During a one week visit to the MSSRF, based in Chennai, India from the 20-24th of February, 2018, Dr Dismas Mwaseba of Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Tanzania and Dr. Donald Njarui of Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) were trained on the logistics and operational dynamics of a Village Knowledge Centre (VKC). The two scientists will be using the knowledge gained at MSSRF, to set up two VKCs in InnovAfrica project. VKCs primary aim will be to disseminate timely and appropriate information to farmers on sustainable agricultural technologies in Tanzania and Kenya.

The training was conducted at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in Chennai followed by field visit in Trichy district, where VKCs were set up under ClimaAdapt project funded by Norway and implemented by NIBIO, the project coordinator of InnovAfrica. The training focused on setting up, organization, management, knowledge transfer to farmers and sustainability of VKC. During the field visit, the scientists witnessed the functioning of the VKC including operation of Plant Clinic and sharing of information through video and audio conferencing.

The visiting scientists also had the opportunity to meet Prof Swaminathan, the founder of MSSRF and popularly known as, ‘Indian Father of Green Revolution. From -MSSRF, Dr Nancy Anabel and her team organized and conducted the training and Dr Rajkumar for the field visit. The farmers of Trichy and Pudukottai districts participated in the field visits to share their experiences from VKCs.

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Paying a courtesy call to Prof Swaminathan (middle). From left are Nancy Anabel, Director of IEC at MSSRF, Dismas Mwaseba, Donald Njarui and Ms Priyanka (Trainer)
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ICT equipment in the VKC at Onangudi village in Pudukottai District, Tamil Nadu State
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Farmers from Mampathi Village Knowledge Centre, Tirachirapalli District bring their unhealthy plant materials to Plant clinic for diseases/pest identification and advice