Climate change is causing increasing extreme conditions and unpredictable weather patterns. This poses an immense challenge for millions of farmers who rely on predictable rains and consistent temperatures to ensure their harvest. Gaining knowledge about best practices for overcoming these changing conditions is therefore crucial for the well-being of the individual farmer and the local communities.
The Knowledge Centres, built in partnership between the Norwegian Institute for Bioeconomy (NIBIO) and the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), have been tasked with providing farmers and agricultural labourers with knowledge about better farming practices related to climate-smart agriculture, animal husbandry, health and nutrition, employment, education and government entitlements. They also have a special focus on promoting the empowerment of women in farming by providing training, knowledge sharing and access to modern computer technology.
The knowledge shared at the centres not only safeguards the existing crops, but also has the potential to increase farm yields considerably and boosting the local economy. According to one of the beneficiaries of the program, Ms Kunilata Das, the effect of the Village Knowledge Centres is already apparent: “The VKC is not only hand holding us in the crop cultivation but also empowers us in learning the recent advances of crop husbandry and animal health. This has allowed us to double our farm income.”
The two Village Knowledge Centres in Odisha join three others already established in Assam. The government of Norway works closely with Indian counterparts in facilitating such sustainable development projects.