices. Projects in partnership with NGOs are primarily driven by community action through strong decentralised grassroots institutions.

Thematic Focus

Organisations are encouraged to submit concept notes for projects that demonstrate innovation and measurable outcomes in the states of UP, Punjab, Maharashtra, MP, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana in the following areas:

  1. Practice: On-field behaviour change solutions that lead to substantive water and input cost savings in traditional water intensive crops that improve crop yields and wellbeing for small farmers

  2. Markets: Effective market-based institutions that support widescale adoption of indigenous, climate hardy and water responsible foods with consumers; connecting farmers and consumers with few(er) intermediaries.

  3. People: Catalyse water related rural job creation through cadres of trained community professionals equipped with robust water and crop management tools.

  4. Technology: Data-driven digital decision-making tools for rural communities for effective water conservation, ground water management, optimised village-level crop portfolios and market access.

Impact Metrics:  

Ideas and proposals submitted would be reviewed on their potential to deliver substantive, measurable impact on:

  • Large scale behaviour change in farming practices: Solutions that lead to widespread adoption of judicious water use and productivity practices at village(s), block(s) and district(s) in the program areas that may result in:

  1. Extensive farmer adoption (50%+ in program area) OR

  2. Extensive area impacted (20,000 ha+ for a chosen water intensive crop)

  • Substantial water savings due to improved agriculture practices:

  1. Substantive water savings (40% or more over baseline) across the project area

  2. Conjoint management of ground and surface water that bring more than half of the water resources of a village or block under improved governance practices

  • Farmer well-being: Improved well as reflected in:  

  1. Substantive input cost savings in water intensive crops for farmers (30%+)

  2. Significant improvement in farmer incomes (40%+) through better price realisation of agriculture produce; improved yields, viable and diversified sources of income

Application Stages:

The grant award process is designed in three stages – shortlisted organisations from the first stage would move to the subsequent stage:

  1. Eligibility self - assessment

  2. Concept note submission: Last date: 15th August 2018

  3. Proposal submission: Last date: 15th October 2018

At each stage, shortlisted applicants would move to next stage.

Grant details:  

Awards will be issued for a total grant amount of Rs. 15 crores to 3-5 organisation subject to their meeting the core impact criteria. Support would initially be for a period of 18-24 months for quick prototyping of solutions, evaluation and pathway for scale. Selected programs may be considered for subsequent scale-up support beyond the initial period. Projects with high potential for co-funding from other sources would be preferred.

For queries, please reach out to HUF at


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