Introduction

About Prolinnova–South India

Innovations and practices developed by farmers and local communities for addressing location-specific needs, based on practical knowledge andlocal resources, are gaining more and more importance and significance, especially in the present agrarian crises of climate change, agricultural biodiversity erosion and food insecurity.

Prolinnova–South India, a multistakeholder platform formed in 2020,intends to strengthen and supplement the experimentation and innovation capacities of local farmers and local communities. It is committed to developing processes, procedures and programmes for supporting experimentation in local communities and for mainstreaming farmer innovation processes and results in the formal agricultural research and development (ARD) system. Prolinnova–South India seeks to bring together NGOs, academic institutions, students, the private sector and government ARD institutionsand also to mobilise support to this end.

The multistakeholder platform is hosted by Peermade Development Society, located in IdukkiDistrict in Kerala. Network members include organisations from various sectors and bring different types of expertise and different perspectivesinto promoting local innovation processes. The founding members of the platform are Marian College Kuttikanum (an educational institute with Roy Abraham as Principal), Lacon India (a private company for certification of organic products, with Bobby Issacas Managing Director), Creativiti Council (a non-profit company providing support systems for local innovators, co-founded by T.J. James) and St Thomas Society,Mission Society Mandya, Karnataka (an NGO specialised in rural development, coordinated by Hubby Mathew).

Prolinnova–South India engages in:

  • Experimenting with novel approaches to promote farmers’ innovations
  • Capacity building of various partners in processes of promoting farmer innovation and farmer-led joint experimentation
  • Scaling up and sharing of innovations and participatory innovation development (PID) processes with other regions and countriesin the internationalProlinnova network
  • Institutionalising the approach of recognising local innovation and facilitating PID
  • Mainstreaming local innovation and PID in formal ARD institutions.

The core areas of focus are Natural Resource Management, Agroecology, Food Security and Climate ChangeAdaptation with special focus on innovation by women.

Initially, the geographical coverage will be South India but the network hopes to expand over time also to other parts of India.

Prolinnova–South India is governed by a National Steering Committee composed of:

  1. Haridas V.R (Head, Climate-Adaptive Agriculture and Livelihood – Caritas India)
  2. Mathew Abraham (Agricultural Officer, Government of Kerala)
  3. (Ms) Suzanna Ommen (Assistant Professor, Marian College Kuttikanum)
  4. T.J. James, ex-officio member (Prolinnova–South India Coordinator)