Neem, Bioacoustics and Sustainable Agriculture – Pathways presented at MSSRF
Chennai, February 16, 2018: Crop loss due to animal and bird attacks is a major issue in agriculture including and sometimes as much as 100% of crops are destroyed. A unique technology solution to this human animal conflict was presented at a programme ‘Towards Sustainable Agriculture – Latest Trends and Developments’ at MSSRF today. Dr Mahesh S S, Founder Grus Ecosystems, whose unique product – the Harmony series helped alert animals and birds of danger, shared how sounds could be used to alert birds and animals, by using their own language. “The instrument has been effective in 84% of the cases, while in other cases it did not work due to the individual behaviour of birds or proximity to populated areas. However, wherever farmers have used it, they have found very good results in preventing crop loss,” said Dr Mahesh, presenting results of their study. Bioacoustics works with different types of calls alarm, distress and predator calls to disperse birds and animals. In recent times, deaths of elephants in railway and road crossings have been reported, while crop loss due to birds and animals drives farmers to distress.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Rajiv Kumar Gupta, IAS, Managing Director GNFC Ltd., shared the concept of how neem coated urea had been converted to an economic empowerment opportunity especially for women in rural areas. GNFC began procuring directly from rural communities leading to an income of 45 crore rupees for them over the past three years. “Economic emancipation goes hand in hand with social emancipation” said Dr Gupta, sharing how a UNDP study found the Neem project resulted in lower cases of domestic violence and migration.
The event concluded with the signing of an MoU between GNFC Ltd and MSSRF by Dr Gupta and Dr V Selvam, Executive Director, MSSRF in the presence of Prof M S Swaminathan, for sharing of technology and capacity building, for women empowerment and organic farming.
Lauding the pro-woman approach of the neem initiative and the pro-nature technology approach of bioacoustics, Prof M S Swaminathan, Founder MSSRF emphasized that “Human beings and their ecosystem need to co-exist with harmony”. He spoke of the distress that farmers faced due to uncertain weather and environment and expressed hope that these kinds of approaches would make a difference towards sustainable agriculture.
Scientists, scholars and development workers attended the programme.
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.