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Harnessing the Potential of Natural Farming (Regenerative Agriculture) as a Low-Emission Development Pathway for Improved Resilience, Soil Health, Livelihoods and Nutrition in India

September 15, 2022 @ 8:00 am - September 17, 2022 @ 12:00 pm

Venue: PTTC Conference Hall, ICRISAT, Patancheru, Hyderabad Register here

Growing climate crisis, continuous cropping tends to deplete soil nutrient reserves that requires replenishment with essential macro and micronutrients along with nutrient recycling of livestock-based systems to enhance plant nutrition while promoting environmental stewardship. In addition, extinction of agro-biodiversity and highly volatile markets have raised stern fears for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially related to agriculture. Consequently, it has become prudent to engage in sustainable farming systems that address both increased productivity for enhanced food and nutrition security while addressing environmental degradation in India and several other countries that face similar challenges. Various farming methods which aim to reduce the dependence on external inputs, adopt diverse practices such as no till/minimum till, use natural inputs such as inoculation of soils with composts or compost extracts to restore soil microbial community, and planting multiple crop inter-crop plantings, multispecies cover crops, and borders planted for bees and other beneficial insects are interchangeably known with different names such as regenerative agriculture, conservation agriculture, sustainable agriculture, natural farming, among others. Such practices aim to improve soil health, primarily through the practices that increase soil organic matter.

Like in many other countries, stakeholders in India including civil society, agribusiness, farmers, NGOs, researchers, and policy planners are debating the pros and cons of different forms of regenerative agriculture in the context of its sustainability among other economic, environmental and food safety parameters. In line with this, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in collaboration with Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India (GoI) is organizing a Consultative National Workshop on “Harnessing the Potential of Regenerative Agriculture as a Low-Emission Development Pathway for Improved Resilience, Soil Health, Livelihoods and Nutrition in India” for the period 15-17th September 2022 at ICRISAT Campus, Patancheru, Hyderabad.

The overall objectives of the workshop are:  (1) Take stock of the current knowledge, feasibility and policy between natural farming/regenerative agriculture vis-à-vis conventional farming in India; (2) Understanding the pros and cons of regenerative agriculture in the context of its sustainability among other economic, environmental and food safety parameters; and (3) Identification of lessons learnt, key challenges and knowledge gaps in regenerative agriculture its implications on national food and nutritional security in India. (4) Deliberate on and solicit inputs and a roadmap to develop realistic and outcome-oriented project interventions to facilitate large-scale adoption of regenerative agriculture at the via national and multi-region approaches.

Several renowned speakers from diverse government research institutes and Universities public and private sector agencies, civil society (NGOs) etc. will be participating and sharing their thoughts their presentations on this contemporary pertinent. Interested participants can be registered freely and can participate in plenary sessions of the workshop virtually as indicated below.

The plenary sessions would include three globally renowned speakers delivering special lectures as follows:

Dr Rattan Lal, Retired Professor, The Ohio State University, USA (2020 World Food Prize Winner) Delivering a special address on “Regenerative agriculture/Natural farming and Soil health” on 15th Sept 2022 from 17.30–18.15 India Standard Time
Prabhu Pingali, Chair, ICRISAT Governing Board Dr Prabhu Pingali, Professor, Cornell University, USA and Governing Board Chair, ICRISAT Delivering a keynote address on “Regenerative agriculture: implications to national food security and policy needs” on 16th Sept 2022 from 17.00–17.30 hours India Standard Time
Dr Srivari Chandrasekhar, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology and Former Director, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology Delivering the plenary closing remark on 17th Sept 2022 from 11.30–11.45 hours India Standard Time

Program Schedule

Time (hrs) Session Speaker/Chair/Responsible
September 15, 2022 – Day 1 – Workshop inaugural and Introductory sessions
08.15-09.00 Participant’s arrival and registration Ms Ragini Rayalla, ICRISAT
09.00-09.10 Welcome and purpose of workshop Dr Arvind Kumar, ICRISAT
09.10-09.20 Workshop overview – theme wise deliberations, proposal roadmap Dr Victor Afari-Sefa, ICRISAT
09.20-09.30 Remarks from DST Representative Dr Debapriya Dutta
09.30-09.40 Address by Director General, ICRISAT Dr Jacqueline Hughes
09.40-09.45 Vote of thanks Dr Padmaja Ravula, ICRISAT
09.45-10.15 Group photo and health break  
10.15-12.30 Theme-1: Natural farming/regenerative agriculture – Concepts, relevance and scope in Indian context


Chair: Dr Debapriya Dutta

Co-chair: Dr A Ashok Kumar



Dr Nedumaran S and Dr Gajanan S

10.15-10.35 Concepts, relevance and scope of regenerative agriculture in the Indian context Dr JC Katyal, Former Vice Chancellor, CCSHAU
10.35-10.55 Research needs and strategies for advancing regenerative agriculture Dr Deborah Dutta, Senior Research Fellow, IRMA
10.55-11.15 Global experiences on regenerative agriculture for smallholder farms Ms Anne-Sophie Poisot, Assistant Team Leader, FAO
11.15-11.35 Incentivizing regenerative agriculture through carbon markets Ms Usha Zehr Barwale,

Grow Indigo Pvt. Ltd.

11.35-12.00 Panel Discussion: Regenerative agriculture and scope in the Indian context Panellists

·    Mr. Abhishek Jain, Council of Energy, Environment and Water

·   Dr M V Ramana, PJTSAU

·   Dr N Ravisankar, ICAR-IIFSR

12.00-12.30 Discussion, questions and wrap up Moderated by Chair
12.30-13.30 Lunch break  
13.30-15.00 Theme-2: Applied research on natural farming/regenerative agriculture – evidence from the field, constraints and opportunities



Chair: Dr V Praveen Rao, Former VC, PJTSAU

Co-chair: Dr V Anitha, PG Dean, PJTSAU


Rapporteurs: Dr Girish Chander and Dr Raju Ghosh

13.30-13.45 Evidence from on-farm and on-station research on regenerative agriculture Dr AS Panwar, Director, ICAR-IIFSR, Modipuram
13.45-14.00 Adoption of natural farming in India: Learnings from farmers’ fields and scaling up strategies Dr N Balasubramani, Director, Climate Change & Adaptation, MANAGE
14.00-14.15 Building healthy soils through Regenerative agriculture for sustainable food security: lessons from the field and policy needs Dr VR Prabavathy, Director, MSSRF
14.15-14.40 Panel Discussion: Applied research on regenerative agriculture – evidence from the field, constraints, and opportunities Panellists

·  Dr Sreenath Dixit, ICRISAT

·  Mr Chandrasekhar Bhadsavle, SRT, Raigad

·  Mr. T Vinod Rao, Chairman, Dr. Ramanaidu Ekalavya Grameena Vikas Foundation & ICAR-KVK

14.40-15.00 Discussion, questions and wrap up Moderated by Chair
15.00-15.30 Health break  
15.30-17.30 Theme-3: Natural farming / Regenerative agriculture – linkages with household income, nutrition, livelihoods, and value chains



Chair: Mr Priya Ranjan,

Joint Secretary, PKVY, GoI

Co-chair: Mr. Arthanari P, Program Director, OPELIP, Govt. of Odisha


Rapporteurs: Dr Padmaja Ravula and Dr KH Anantha

15.30-15.50 Potential of regenerative agriculture for improving income, nutrition, livelihoods- lessons from the field Dr GV Ramanjaneyulu, Center for Sustainable Agriculture
15.50-16.10 Scaling regenerative agriculture for food, nutrition and environmental security Dr ML Jat, ICRISAT
16.10-16.30 Regenerative agriculture in improving the livelihoods and nutrition in tribal regions: challenges and opportunities Mr Vikash Abraham, Naandi Foundation, Hyderabad
16.30-17.00 Panel Discussion: Regenerative agriculture – interlinks with household income, nutrition, and livelihoods Panellists

·      Dr M Malla Reddy, PJTSAU

·      Dr Padmaja Ravula, ICRISAT

·      Dr S Suman, Dr Reddy’s Research Foundation

17.00-17.30 Discussion, questions and wrap up Moderated by Chair
17.30-18.15 Special address of the day  
  Special address session Chair Dr Prabhu Pingali, Professor, Cornell University, USA
17.30-18.15 Special address on “Regenerative agriculture and soil health” Dr Rattan Lal, Professor, The Ohio State University, USA
18.15-18.30 Close of Workshop Day 1 – take home messages Dr Mamta Sharma &

Dr Nedumaran S

19.30-21.00 Dinner  
Time (hrs) Session Speaker/Chair/Responsible
  September 16, 2022 – Day 2 – Theme-wise deliberations and proposal road map   


Theme-4: Natural farming / Regenerative agriculture for sustainable soil health, water use and systems productivity


Chair: Dr J C Katyal, Former VC-CCSHAU

Co-chair: Dr Avijit Kr. Dutta, Associate Professor, RMVERI, Ranchi

Rapporteurs: Dr Mukund Patil and Dr Kaushal K Garg

08.30-08.45 Best management practices for context-specific regenerative agriculture in crop-livestock systems Dr SK Sharma, Director of Research, MPUAT, Udaipur
08.45-09.00 Scaling of natural farming and the positive impacts of natural farming on water and soil management – experiences from Andhra Pradesh Community managed Natural Farming (APCNF) Dr T Vijay Kumar, Executive Vice Chairman, Rythu Sadhikara Samstha, Govt. of AP
09.00-09.15 Water conservation practices towards regenerative agriculture Dr Suhas P Wani, Former Program Director, ICRISAT
09.15-09.30 Discussion, questions and wrap up Moderated by Chair
09.30- 10.00 Health break  
10.00-12.00 Theme 5: Natural farming / Regenerative agriculture: Resilience, ecosystem services, GHG mitigation & carbon credits and enabling polices  Chair: Dr Vinod Kumar Singh, Director, ICAR-CRIDA

Co-chair: Dr ML Jat, ICRISAT


Rapporteurs: Dr Abhishek Das and Dr Ajay Singh

10.00-10.20 Science evidence on resilience and GHG mitigation potential of regenerative agriculture Dr Dillip Swain, Professor, Dept.  of Agric. and Food Engineering, IIT Kharagpur
10.20-10.40 Evidence on Holistic Benefits of Organic and Natural Farming in India Mr Amit Khurana, CSE, New Delhi
10.40-11.00 Ecosystems services for regenerative agriculture Dr Suresh Pal, Former Director, ICAR-NIAP
11.00-11.20 Input and price subsidies versus payment for environmental services? Two contrasting scenarios for Andhra Pradesh in 2050 Dr Bruno Dorin (Cirad) Centre de Sciences Humaines, (CSH) New Delhi
11.20-11.45 Panel Discussion: Resilience, ecosystem services, GHG mitigation & carbon credits and enabling polices Panellists

·        Dr Shalander Kumar, ICRISAT

·        Dr Govind Kelkar, Executive Director, GenDev Centre for Research and Innovation LLP

·        Dr Rashmi Sharma, DST

11.45-12.00 Discussion, questions and wrap up Moderated by Chair
12.00-13.00 Lunch  
 13.00-14.30 Theme-6: Natural farming/Regenerative agriculture – plant protection and soil microbiome Chair:  Dr Mamta Sharma, ICRISAT

Co-chair: Dr Hari K Sudini, ICRISAT


Rapporteurs: Dr Gopala Krishnan and Dr Jaba Jagdish

 13.00-13.20 Biological options (microbiomes and/or herbals) for crop protection and quality issues in India Dr Janardan Singh, CSKHPKV, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh
 13.20-13.40 Opportunities and constraints of using various biological options in natural farming/regenerative agriculture. Dr H B Babalad Professor of Agronomy, UAS, Dharwad
 13.40-14.00 Next-gen biotechnological and nano-technological products for natural farming/regenerative agriculture Dr K R K Reddy, Sri Bioaesthatic Pvt. Ltd., Hyderabad
 14.00-14.30 Discussion, questions and wrap up Moderated by Chair
 14.30-15.00  Health Break  
 15.00-16.45 Theme 7: Natural farming / Regenerative agriculture: agricultural waste, food safety, market linkages and entrepreneurship development



Chair: Mr Prasun Sarkar, Pesticides India Industries Ltd.

Co-chair:  Mr Aravazhi Selvaraj, ICRISAT


Rapporteurs: Dr Saikat DM and Ms Priyanka Durgalla

15.00-15.20 Experiences and actionable strategies for strengthening value chains of natural farming produces for export and domestic markets Mr. Rajasekhara Reddy Seelam, Founder & MD, Sresta Natural Bioproducts Pvt Ltd.
15.20-15.40 Inclusive Business models for scaling regenerating agriculture: potential role of FPOs


Mr NV Ramana, Advisor, Samunnati Financial Intermediation & Services Pvt. Ltd.
15.40-16.00 Experience and strategies for promoting entrepreneurship in regenerating agriculture Ms Likitha Bhanu, Founder & CEO, Terra Greens Organic


16.00-16.20 Agricultural waste and its utilization in regenerative agriculture Dr KK Singh, Zuari Farmhub Ltd (Adventz Group)


16.20-16.45 Discussion, questions and wrap up Moderated by Chair
16.45-17.00 Rest break / Ice breakers Moderator/Facilitators
17.00-17.30 Special address of the day  
17.00-17.30 Special address session Chair Dr Praveen Rao,


  Special address on Regenerative agriculture: implications to national food security and policy needs Dr Prabhu Pingali, Professor, Cornell University, USA
17.30-17.45 Close of Workshop Day 2 – take home messages Dr Hari K Sudini &

Dr Nedumaran S


19.30-21.00  Dinner  


September 17, 2022 – Day 3 – Half day wrap-up session & Departure of participants  
08.30 – 10.00 Breakout sessions: to be coordinated by Chair and Co-Chair of respective sessions and develop presentation on the way forward for the following four (4) topics


1.       Group 1: Research gaps in regenerative agriculture / natural farming


2.       Group 2: Development needs in regenerative agriculture / natural farming


3.       Group 3: Capacity needs in regenerative agriculture / natural farming


4.       Group 4: Policy gaps in regenerative agriculture / natural farming

Chairs, Co-chairs and participants



Chair: Dr VK Singh and

Co-chair: Dr ML Jat


Chair: Dr Rashmi Sharma and Co-Chair: Dr Ashok Kumar A


Chair: Dr V Praveen Rao and

Co-Chair: Dr Hari K Sudini


Chair: Dr Rohini Mukherjee, Naandi Foundation and

Co-Chair: Dr Shalander Kumar


10.00 -10.30 Health break  
10.30-12.00 Plenary closing session


Chair: Dr S Chandrasekhar, Secretary DST, GoI

Co-Chair: Dr Arvind Kumar, DDG-R, ICRISAT

Rapporteur : Dr Kumara Charyulu Deevi

10.30-11.30 Presentation by chair of each breakout groups

(15 mins presentation each)

Chair of respective session
11.30-11.45 Remarks by DST Secretary Dr Srivari Chandrasekhar


11.45-12.00  Wrap up, next steps and vote of thanks


Dr Arvind Kumar
12.00-13.00 Lunch and departure  


September 15, 2022 @ 8:00 am
September 17, 2022 @ 12:00 pm


Hyderabad, Telangana 502324 India
View Venue Website

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