Building smallholders' climate resilience in Pakistan's challenging soil conditions

Name of the project: Building smallholders’ climate resilience in Pakistan’s challenging soil conditions

Call for proposals theme: Climate adaptation

Grant awarded: £50,000

Project budget: £76,806

SW Sugar Mills is a manufacturer of high-food-grade refined white sugar in Central Punjab, Pakistan. The company receives its cane supply from an area of 13,000 hectares. By extracting a variety of by-products from the sugar production process, such as bagasse for electricity, molasses for animal feed and press mud as fertilisers, they have achieved a zero-waste usage of their by-products.

The project is run in partnership with AgNovate, an international consultancy specialising in agricultural improvements and the only Bonsucro-licenced training provider in Pakistan, as well as PepsiCo Pakistan and its franchise company Haidri Beverages Pvt. Ltd, the country’s largest beverage manufacturer.

Purpose of the project

In Pakistan, the extent of climate change challenges in the sugar supply chain is enormous. Inefficient resource management, climate sensitivity, and a lack of adoption of sustainable practices create issues throughout the supply chain, from production to processing and distribution.

This project will support sugarcane smallholder farmers with the adoption of climate-friendly agricultural practices. It tackles multiple sustainability challenges such as inefficient resource management, climate vulnerability, and adoption of sustainable practices among smallholder farmers. By addressing these issues, it aims to enhance resource efficiency, strengthen climate resilience, and promote sustainable farming practices.

This will be carried out through training and capacity building initiatives, including:

  • Soil and water mapping, to inform customised input management, based on specific water and nutrient needs.
  • Analysis of sowing techniques for sugarcane cultivation in saline soils to reduce input use, tillage and GHG emissions while improving productivity.
  • Identification of sugarcane varieties that are best adapted to saline soils and irrigation in brackish* water.
  • Implementation of residue management to reduce input use, wastage and emissions while enhancing soil health.

*Brackish water is water that is saltier than fresh water, but not as salty as seawater.

Photography: SW Sugar Mills Limited


The project will be implemented among cane-supplying farmers of SW Sugar Mills in Sillanwali, Central Punjab. This region faces challenging soil and water conditions which negatively impact sugarcane yields. In this area, soils and high salinity levels, and the scarcity of canal water, coupled with brackish groundwater, make it unsuitable for optimal sugarcane cultivation.

Unmanaged and excessive irrigation and tillage contribute to GHG emissions, exacerbating the impact of climate change. Additionally, excessive water usage is leading to the depletion of groundwater reserves.

The low awareness of environmental impacts among farmers leads to frequent residue burning, further degrading soils and increasing GHG emissions.

Why this project?

The Bonsucro Impact Fund supports collaborative, scalable and innovative projects that accelerate sustainable sugarcane production.


The project’s scalability and replicability rely upon collaborative efforts and partnerships. The Pakistan Society of Sugar Technologists (PSST) serves as a connection point to global players, facilitating the adoption of best practices. SW Sugar Mills will leverage this platform to scale up the implementation of successful practices.


This project takes a multi-dimensional approach, transforming sugarcane production from water-intensive practices to environmentally-friendly and resource-efficient techniques:

  • By conducting soil testing and diagnostic surveys, the project tailors land preparation activities and soil amendments to match specific soil conditions.
  • Specially designed techniques will be employed to mitigate the adverse effects of brackish water on seed setts and young plants.
  • Residue mixing machines will be introduced as an alternative to burning, promoting sustainable residue management practices.
  • Moisture detection methods and low-cost pan evaporation systems* will be introduced to enhance irrigation scheduling and water management.

The project aims to introduce and promote this comprehensive set of sustainable practices throughout the entire cropping cycle.

*Pan evaporation is a measure that combines or integrates the effects of several climatic factors, including temperature, humidity, rainfall, drought variance, solar radiation, and wind. Evaporation is highest on hot, windy, dry and sunny days. It is greatly reduced when clouds block the sun and the air is cool, mild and humid. Pan evaporation measurements help farmers and ranchers know how much water their crops need. Source


SW Sugar Mills’ ongoing Bonsucro Implementation Programme will ensure the continuity of sustainable practices after the project ends. The implemented techniques will significantly enhance sugarcane yield and quality in the area, reducing the need for distant procurement and promoting farmer aggregation for long-term impacts.

To maintain and expand results, a continuous improvement plan will be developed, and good practices will be disseminated among all cane suppliers, ensuring the lasting benefits beyond project completion.

Expected outcomes

  • Enhanced resource efficiency, including water, soil, inputs and by-products.
  • Reduced climate risks in sugarcane farming and along the supply chain.
  • Improved farmers’ resilience to climate risks.
  • Higher productivity, leading to financial benefits for farmers.
Photography: SW Sugar Mills Limited

Bonsucro Impact Fund

The Bonsucro Impact Fund invests in impact projects that address critical sustainability challenges in the sugarcane sector.

The Bonsucro Impact Funds uses income from the sale of Credits through the Bonsucro Credit Trading Platform.

All trades are charged a transaction fee, around 50% of which is invested into the Bonsucro Impact Fund.

Learn more about the Fund and check for grants available here.

Bonsucro Credit Trading

By purchasing Bonsucro credits for sugarcane, ethanol, molasses and raw sugar, companies support impact projects on the ground through the Bonsucro Impact Fund.

Visit the Bonsucro Credit Trading Platform.