ICRISAT wins two CSR awards for work on climate change and community development

Range of activities at the Parasai-Sindh watershed, Jhansi, India. This project is supported by Coca-Cola India Foundation as part of its CSR activity. Photo: IDC, ICRISAT

Range of activities at the Parasai-Sindh watershed, Jhansi, India. This project is supported by Coca-Cola India Foundation as part of its CSR activity. Photo: IDC, ICRISAT

At the recent World Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Congress, ICRISAT’s science-backed development work with the corporate sector on climate change adaptation and community development was recognized.

ICRISAT’s work on climate-smart agriculture has shown how to achieve short-and-long-term sustainability in agricultural development while contributing to climate change mitigation.

To this end ICRISAT adapted climate resilient crop cultivars such as short-duration chickpea, wilt resistant pigeonpea hybrids and short-duration groundnut to survive drought conditions.

“ICRISAT has developed a pool of climate-smart agricultural practices that has been scaled up and shared with the agricultural community through participatory and partnership research approaches by the ICRISAT Development Center (IDC) supported by a number of corporate donors through CSR initiatives and the state and national governments,” said Dr Suhas P Wani, Director, IDC.

ICRISAT’s model of participatory watershed management is easily scalable and development agencies are finding it very useful. The programs implemented in different regions of India and other Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and China have shown significant improvement in all areas: crop productivity increased by 43 to 67%, cropping intensity increased by 27 to 60%, surface and groundwater availability increased by 31 to 52%, runoff reduced by 35 to 59% and soil loss reduced by 41 to 68%. This has led to the rejuvenation of degraded lands and better quality of life for farmers in the region.

ICRISAT’s work an livelihoods and community development in the Parasai-Sindh watershed project implemented by ICRISAT with support from Coca-Cola India Foundation, was recognized. The project revived a traditional water harvesting system known as ‘haveli’, in the Bundelkhand region, spread across the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in India. This was critical for a chronically water scarce area.

Here low-cost earthen bunds were built across streams to catch rainwater during the monsoon. This water was then used to recharge open wells and for irrigation during the critical stage of the kharif crop (eg, groundnut, pulses, etc.). The local communities were involved in the planning, execution and monitoring of the refurbishment of these traditional havelis from the start of the project. This partnership has empowered communities and strengthened the rural livelihood systems.

Special attention was given to gender related issues by promoting an innovative agroforestry initiative, exclusively for the benefit of the girl child.

For example, an initiative to plant 80,000 teak saplings covering more than 60 ha was introduced. Parents with daughters under five years of age were given 100 teak saplings to plant on their land. A fully grown mature teak tree can be sold for more than ₹ 20,000 (US$292) as its wood is preferred for making furniture and in construction.

Highlighting the role of IDC, Dr Wani said, “IDC works in collaboration with its corporate partners to benefit millions of smallholder farmers, as well as protect the environment to achieve sustainable development. It does this by scaling up science-backed technologies to achieve major impact in reducing poverty, hunger, malnutrition and environmental degradation across Asia and Africa.”

Currently IDC has over 13 projects in collaboration with various partners including Governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana; Jindal South West Foundation; Coca-Cola India; Asian Paints Limited, India; Powergrid Corporation of India Ltd Foundation; Rural Electrification Corporation Limited; Department of Bio-technology, Government of India; and Department of Agriculture, Government of Philippines.

The ABP News – Global CSR Excellence & Leadership Awards were announced during the World CSR Congress held on 17 February in Mumbai, India.

IDC team with the award. Photos: PS Rao ICRISAT

IDC team with the award. Photos: PS Rao ICRISAT

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