Name of the Organization:

Institute of Rural Management Anand

IRMA, Anand, Gujarat- 388001

Postal Address:

Knowledge mapping sustainable farming practices in State Agricultural Universities curriculums

Title of the project:

Desk Based study

Location:

8-10 weeks

Date and Duration:

Numerous studies now show that chemical-intensive, input-centred agriculture has adversely impacted soil health, groundwater levels and agro-biodiversity. Given the additional challenges of climate change, there is a need to shift to sustainable agricultural practices sooner rather than later. Unlike during the Green Revolution, knowledge on agroecology in India has been more diverse and often emerging outside the agricultural establishment. Transiting to sustainable agriculture needs to happen early in agricultural education in which formal institutions like the State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) play an important role. Their widespread reach legitimizes certain forms of knowledge over others. Historically, the Indian Agriculture University have been modelled on the U.S institutions that prioritise a mechanical view of man-nature relations and ignore critical insights from soil biology and the continuous experimentation by farmers on their own fields. In the absence of sufficient exposure and understanding on agroecology, an overwhelming percentage of agricultural university graduates tend to work in promoting chemical intensive agriculture after graduation. Newer insights often arise through the interface of modern science with farmers’ knowledge on-farm and the modes of knowledge generation need to become more diverse especially for farmers to cope with the complex challenges of farming today. Currently, less than 4% of the Indian farmers practice sustainable agricultural practices, with more farmers interested in transitioning if provided the required support and financial safety net (CEEW, 2021). Thus, a systemic change is required to enable SAU graduates to take up desired initiatives towards inclusive and responsible knowledge systems.

Project description:

Expected outcome(s) of the project:

1. To collate and review the existing curriculum of SAUs in their Bsc Agriculture and other courses to understand the nature and extent of knowledge and practices on sustainable agriculture. 2. To understand best practices among institutions to enable agroecology and sustainable agriculture. 3. To come out with recommendations that would enable better focus on agroecology in university curriculum and processes that might make university graduates more prepared to practice sustainable agriculture once they graduate.

Expectations from interns:

Interest in sustainable agriculture, environmental education and ecosystems. Good verbal and written communication skills in the English language. Working knowledge in other Indian languages would be helpful. Relevant academic qualifications (Minimum B.A/ B.Sc degree) and prior experience in secondary data collection and collation would be appreciated.