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Legendary Agriculture Scientist Prof. M S Swaminathan endorses GNFC’s Neem Project
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation signed a MoU with GNFC to share knowledge and resources, under the ambit of Neem Project, for activities related to women empowerment and organic farming.

Chennai, Feb 16: Fulfilling the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister for 100% Neem coating of Urea, Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilisers & Chemicals (GNFC) pioneered the innovative Neem Project that has provided livelihood to rural women and landless labourers for the last three years. M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) invited the Managing Director of GNFC, Dr. Rajiv Kumar Gupta IAS to deliver a special lecture about the Neem Project. Following which, the MoU was signed to forge a partnership, with targeted focus on skill development, women empowerment and organic farming through manufacture of Neem Pesticide, Neem Organic Manure, Neem Oil, Neem Soap, etc.

MSSRF, a not-for-profit trust, was established in 1988 by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist. The Foundation aims to accelerate use of modern science for sustainable agricultural and rural development. MSSRF focuses specifically on tribal and rural communities, with a targeted focus on agrarian issues, skill development and women empowerment. The special lecture’s theme was ‘Towards Sustainable Agriculture – Latest Trends and Developments’. An avant-garde event, it brought to the spotlight various forward-thinking propositions and elaborated on the ingenious stratagem to nurture sustainable and organic farming, and rural development.

The lecture by Dr.Gupta took place at the MSSRF Office at Chennai and was attended by large number of researchers, students, academicians, etc. Prof.Swaminathan, widely recognised as the Father of Green Revolution, was present, along with senior executives of MSSRF. Dr.Gupta explained the genesis and peregrination of the Neem Project, and concluded by elaborating on its replicable model. In particular, the talk expanded on the Neem Project’s contribution to sustainable agriculture by decreasing migration of farmers and generating additional income during the post-harvest period; increasing agricultural investments due to increased annual income; and producing organic products such as Neem De-Oiled Cake Manure and Neem Pesticide.
GNFC used established community structures in rural India to build linkages within its supply chain network for neem seed collection. Since its inception three years ago, by collecting over 45,000MT of Neem seeds, more than INR 45 crore income has been generated for around 4.5 lakh women across 5 states of India. Due to the active participation of grass- root level organisations such as women SHGs, Water Committees, Milk Cooperatives, NGOs, etc., it has been hailed as an example in rural development by UNDP.

Following the lecture, GNFC and MSSRF signed the MoU to synergise their multi-sect expertise and cooperate through mutual sharing of knowledge and resources. Dr.Gupta from GNFC and Dr. V Selvam, Executive Director, MSSRF signed the MoU as a step towards adopting a concerted and systematic approach to collaborating on skill development, women empowerment and organic farming, especially through manufacture of Neem based products. Padma Vibhushan recipient Prof.Swaminathan praised the Neem Project extensively for its pro-poor, pro-women and pro-nature approach.