ICARDA Lead Scientist Wins India Agri-Extension Award 2021
Dr. Chandrashekhar Biradar, Team Leader of ICARDA’s GeoAgro for Sustainable Agroecosystems, was awarded the India Agri-Extension Award 2021 in Innovation in Agricultural Extension.
This recognition, which rewards his exemplary contribution in digital augmentation for accelerating sustainable agroecosystems and agricultural extension for farmers empowerment in India and beyond, was officially announced on April 9 during a virtual awards ceremony and panel discussion.
In a warming world, small family farmers who operate in the dry areas face absolute uncertainty when it comes to water and input supplies, crop productivity and market access, which all greatly affects their ability to plan and secure income, nutrition, and livelihoods.
Dr. Biradar’s innovation, developed with the GeoAgro team, can lift a lot of this crippling unpredictability at the farm-level. Choosing which crop to grow, when, and which crop rotation pattern is well suited to a particular location is greatly facilitated by GeoAgro’s site specific recommendations.
“Our innovation can also advise small family farmers on input saving techniques, carbon sequestration, and yield improvement to increase their income, resilience, and sustainability,” Dr. Biradar explained.
Big-data analytics, cloud computing, and ICT enabled citizen science can help precisely characterize a farming systems’ dynamics, identify inefficiencies, and address the gaps in data, soil health, ecology and resilience needed to implement agroecological interventions.
GeoAgro’s objective is fully aligned with that of the CGIAR Platform for Big Data: harnessing Big Data and information technology to accelerate and enhance the impact of international agricultural research, to drive equitable rural development.
Digitally empowered agricultural extension officers, in charge of bringing the latest agronomic science and practices to farmers, play a key role in reducing farmers’ uncertainty.
“Across the world, we are witnessing agricultural digitalization becoming the norm, and the focus shifting from general recommendations to site-specific ones,” explained Dr. Biradar, adding that GeoAgro leverages Big Data and local intelligence to empower researchers, extension agents, decision-makers, and farmers.
Given the increased demand for this tool, further investment will be needed to scale out agricultural research digitalization and outreach across the smallholder production systems.
“I am beyond excited to have received this award in recognition of our team’s work, said Dr. Biradar. “I would like to thank the Agriculture Today group, national partners and sustainable advocates for working towards empowering agriculture extension, increasing farmers profit and climate resilience” he said.