Newsroom  Press releases  2003

19) VUSAT activities start in Andhra Pradesh (30 May 2003)

The first Andhra Pradesh Regional Forum meeting of the Virtual University for the Semi-Arid Tropics (VUSAT) was held recently at the BR Ambedkar Open University (BRAOU). Chaired by Prof VS Prasad, Vice Chancellor of BRAOU, the meeting brought together different stakeholders in the state.

In addition to ICRISAT and BRAOU the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture, the National Academy of Agricultural Research Management, the National Remote Sensing Agency, the Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University, the State Department for Women and Child Welfare, National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management, and the National Institute of Rural Development were represented at the meeting.

Director General of ICRISAT, Dr William Dar said that VUSAT can help bridge the digital divide in the villages so that the poor communities benefit. “It is a big task and all the stakeholders need to dream big.”

The Virtual University has the potential of taking the message of improved agricultural productivity to millions of farmers. It can also provide the critical information to the vulnerable communities, enabling them to cope better with drought.

Prof Prasad said that VUSAT is the concept of the new century: seamlessly integrating the strengths of different agencies to meet a common objective. There is a need to quickly study the connectivity infrastructure in the rural areas of the State as well as with the partnering institutions. “We need to look back to look forward more effectively.

The consensus at the Regional Forum was to move forward on the initiative. Each institution agreed to bring to the Forum its strengths. The partnering institutions felt that VUSAT can provide them the opportunity to stay relevant in the future. For more information, contact Dr V Balaji at v(dot)balaji(at)cgiar(dot)org.

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