Zuari FarmHub (ZFHL) has announced a new research partnership with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) aimed to promote sustainable agricultural practices to improve farmers’ incomes in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh.
The two-year project will prioritise carbon sequestration to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, thereby mitigating the impact of climate change on the farming community.
The agreement was formalised through the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MoA) on Thursday by Dr. Jacqueline Hughes, Director General of ICRISAT, and Madan Mohan Pandey, Managing Director of ZFHL, in Hyderabad, India. Both parties expressed their delight at the prospect of working together to develop innovative solutions that meet the specific needs of farmers in India.
“It is a privilege to partner with ICRISAT, one of the best international agricultural research institutes, for customised modern solutions that meet farmers’ needs. Dwindling organic content in soils, indiscriminate use of fertilisers and the lack of information are critical issues in Indian agriculture that require urgent attention,” said Pandey.
The project will leverage ICRISAT’s FAO-accredited soil laboratory to develop science-led technologies using spatial data, modelling tools, big data analytics, and artificial intelligence.
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Dr Hughes said that the partnership would utilise the expertise of some of the world’s best soil researchers and cutting-edge scientific techniques to promote sustainable agricultural practices and enhance farmer incomes but proof of concept is required.
“Seeing is believing. It is important for farmers to see the positive impact of improved soil on their crop yields and income before embracing new technologies,” said Dr Hughes.
In the first year of the project, ICRISAT will provide proof of concept of its science-led technologies to validate their effectiveness in improving soil for better crop yields and income.
“Artificial intelligence will be used extensively for pest and disease detection, and soil nutrient recommendations will consider farmers’ budgets and yield estimates,” said Dr ML Jat, Research Program Director, Resilient Farm and Food Systems, ICRISAT.
Deputy Director General – Research ICRISAT, Dr Arvind Kumar applauded the new collaboration which he said was essential in scientific research for the integration of diverse perspectives, expertise, and data, leading to a more comprehensive understanding of the complex and interconnected nature of soil systems.
Zuari Farmhub is a public limited company engaged in the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of various fertilisers and other agricultural inputs. The company has a strong pan-India sales and distribution network and its own agricultural development laboratories. As part of the Adventz Group, it has emerged as an agritech company and operates modern agri-retail outlets across rural markets in India. The company envisages offering access to technologies suited to the agronomic situations of farmers.