Partners from Indian universities in the NCCSD have signed a research partnership with FAMU, represented by Ms. Abena Ojetayo, FAMU Sustainability Institute Chief Sustainability Officer.
The agriculture sector represents a core part of the Indian economy—currently 35 percent of India’s Gross National Product (GNP)—and it provides food and livelihood activities to more than 840 million Indian citizens, particularly those living in extreme poverty. As India’s population is on course to reach two billion people in 2070, the country is facing tremendous food, energy, and other natural resource constraints on a large scale. The ability of the country to respond to these challenges is further complicated by the impact of climate change on the environment, which affects agricultural productivity and livelihoods, water availability, and other natural resources.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) has begun the Farmer-to-Farmer Climate-Smart Agriculture project (CAP) in India to help the nation address the challenge of climate change. Through Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance’s Farmer-to-Farmer Special Program Support Project (SPSP), FAMU will utilize highly skilled volunteers to train key Indian organizations to use Climate-Smart Agricultural (CSA) practices. FAMU will collaborate with the National Council for Climate Change Sustainable Development and Public Leadership (NCCSD), a premier national organization involved in providing sustainable agricultural solutions through sharing platforms for farmers’ experience, interactions with policy makers, training programs and representing farmer’s issues to policy makers. Together, FAMU and NCCSD will help one of NCCSD’s 27 member organizations, Vivekanand Research and Training Institute (VRTI), establish a “Non-formal Education Center” (the Center) on the VRTI campus at Mandvi. The purpose of the Center will be to provide a structured program of CSA service delivery to small farmers, including helping mitigate against climate shocks, introducing the use of appropriate new technologies, and teaching methods to increase productivity and income.
During the course of the project, FAMU will utilize 14 Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers to work with the administrators, scientists, and technicians of the VRTI to develop a strategic plan for the Center and a “Train the Trainer” program on CSA. Volunteer assistance will be essential in building the existing capacity of VRTI and other local knowledge centers to create an integrated knowledge network for CSA. FAMU will also evaluate and scale-up the monitoring and evaluation tools and methods of the Center to help ensure program progress.
The year-long FAMU CAP project in India began in September 2016. FAMU recently concluded a SPSP project in Haiti that worked with Universite Caraibe to empower local women and youth farmers and improve their knowledge, skills and productivity in sustainable agriculture. Read more about that program here.