Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) has recognized the Community Agrobiodiversity Centre of M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation as one of the Grant-in-Aid institutions. The support was extended mainly to strengthen the agrobiodiversity initiatives of the Centre across Kerala state. This includes research and extension services for building models on the conservation and sustainable utilization of agro-bioresources of the State. The support for the Centre has confined under five different heads of accounts that are Community Agrobiodiversity, Wild Biodiversity, Climate Action towards adaptation, Sustainable Village Development and Community Knowledge & Skill development.

On May 14, 2018, Shri Pinarayi Vijayan, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Kerala, made this announcement at the inaugural ceremony of the Rural Innovators Meet, 2018.

Details of Activities

Documentation of agrobiodiversity in the Malabar region has been initiated and study has been progressing across various districts. A plot for the conservation of traditional and wild tuber germplasm (Dioscorea, Colocasia, Alocasiaspp and turmeric) is established at the centre.
A nursery for the multiplication of the cultivated and wild crops maintained by the homesteads of Wayanad is also maintained at the centre. Besides, a nursery for multiplication and conservation of around 100 RET species in the southern Western Ghats is also being maintained at the centre. Custodian farmers who are conserving traditional varieties of paddy and tubers have also been identified for field conservation

A farmer group from Kaniyambetta Panchayath has been identified for establishing yield enhancement demo plot through Modified SRI in traditional paddy variety by following climate-resilient agricultural practices.
A research trial plot for studying the impact of biochar on ginger is currently under progress at the Centre with 6 treatments and 3 replications to promote soil health in line with climate-resilient agriculture. Physical and chemical properties of soil i.e. porosity, bulk density, water holding capacity, pH, EC, CEC, Organic Carbon, N, P, K and other macro and micronutrients will be studied before and after treatments. Yield and other plant characteristics will also be taken into account under the study.
Work has been progressing to document climate-resilient agricultural practices in Wayanad to prepare a toolkit on climate-resilient agriculture.

Various activities were initiated as part of Sustainable Village Development programme in selected villages. Input support in form of vermi compost from the centre and vegetable seedlings were distributed to 30 tribal households for initiating kitchen gardens in the selected vilages. 1050 fruit tree saplings (Avocado, Jackfruit, Mango, Sapota, custard apple, Jamun, Amla, Guava, Papaya, Water apple, Lemon) were also distributed to 50 rural and tribal households to ensure food and nutrition security. Planting material for cultivation of ginger, turmeric, yam, Dioscorea and Colocasia was distributed among 48 tribal households in selected villages viz Kaniyambetta Panchayat (Cholappara and VallipattaPaniya colonies), Kollimoodukunnu Paniya hamlet at Vandiyambetta village of Kottathara Panchayat, and Noolpuzha Panchayat. 3 rain shelters were also constructed (10m X 5m X 3m) and 1 renovated for farmers’ groups for seasonal vegetable cultivation in Sugandhagiri Village of Vythiri Panchayat, Vandiyambetta of Kottathara Panchayat, Meenangadi Panchayat (where the rain shelter renovated) and in Noolpuzha Panchayat. With increase in climate vagaries, farmers have a need for protected cultivation and also women groups are interested in nursery raising for vegetables and ornamental plant species.Offseason cultivation of vegetables through rainshelter and seedling nursery raising will also help in additional income generation for the farmers. 1 Mask making unit, paper plate & bamboo straw unit and biofertilizer unit operated by women groups were supported under the programme. Strengthening of 1 existing community village knowledge centre and 1 community library was also carried out for the benefit of community. Drainage line treatment for the farmers was carried out in Noolpuzha village to ensure irrigation facilities in the concerned area.

As part of Community Knowledge and Skill Development component, three trainings and capacity building activities were carried out. An Awareness programme on Biodiversity Conservation, Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change was conducted and 50 school students from in and around Wayanad attended the two days programme. Topics in the programme were Role of students in biodiversity conservation, sustainable agriculture and its importance, Bio-cultural diversity and climate change and its challenges. Along with the sessions, documentary showcase, poster making and quiz were also organized. Another training programme on Entrepreneurial Opportunities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic was organized for Gulf returnees and farmers and sessions were given on various topics like entrepreneurial opportunities in agriculture, livestock and related sectors, financial literacy, various government schemes for funding, business startup and loans, etc. along with interaction with successful agripreneur and marketer The training was attended by 21 participants. A one-day training programme on climate resilient agricultural practices in disaster prone Wayanad with specific focus on paddy farmers was also organized and was attended by 24 men and women farmers.