ICRISAT’s long-standing collaboration with the government of Karnataka State, India, has enabled millions of farmers in the state to increase their incomes and improve their lives. Over a decade into this association, the two partners are looking to strengthen this partnership to reach more marginalized smallholder farmers.
Recalling the success of projects Bhoochetana, Bhoosamruddhi and Sujala, in which ICRISAT’s expertise has proved invaluable, Mr NH Shivashankara Reddy, Minister of Agriculture, Government of Karnataka (GoK), said, “The past ten years have been very constructive towards agricultural development in Karnataka with ICRISAT’s help. We want to continue this beneficial association to combat challenges that many farmers still face.”
Dr Peter Carberry, Director General (Acting), ICRISAT, cited the work in Karnataka as a perfect example of synergy, from upstream science to delivery of its benefits on the ground. “Based on the success of this, other states are also reaching out to us for similar support,” he said.
Mr M Maheshwar Rao, Principal Secretary, Department of Agriculture, GoK, emphasized on digital technology in agriculture. “Geospatial technology and satellite imagery, for instance, could be very helpful in drought monitoring, pest/disease surveillance, climate prediction, and more,” he said.
Areas discussed for possible future collaborations included release and distribution of improved crop varieties (especially groundnut); post-harvest processing and marketing knowledge transfer; simple IT-based applications for farmers; and evaluation of the state agricultural institutions.
Dr Sreenath Dixit, Head, ICRISAT Development Center, who has been working closely with the Agriculture Department in Karnataka, mentioned the importance of documentation and accurate impact assessment studies in large projects. “Among other things, one of the biggest contributions of ICRISAT has been agricultural productivity enhancement. We need to now move forward with better strategies for continued assistance to Karnataka farmers,” he said.
Following this visit, new proposals would be considered to strengthen and reinforce the partnership.