INDIA - How it started
Initial SARD Initiative brainstorming session, 10 February 2006, New Delhi.
Ideas and approaches for implementing the SARD Initiative in India were the focus of a one-day brainstorming session involving a representative from the FAO-SARD Initiative team, representatives from the Farmers, Indigenous Peoples, NGOs, Science & Technology, and Women’s Major Groups, as well as representatives from the FAO and UNDP offices in Delhi, the UN Country Team’s Solution Exchange staff, and the GTZ Sustainable Agriculture Information Network (Sustainet) in India. The group carried out an informal survey of key problems from the perspective of each Major Group, and discussed the importance of mainstreaming SARD in the 11th Indian National Development Plan. A number of areas where multi-major group stakeholder initiatives might have high payoff, including inter alia the promotion of good practices through the newly-launched government Employment Guarantee Scheme, were also identified. Next steps for the SARD Initiative in India will be the identification of relevant Major Group organisations, and further refinement of possible action areas.
Joint Sustainet and SARD Initiative Workshop, 8-12 May 2006, Pune. SARD Initiative and GTZ Sustainable Agriculture Information Network (Sustainet) arranged a workshop in Pune, India between 8th and 12th May 2006 to evaluate successful approaches for the scaling-up of good practices in sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD) in India and consider next steps for promoting such practices more widely. The participants agreed that the Initiative should support the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) 2005 to ensure that SARD good practices are taken up. There was a consensus that the best strategy to do this was to raise awareness and build the capacity of district officials and Panchayat members, so that they take up genuinely productive works, chose appropriate SARD options and ensure up-scaling of good practices in the long term. It was suggested that local NGOs involved in the implementation of previous national guarantee schemes should present successful experiences of seminars, workshops and exposure visits to sensitise local authorities and bureaucrats on ways to undertake the work.
Accomplishments for 2006
Solution Exchange Booklet on Promoting SARD through Employment Guarantee Scheme in India, released on the 18th of May. India’s new employment guarantee scheme for disadvantaged rural workers attracted the attention of several official participants at the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development in March. They saw it as a potentially replicable practice that could be of benefit in their countries. FAO, on behalf of the SARD Initiative, has generated a set of questions for the Indian Solution Exchange community on Food and Nutrition Security about how the scheme might be used to promote SARD. Responses have been collated by the Solution Exchange team and released in electronic and booklet forms.
Sustainet publication "Sustainable Agriculture: A pathway out of poverty for India's rural poor", released in December 2006
This remarkable publication was released by Sustainet, with funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the SARD Initiative. The publication includes 14 examples of successful sustainable agriculture approaches that were documented from Sustainet’s Indian project partners through a writeshop. Each case documented how to achieve sustainable agriculture in the areas of organic farming, land and water management, and how to tap new products and markets in India. Highlights include a definition of opportunities and potentials for up-scaling of a selection of cases.
On the horizon
A complementary important action to add value to the GTZ Sustainet partners’ efforts will be to fund the printing and publication of their collection of Indian SARD good practices.
FAO-India is working in collaboration with LEAD India and BAIF to prepare a study on good practices and lessons learned from the implementation of the Maharashtra Employment Guarantee Scheme.
The FAO Representation in India is trying to mobilize financial support from the public and private sector interested in promoting sustainable development in the country and building the capacity of district staff and Panchayat Raj Institutions on appropriate SARD options for the implementation of the NREGA
For more information about organizations represented at the Initial SARD Initiative Brainstorming Session in India, go to: International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Institute of Integrated Rural Development (IIRD), LEAD India, Sustainet, and The Environmental Resources Institute (TERI).
Detailed and useful information for citizens, workers, Panchayats, District/Block administrators and implementing agencies are available here National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005, Official website of the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India
The "Right to Food Campaign" is an informal network of organisations and individuals committed to the realisation of the right to food in India. The website contains a wealth of documents on the NREGA such as key documents, state EG, Employment Guarantee Right to food campaign, Introduction to the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA 2005)
The Initiative offers development practitioners a UN-sponsored space where they can provide and benefit from each other's solutions to the day-to-day challenges they face. Communities are organized around selected development targets, such as HIV/AIDS, en Solution Exchange an Initiative of the UN country team in India