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'Green Agriculture'project launch

21/09/2018

The project launch of the Green Agriculture project  jointly organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoAFW) and the Food and Agriculture Organization  of the United Nations (FAO) took place yesterday (17 September 2018) at New Delhi.

Speaking at the launch, the Joint Secretaries from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Dr. Alka Bhargava, Jt Secretary, MOAFW and Mr. Nikunj Kishore Saundarya, Jt Secretary, MoEFCC describerd the project as striving to bring harmony to between conservation and development efforts of the country. Dr. Bhargava added that the project goals synchronises with the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) Strategy Document 2018-30 that focuses on integrated farming systems for climate resilience.

The USD 33.5 Million project, is being funded by the GEF and implemented by the GoI (MoAFW and MoEFCC) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The project aims to transform agricultural production to generate global environmental benefits by addressing biodiversity conservation, land degradation, climate change mitigation and sustainable forest management. Giving more details of the project, Mr. Konda Reddy, Assistant FAO Representative in India presented the global conservation significance and the issues and the threats to the five landscapes. He also shared the innovative strategies that the project will adopt to achieve critical results- a national and five state level platforms institutionalised to mainstream environmental concerns into agriculture sector, 49 MT carbon sequestered GHG reduction, 104,070 ha under sustainable management practices and eco-restoration of 1.8 million hectares of priority biodiversity landscape and replicable models and piloting new sustainable business models.

Representatives from the project states shared the relevance and significance of the project in the target landscapes.

Mr. Ashok Dalwai, CEO, National Rainfed Area Authority, MoAFW stressed the need for an alternative paradigm to current extractive methods of agricultural production systems. He called for scientific research to focus on achieving greener landscapes along with efficient & effective resource use. He stressed that that integrated farming requires the development of backward and forward linkages to harness the benefits of economies of scale.

Dr. Claude Gaskon, Manager GEF said that the project’s goal of supporting the achievement of global environmental benefits is aligned with the GEF 2020 vision of enhancing resilience and adaptation, and the overall strategic priorities of GEF 7.

Mr. Tomio Shichiri, FAO representative in his conclusion remarks summed up the project goals and details by stating that agriculture with its allied sectors, is the largest source of livelihoods in India, with 82% of the country’s farmers being small and marginal. Any effort to increase farmers income and food production should happen within the framework of sustainable management of natural resources to avoid further depletion of water tables, biodiversity and habitat for wild species, and land and soil degradation which have contributed to the environmental crisis facing India today.