It is a well-known fact that agricultural extension - including training, guidance and education go a long way in capability building amongst farmers, enabling them to improve agricultural productivity, manage rising production costs and address agricultural sustainability issues in an efficient manner.
Today, there is focused attention on understanding the impact of farming practices on the environment, along with a growing emphasis on incorporating sustainable methods of crop production.
Several emerging challenges confront Indian farmers. To address these challenges, ITC, in partnership with several knowledge partners, has conceptualised a first-of-its-kind Sustainable Agricultural Practices (SAP) Farmer Certification Training Programme in India. The concept of certifying farmers aims at embedding sustainability in each of the practices the farmer undertakes.
The certification course is an intense workshop-cum-knowledge-gaining programme which aims to bring out Sustainable Green Certified Farmers. The programme empowers farmers with skills and capabilities to produce a quality harvest while protecting and sustaining natural resources like soil, water and bio-diversity. At the end of the programme, the farmers leave with a Certificate in Sustainable Farming that is recognised by Government Institutions, Universities, NGOs, Research & Development Institutions and ITC Limited.
Till date, over 430 farmers covering 120 villages in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have been trained under this programme. These 430 sustainable certified farmers act as the centre of excellence growers (Champion Farmers), who in turn transfer the knowledge attained during the certification programme to other farmers in their respective villages.