International Farmer Innovation Day: Prolinnova-India

The International Farmer Innovation Day was celebrated by Prolinnova-India on 29 November 2012 at Chinoni campus of INHERE. Mr Manoj Singh Gosai, Agriculture Development Officer (ADO), Chaukhutia, Distt Almora, presided over the meeting, which was facilitated by Mr Girish Chandra Pant, INHERE. Government officials, farmers and NGO members participated in the day-long meeting to understand innovation, its need and sensitivity to recognising and promoting innovation by farmers.

The participants were introduced to the International Farmer Innovation Day and its celebration by the Country Platforms in the Prolinnova global network seeking to given recognition to the contribution of farmers to agricultural research and knowledge creation.

It was acknowledged that climate change has posed many difficulties and challenges for human beings, and its adverse effects were especially hitting the smallholder farmers whose agriculture is fully dependent on nature. The looming question is: how can people survive in changing climatic conditions and uncertain weather conditions, as a result of which agriculture is most disturbed. Weather uncertainty, increasing wild animal attack, increasing pest and disease attack, and decrease in animal rearing are leading to low agriculture production. However, human beings - who are intelligent creatures - have the capacity to find solutions and adapt and have always done so.

Farmers shared the innovative adaptations they having being trying out to deal with their situation. Some farmers shared that they had reduced ploughing of agricultural fields from three times to two times before sowing seed. They have done so to conserve moisture in their soil so there is a better chance for seeds to germinate. Some farmers have started  cultivating drought-resistant crops like turmeric and ginger. There has been a shift from chemical fertiliser to manure, which holds water. Farmers realise that use of urea, although beneficial for temporarily increasing production, ultimately spoils soil fertility. The usefulness of liquid manure for increasing soil fertility as well as for seed treatment was discussed by farmers with experience in this. Also similar experiences were shared by farmers.

The meeting ended with deep satisfaction among the participants regarding the learning and sharing and yielded various suggestions on how stakeholders in agriculture can work collectively to build common learning and also to improve their livelihood results through collective efforts.