DEHLI, India (CIMMYT) – This November, the work of the Sustainable and Resilient Farming Systems Intensification (SRFSI) project was marked with notable recognition by the Australian Government with a visit from the Australian High Commissioner to India, Harinder Sidhu. The project is co-led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).
Sidhu’s visit to observe the SRFSI project’s activities from a grassroots level allowed her to have hands-on experience and interaction with university students, farmers, women’s self-help groups, local service providers and private agencies engaged as members of an SRFSI innovation platform.
Sidhu met with the members of a farmers’ club which is solely operated and monitored by women of the local community. She was highly impressed with the efforts of these women to make themselves independent and self-reliant through new innovations in mushroom, fish and duck farming.
“It was heartening to observe the positive response of the farmers, especially women, to conservation and sustainable farming, and how the technology has improved incomes, reduced drudgery, had positive health impacts and facilitated the development of agri-entrepreneurs,” said Sidhu in her thank you letter.
On the last day of her visit to trial fields, Sidhu was impressed by the service provider business model developed by the SRFSI project to facilitate the creation of employment opportunities and motivation for youth to engage in farming activities.
Sidhu wrote, “I wish you and your team success in reaching out to farmers in north Bengal and working together with them to improve their lives and those of future generations.”
SRFSI is led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and jointly implemented by the Department of Agriculture, Government of West Bengal and Uttar Banga Krishi Viswavidyalaya Agricultural University.