Continuing with Dr. Soumitro Chakraborty’s interview:
Please mention a few projects with short descriptions of the same.
Currently, we are working on multiple environment-based projects, one of them being an environment and livelihood project with PI industries.
PI Foundation, a trust supported by PI Industries, which is a leading Agricultural Input, Custom Synthesis and Manufacturing company; is working with us to implement their CSR initiative of ‘Income Generation Program through Sustainable Agriculture’ among the farmers in Odisha. At present, Odisha like other states of the country is facing challenges related to water scarcity, soil degradation, productivity, rising costs of labor and energy.
As a part of our project, the sustainable agriculture practices entail the adoption and mainstreaming of the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) among the small and marginal farmers. The intervention lays emphasis on agricultural practices, which are less expensive and sustainable and those that require a lesser amount of water, energy resources and labor.
Contextually, the project aims to skill over 1000 farmers by giving hands-on training on the working of seed drillers, sowing method, insect pest management, judicious use of farm inputs and other extended services over the next two years. Thereby, we enable agriculture on the sustainable lines of production in the Rayagada district of Odisha. The focus is also on product stewardship. The project operates in 7 districts of Odisha ensuring livelihood security and improvement in the quality of the life of the farmers. It is expected that this project will set an example for other corporations too, that investments in sustainable agricultural interventions can surely impact the livelihood of our farmers and also help educate them to practice sustainable methods which are favorable to the ecological support system.
On the other hand, earlier last year Uflex in conjunction with Fiinovation had successfully rolled out rainwater harvesting and plantation interventions at two villages of Gautam Buddha Nagar District of Uttar Pradesh through the implementation agency AROH Foundation. This year, Uflex in association with Fiinovation is replicating the success story at a village near Malanpur in Bhind District of Madhya Pradesh through ‘Bal Mahila Vikas Samiti’, a non-profit organization and a leading Micro Financing Institution of Madhya Pradesh that has been working towards rural development, child rights promotion, poverty alleviation, water, sanitation, hygiene, environment and natural resource management. The initiative in Bhind District is a replication of the ongoing intervention in the identified villages of the Gautam Buddha Nagar District in the National Capital Region (NCR) that was acknowledged by ABP News CSR Leadership Award Jury as the ‘Best Environment-Friendly Project’. The initiative quite like the one in NCR aims to build the capacity of the community to conserve and optimize the natural resource base. This would particularly include construction of carefully planned ex-situ rainwater harvesting structures for arresting rainwater and charging the aquifers; organic and inorganic mulching to protect soil cover and focused plantation drives in a village near Malanpur.
What is your support system?
Value system and ethics are the biggest support system in my professional pursuit. Additionally, personal experiences and experiences gathered from others act as a cushioning for support. At the end of the day, it is all about never giving up.
What are you planning for the future?
In the near future, in addition to partnering for effective social programs with bigger organizations, we also look at urging and convincing the MSMEs to be a part of the social development process as these enterprises are integral to large industries as ancillary units and they enormously contribute to the socio-economic development.
At the organizational level, we will exhaustively focus more on the research and strengthen our research and programs team across India.