Conference on Climate Variability and Cash Crops in Maharashtra
TERI WRC (Western Regional Centre) in collaboration with Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Government of India, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Collectorate Thane, Zilla Parishad, Thane and Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) organized a one day regional conference on 'Climate Variability and Cash Crops of Maharashtra' on 18 January 2013 at Thane, Mumbai.
The event was graced by Shri K V Kurundkar, Chief Executive Officer, Thane Zilla Parishad, as the Chief Guest and Shri Manoj Ranade, Resident Deputy Collector, Thane Collectorate, as the Guest of Honor. The significance of the event was further enhanced by the presence of Dr N Chattopadhyay, Deputy Director General of Meteorology, IMD, Pune and Shri M V Ashok, Chief General Manager, NABARD, Pune. An inspiring message by Dr R K Pachauri, Director General, TERI emphasizing on the conference and the pertinent issue of climate change was conveyed to the gathering through a video recorded message.
The main objective of the conference was to continue TERI's dialogue, initiated to enhance the preparedness towards the anticipated impacts of climatic variability on agriculture in Maharashtra. More than 100 participants comprising members from the academia, industries, entrepreneurs, SHGs, NGOs, NABARD's farmer clubs, financial institutions, government employees, youth and farmers actively participated in the conference. The deliberations focused on three main approaches:- 1. Technological Interventions, 2. Crop Diversification and Processing of perishables, and 3. Assessment of associated vulnerabilities and risks.
In addition to presentations made by eminent experts from IMD, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), and NABARD, the demonstration of commercialized technologies and case studies through an interactive panel discussion provided ample opportunities for the participants to gain insight into the subject.
While addressing the opportunities and risks associated with climate variability, the product chain from concept to market was discussed and effectively demonstrated through various examples such as Just Sip, a commercialized Palak soup developed by Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) as well as various Amla products developed by NABARD's farmer clubs. Interestingly, TERI has provided the gasifier technology to ICT for drying of Palak leaves. A progressive farmer shared his experience of marketing his produce through information technologies like Skype which was appreciated by all.
The much appreciated and noteworthy moment of the conference was the felicitation of a farmer's family at the hands of the Chief Guest. Despite having a marginal land holding of mere 2 acres, the family had willingly kept half of their land reserved for the sustenance of the local biodiversity.
The conference received an overwhelming response from all the stakeholders and ended on a very positive note.