The year 2020 holds promise of exciting new research from diverse projects, both in India and across the world. Given below is a snapshot of some of these projects and what they have in store for development of communities.
1. SUPER Farm India : SUstainable farming through effective Pollination and pEst Regulation in India, a collaborative study led by University of Reading, UK under GCRF Strategic Research Fund – Substantial Research project. In this project the concept of Ecological intensification will be tested in the field in order to increase crop productivity by enhancing biodiversity and linked ecosystem services. It is a two-year study and the project started in August 2019. MSSRF will work on ecological intensification in paddy for natural enemies and pollinator services for brinjal in the state of Puducherry.
The main objectives of the study are:
to explore opportunities for ecologically intensive farming interventions in economically important crops in north and south India and
to better understand the role of biodiversity in the delivery of pollination and pest regulation services to small holder crop production in India.
The expected outputs are testing the concepts in the field from the small holders context and publications barriers and incentives that influence farmer behavior towards more environmentally sustainable practices as well as on the impacts of the contrasting farm management on biodiversity and ecosystem service provision especially natural enemies and pollinator services.
2.Livelihood enhancement of the small farmers in SAARC region through small scale agro-business focusing on value chain development is a multi-partner project coordinated by SAARC Development Centre, Bhutan in partnership with SAARC Development Centre, Bangladesh. The two-year project started in April 2019.
The main objectives of the project are to:
Build the capacity and skill of the small farmers on the value chain of Fruits and Vegetables
Increase the participation of small holder women and men at higher end of the value chain and
Promote rural entrepreneurship; create job opportunities and agri-business development
The project is being implemented in two sites: Kuttanad in Kerala working on coconut value addition as well as moringa leaf processing in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu. The project intervention aims to promote participation of farmers in value chain by taking part in agro-processing post-harvest produce and to reduce the post-harvest losses.
3. Picture-based insurance bundled with picture-based advisories for sustainable and scalable risk management services is a user-friendly tool in agricultural risk management.
This technology is simple and effective in collecting and processing real-time, plot-level information on crop health and growth. It was first piloted by IFPRI and CABI around this concept in Haryana during 2017-18 which showed the positive impacts of mobile-based personalized advisory in reducing the risk in farming. Now, in partnership with MSSRF, CABI and IFPRI aim to scale up the pilot in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry aligning with plant clinics programme. The main aim of the intervention is to evolve a model on personalised remote advisory services on IPM and insurance services for biotic stress especially for pest and diseases. In addition it aims to compare the growth rate and asses the productivity vis-a vis crop cutting experiments which is being carried out manually.
The specific objectives of the study are to:
Understand the effect of personalized remote advisory services on Integrated Pest Management and production risk exposure related to pest and diseases
Learn the effect of insurance coverage on integrated pest management and the demand and
Assess the crop productivity comparing to crop cutting experiments
The project is being implemented in Thiruvaiyaru, Pudukottai and Puducherry for Paddy and Pudukottai alone for Groundnut.
4. Preparation of IWRM plans and Baseline Study using Hydrological & Geoinformatics Tools for Coastal Area of Tamil Nadu State- Ramanathapuram district: This is part of the GiZ, New Delhi’s Water Security and climate Adaptation (WASCA) in Rural India which is a bi-lateral project and aims to improve water resource management with respect to water security and climate adaptation. The project is in partnership with Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Jal Shakti (Govt of India).
MSSRF’s main roles are:
Undertake baseline assessment for WASCA project indicators
Conducting assessment of Non-spatial, spatial and temporal aspects of available database and information of the district as per suggestive framework & formats
Aggregating non-spatial, spatial and temporal information from primary and secondary sources.
Synthesizing the assessment outputs for driving thrust areas for IWRM using suggestive framework & formats.
Conducting participatory planning exercises using suggestive framework/ formats and guidelines
Preparation of IWRM plans at village/GP and consolidation at district/catchment/subbasin level IWRM plans as per suggestive framework/ formats and guidelines.
Capacity development of concern stakeholders using guidebook for IWRM plan preparation using Geo-informatic Tools and
Liaison and networking with district and state officials for developing convergence approach among concern departments for IWRM plan preparation.
The approach of working with government in this project will help to demonstrate a model wherein improved convergence of existing planning and financial approaches to strengthen water security at the sub basin level.
5. Promoting Farming System for Nutrition (FSN) approach through Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK): MSSRF has entered into MoUs with the Acharya Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU) in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha University of Agricultural Technology (OUAT) in Odisha and the Maharashtra Council of Agricultural Education Research (MCAER) for promoting the FSN model through KVKs. Three KVKs under ANGRAU set up on-farm and nutrition garden demonstrations on their campuses in 2019 kharif, with support from MSSRF. MCAER has secured funding from UNICEF to promote the FSN approach, with MSSRF as technical support partner. Nineteen KVKs under the four agricultural universities in Maharashtra are being covered in the first phase.
6. Bajaj CSR
The 2030 Every Village a Bio-Village programme is structured to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals 1 to 8 and 12 to 15 especially the ZERO HUNGER challenge. The project would be implemented in 20 villages of Koraput district through three integrated pathways – Research Innovations that build upon a participatory manner with multidisciplinary scientists and communities; Capacity development innovations that aim at capacitating 100 youth to function as SDG / Bio village Champions and Livelihood innovations through employment of grass root institutions, SHGs and FPOs. The expected outcomes of the project are 20 Zero Hunger Bio Villages, 30 Master Farmers in Sustainable Agriculture, 10 Master Fishers in Sustainable Fisheries, 10 model Nutritional/ Bio-fortified Garden, 1 Rice cum Pulses bio-park and Farm Field School. Every Village-A Bio-village Programme would be implemented through three integrated pathways – Research Innovations that build upon a participatory manner with multidisciplinary scientists and communities; Capacity development innovations that aim at capacitating 20 youth to function as Technology Incubators/ Community Resource Persons and Livelihood innovations through employment of grass root institutions, SHGs and FPOs. The project will commence from January 2020and shall continue up to end of March 2023. The Bajaj Auto-CSR initiative has committed to provide the financial support to the extent of Rs.100 lakhs for implementing the project during the above period in Koraput district of Odisha.
7. MSSRF-HDFC PARIVARTAN, A Holistic Rural Development Programme
The project is implemented in 6 districts of Kerala (Wayanad, Ernakulam, Idukki, Alappuzha, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta) and was developed with a common aim to rebuild 30 flood affected villages by revitalizing ecological balance through community based Natural Resource Management, and by improving livelihood opportunities.
During the year, entry level activities have been completed which included: distribution of Vegetable Seedlings, Ducklings, Poultry, Screw pine saplings, Fish Fingerlings, Sewing machines, Rain shelters, Milk Bails, Raw materials for Khadi, Fishnet, Agricultural implements, Wheel barrow etc. An Agro-meteorological station was also established at Kuttanad. These activities have reached to over 20,000 Households in 30 villages.
The second phase of the programme from October 2019 is reaching to nearly another 5,000 stakeholders in the areas of Natural Resources Management, Skill Development and Livelihood Enhancement, Health and Sanitation, Education and Financial Inclusion.
In addtion to these, various other projects such as DBT-Kissan Hub, NASF Millets, FIP-Sustainable Fishery, FIMSUL-Disaster Risk Reduction, Oracle-Vedaranyam project & Pannai App,ISRO-GIS have been initiated.
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.