Kickoff visit in India

Partner’s orientation and planning workshop for “Consumption of Resilient Orphan Crop for Products for Healthier Diets” (CROPS4HD) project was held in the first week of August this year. This meeting brought all the project coordination and implementation together to build a shared understanding of the roles, functions, and responsibilities for the inception and main phase. Workshop participants visited community seed banks established by the farm groups. Later, a focused group discussion was done to understand the present status of seed bank design and operations with a particular reference to NUS crops.

FiBL team also visited Alliance Bioversity-CIAT premises in New Delhi to formalize the collaboration, check the status of Seed multiplication trials and upcoming training on Citizen Science approach. Two baseline surveys to understand the status of NUS production at the farm level and the perception of consumers about NUS has been planned to be completed in the inception phase. To roll out both surveys efficiently and effectively, SWISSAID India office and FiBL team agreed on a work plan, responsibilities and timeframe. Extended discussions were made on capacity development, farmer training schedule and implementation of field trials.

A marathon of enumerators’ training to conduct both baseline survey were conducted in October with three implementing partners in Odhisha, Karnataka, and West Bengal. These trainings focused on developing the core understanding of the content of survey questionnaire, key considerations for sampling methodology for identifying the targeted respondents and sample size, providing first-hand experience to the animators navigating through the survey app and troubleshooting. Trainees were engaged through role-plays to mimic the natural field settings for enhanced learning and experience. Special attention was given to approaching and dealing with a different types of respondents. Most importantly, enumerators were encouraged and trained for survey etiquettes. Both the baseline PUSH and PULL surveys are commenced post trainings. 

In pursuit to implementing field trials during ongoing season, the PUSH Implementation Training Workshop is scheduled from 22-23 November in Kolkata. These trainings will primarily focus on developing the concept of participatory plant breeding including layout, protocols and management of participatory on-station and on-farm trials. A special session is also scheduled to train coordinators on data recording and management. Back-to-back ongoing efforts in the last quarter have paved the way for successful execution of project activities. This project has already begun to catch the attention of direct and indirect beneficiaries and important stakeholders representing different sectors, reflecting the potential of this project as a significant change agent.