(from his LinkedIn post, re-posting with his permission)

What does it take to hold a dream for twenty years?

What does it take to hold a dream for twenty years and see it manifest in front of your eyes? Ramanjaneyulu GV‘s Krishna Sudha Academy of Agroecology is one such dream and I was lucky to spend a day there recently with Ramoo Garu in the company of Manan Bhan.

As their website puts it eloquently, a “transdisciplinary research and education centre working on agroecology as an alternative paradigm for food, farming and livelihoods in a growing ecological, economic, and social crisis.”

I learned from Ramoo Garu that this is the third centre in the world dedicated to agroecology after the Rodale Institute in the US and the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL in Europe.

The gorgeous campus set in the backdrop of hills and mango orchards can accommodate eighty students and I also attended a session in the ongoing course that was being organized in Hindi for participants from Odisha and Uttarakhand on “Extension Services for Organic/Natural Farming”. The participants were a passionate lot, deeply committed to reversing the soil and health crisis unfolding in the country.

Equipped with state-of-the-art research facilities for MRL testing, seed banks, soil tests, preparation of mother culture for bio-fertilizers and food processing, Ramoo Garu has grand plans for this place with dreams to set up a curated history museum that chronicles the innovations of Indian Agriculture and how far we’ve come.

The most delightful part of the meeting was the opportunity to ask questions of all kinds and get an informal crash course on the policy history of Indian Agriculture. Every time I talked about a new business model innovation that was happening in one part of the world, I got to hear its Indian equivalent from Ramoo Garu and learn deeply about the different policy experiments that were attempted by previous governments, both in the Center and State.

Did you know that the Vajpayee Government had mooted a farm income insurance scheme back in the day? Did you know about Chandrababu Naidu’s Kuppam Village experiment of collective farming?

Indian Agriculture lacks institutional policy memory. Today, if we float a new scheme or policy to serve farmers, there is no place where you could check out an archive of policy experiments of similar kinds.

We don’t have an archive of policy experiments that have worked and not worked in this country. Unless we talk to experienced professionals who have seen so many agrarian seasons under the sun and learn from their oral history, we miss out on learning from the vast amount of experiments that have been conducted in this country.

I plan to document a deeper series of podcasts to curate his vast knowledge of the history of Indian agriculture. I also see tremendous potential to bridge the world of agribusiness and agritech with agroecology and I hope to explore synergies to see if we can take this dream forward.

Can the next generation take these dreams forward and build sustainable futures for farmers?

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