TIGR2ESS, a collaboration between UK and Indian scientists, has been given the green light, with funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund, one of 37 supported projects.
This four year research collaboration, involving NIAB (led by Alison Bentley and Lydia Smith) and the University of Cambridge, aims to bring about a second green revolution in India by supporting new technologies, local research programmes and providing advice to local communities, particularly women, on improving agriculture, health and nutrition.
Talk of a second Green Revolution has been around for a while. The first – in India and other developing countries, in the 1960s – brought a massive increase in crop production that sustained the country’s mushrooming population. But now there are new pressures – not just the need to produce even more food, but to reduce the damage done by excessive use of pesticides, fertiliser and water in the face of climate change.
TIGR2ESS seeks to frame the big question – how to bring about a second Green revolution – in all its breadth and depth. India is developing fast– agriculture needs to take account of urbanisation, for example, which has drawn so many away from the land. Smallholder farmers- particularly women- need smart technologies to sustain crop yields, and improve health and nutrition.
The TIGR2ESS programme will assess these options, as well as supporting basic research programmes, and providing advice to local communities. There will be many opportunities for academic exchanges, mentoring and career development for scientists from both countries. Links with the relevant government ministries in India, plus industrial connections built into the programme, will hopefully turn the best recommendations into reality.
“We are extremely pleased that the TIGR2ESS programme will help to deliver our vision for partnerships with institutions in India to improve crop science and food security,” says Professor Howard Griffiths, Co-Chair of the University of Cambridge’s Strategic Initiative in Global Food Security.
“Agriculture is feminizing. We need to ensure that state resources and services, and knowledge resources, are equally accessible to women farmers,” adds Dr V Selvam, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, India, one of the collaborators.