I recently had the great pleasure of visiting SEWA (the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India) in Gujarat. Their main office is in Ahmedabad, Gujarat – though they work across several states in India. SEWA was formed the same year as ICRISAT – in 1972. What started with a small group of dedicated women working together in Gujarat has now become a vibrant co-operative with two million members across the country.
With members of SEWA in Ganeshpura village, Gujarat
Both ICRISAT and SEWA have grown up in India and, whilst both are serving different purposes in society, what really struck me was how by joining hands with an organisation such as SEWA we can really achieve impact at scale in a short period of time. This in turn will ensure that our science is relevant and that it meets the needs of women farmers to create economic opportunity and sustainable development … not only in India but in Sub-Saharan Africa as well. Read more
I recently attended the 23rd International Grasslands Congress which was held in Delhi for the first time in order to focus on the challenges grasslands in India face as they come under increasingly intense pressure. Some 200 international delegates attended along with about 300 scientists from across India.
The Congress was hosted by the Range Management Society of India as well as ICAR-Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute and the overall focus of the meeting was looking at how to optimize the land resources of a country: do we view grasslands as just a grazing opportunity for open range stock or do they provide other environmental benefits? Discussion at the conference focused on the fact that grasslands offer a wealth of biodiversity – both in species growing above ground and also in the micro-organisms in the soil. It’s a rich bank of biodiversity that we all need to think about how to utilize and preserve for future generations.
With Dr A. Pattanayak, Director of ICAR-VPKAS
I co-chaired the first session prior to the launch of the Congress with Dr A. Pattanayak, Director of ICAR-Vivekananda Parvatiya Krishi Anusandhan Sansthan (VPKAS) based in Almora, Uttarakhand. His organization is engaged in hill agricultural research for the North-Western Himalayan region of India.