MSSRF Executive Director’s interaction with the Stakeholders
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) organised the stakeholders meeting at the Tamil Nadu Science Forum’s Meeting Hall, Pudukkottai. Dr R.Rajkumar, Principal scientist, MSSRF, welcomed the participants, and Dr G. N. Hariharan, Executive Director, MSSRF, presided over the stakeholder meeting. Dr Hariharan stated that the primary objective of MSSRF is to improve the life and livelihood of small and marginal farmers. Many agricultural innovations and changes have occurred in recent years and have become a new challenge for farmers. The UN Sustainable Development Goals emphasize the elimination of poverty and hungry by 2030, nutritional security and the conservation of water, soil and biodiversity is another significant area to concentrate on. All these can be addressed through agriculture, but climate change poses a major challenge to it. Currently, MSSRF is working with the relevant stakeholders to build farmers’ adaptive capacity to overcome the climate change challenges. Although women play an integral role in agriculture, their presence is not as noticeable as it could be. He also added that it is encouraging to see the presence of women farmers in this stakeholder’s meeting. Youth involvement in agriculture can bring about many positive changes in agriculture. He concluded his address by stating that agricultural stakeholders need to come together to find science-based solutions that will address the challenges faced by farmers.
Dr R. Rengalakshmi, Director of the Ecotechnology programme area at MSSRF, stated that MSSRF would take the necessary initiatives to coordinate Farmer Producers Organisations (FPOs) and provide technical support to enhance its efficiency. Additionally, it will also take steps for farmers to get better market prices. Farmers raised the following requests during the stakeholder’s meeting,
Training for value-addition in jackfruit, coconut and banana and market access to the prepared goods.
Establishing a network of the 16 FPOs operating in the Pudukkottai district and sharing available products within the network.
Training for Price forecasting.
Encourage the diversification of crops by popularizing the Integrated farming system.
To provide an alternate cropping strategy focusing on soil and water conservation and less water-consuming crop.
To explore the possibilities of value-added products in pepper and the marketing opportunities.
To encourage the cultivation of millets and preparation of value-added products.
To provide handholding support for rural youth’s skill and entrepreneurship development.
Demonstration and awareness programmes to popularize the use of drones to spray pesticides.
To conduct training on micro irrigation systems, improving water use efficiency and drought management.
To train the farmers in seed production, establish a self-sufficient seed resource centre and promote nutrition literacy.
Apart from the progressive men and women farmers, officials from the Department of Agriculture, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, National Pulses Research Centre, and representatives of Non -governmental Organisations were also present during the meeting. T Vimala, Field Coordinator, MSSRF-Pudukottai proposed the vote of thanks.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.