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Highlight: Knowledge-sharing meeting examines sustainability issues in Punjab

April 14, 2016

The Centers for International Projects Trust (CIPT) organized a knowledge-sharing meeting on September 30, 2015 to highlight the major findings of the IDRC-supported project "Improving food and livelihood security in Punjab through water-energy-agriculture management under climate change and variability in Punjab." CIPT also outlined the steps required to take the initiative forward. Held in New Delhi, India, the meeting was titled "Water, Energy, and Agriculture Sustainability in Punjab: Interventions, Impacts, and Way Forward."

As many as 50 delegates attended the event, representing bilateral and multilateral research organizations, as well as civil society and educational institutions, including state agricultural universities and students.

Scalable results

According to CIPT, this IDRC-funded project has resulted in the development of new technologies and practices that will save significant water and energy resources in Punjab, a northern Indian state. It has also helped CIPT develop new models to optimize the use of natural resources and predict climate-related uncertainties. The project interventions have led to natural resource conservation, bridging the information gap between researchers and farmers, and demonstrating successful pilots for future scale up.

"Meeting the food and nutritional security needs of South Asia will be governed by an approach of resource optimization and equity in access to resources and information identified," said  Kevin Tiessen, Senior Program Specialist, IDRC. Tiessen shared highlights of IDRC's Water and Agriculture program and called for mainstreaming the concerns of small and marginal farmers who are normally at the receiving end of the development paradigm. "It is important that interventions identified and undertaken under projects like these are scaled up for wider adoption and use. This will be possible through effective partnerships," added Tiessen.

Kamal Vatta, Director, CIPT, shared the major findings of the project, including the development of low-cost precision technologies for resource optimization in agriculture. The integration of ICT tools and the development of web-based and mobile applications have helped bridge the information gap for farmers. CIPT has also launched an Agents of Change program with the students of Khalsa College Amritsar, Punjab to help agricultural students understand the realities and challenges facing the agricultural sector and work toward the identification of solutions.

Examining the next steps

Discussions following the presentations saw participants call for the development of viable business models to use the new technologies. Another suggestion was to devise appropriate advocacy strategies to engage state and central governments at various levels to disseminate the results and encourage the adoption of the models. Some of the delegates felt that CIPT should involve private sector organizations engaged in agricultural development to expand and scale up its efforts.

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