In a landmark move, a school in Kerala is all set to introduce sustainable agriculture courses into its Plus Two syllabus to help achieve Goal Number Two of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) for 2016.
In a tie-up with the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF)-funded Centre for Research on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development, the AvittamThirunal Government Vocational Higher Secondary School, Moncompu in the Kuttanad region of Alapuzha is all set to introduce a sustainable agricultural course at its 10+2 level from 6 February.
A Quint report notes that what adds to its significance is that the school is located in a region designated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as a “Globally Important Agriculture Heritage Site” too.
Dr. Padmakumar, Project Director of the International Research Centre for Below Sea-Level Farming at Kuttanad elaborates: “The idea for this Research Centre as well as the introduction of a sustainable agriculture course at school-level came from MS Swaminathan himself. This should be seen in the backdrop of the Climate Change our world is facing.”
Climate Change, Padmakumar says, is now giving rise to a new phenomenon called ‘climate refugees’ who are people sorely affected by unseasonal floods like the ones in Chennai and Jammu.
“Due to this, our low-lying coastal areas get severely affected. Organic agriculture developed on scientific lines is the need of the hour. Both the Research Centre as well as the school-level agriculture course are our steps in this direction to come up with a sustainable model of below sea-level farming which will revolutionize the agriculture sector in the long run as well as contribute to the preservation of our coastal areas from Nature’s ravages,” he adds .
Mr. Swaminathan is hopeful that the school will set a pioneering example to neighboring schools as well as those located in other agriculturally important areas so that –as he prefers to put it- sustainable agriculture becomes the norm in rural India.