Rural Futures

The Rural Futures programme co-designs practices to improve small and marginal farmers’ incomes, their access to markets and finance, and land-use management, especially of degraded lands. We do this through collaborations integrating the best available science with local knowledge and emphasising solutions that centre farmers’ needs.

Approaches

Publications

Team

Approaches

Land Restoration

To restore degraded agricultural land in Karnataka’s Raichur and Koppal districts, we are working with a local NGO called Prarambha to identify restoration processes, end-user needs and interventions that are locally suitable but adaptable to multiple contexts. We follow the seven-step approach adopted by the Alliance for Reversing Ecosystem Service Threats (AREST), a coalition of partners designing and implementing strategies to restore India’s degraded lands.

Enhancing farmer incomes through value addition and income diversification is crucial for restoration to be successful in the long term. In this endeavour, we are identifying a bouquet of farm-scale interventions to help farmers make informed decisions. These take into account resources, partners, value propositions, target markets and economic viability.

The WELL Labs team conducting interviews with farmers for the baseline assessment. This exercise forms the basis for restoration activities in Raichur, where large parts of agricultural land is degraded. Credit: Muddurangappa Nayaka from the Prarambha team.

Conducting interviews with farmers for the baseline assessment. This exercise forms the basis for restoration activities in Raichur, where large parts of agricultural land is degraded. Credit: Muddurangappa Nayaka from the Prarambha team.

Regenerative Agriculture

Farmer Prabhakar B in Mulbagal taluk, Kolar district, Karnataka. Photo by Manjunatha G

Regenerative Agriculture

To address land degradation and low productivity, we need to look beyond high-input mono-cropping systems. Our team works with grassroots organisations to promote traditional multi-cropping practices, such as Akkadi Sallu in Karnataka.

These foster biodiversity, make agricultural yields more resilient and safeguard against erratic weather and unpredictable markets.

Publications

Team

Karishma Shelar

Karishma Shelar

Senior Programme Manager
Rural Futures
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Karishma is a Senior Programme Manager with the Rural Futures programme at WELL Labs. She aggregates and integrates the best available science with local demand and aspirations to co-design socio-ecologically responsible restoration of degraded lands.

Her work is multi-layered and focuses on institutions, policy, finance, transitions and adaptive governance mechanisms for agrarian systems. Skilled in qualitative analysis, she applies participatory research techniques, gender analysis, ethnographic research and discourse analysis for scientific assessments of land-use systems.

Karishma previously worked at World Resources Institute (WRI) for over seven years in various capacities, most recently with their Global Restoration Initiative. Here, she conducted restoration opportunity assessments in Sidhi district of Madhya Pradesh and co-developed the MAPTenure platform to address the orange area land conflict in Central India.

She holds an MA in Development Studies from the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and a BA in Sociology and Economics from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai.

Aditya Maruvada

Aditya Maruvada

Assistant Project Manager
Rural Futures
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Aditya Maruvada is the Assistant Manager in the Rural Futures programme at WELL Labs.

Aditya has worked for over five years with companies and organisations centred around smallholder interests and sustainable agriculture. His first professional stint of four years was with Safe Harvest, a company that connects smallholder FPOs practicing pesticide-free agriculture with organised markets. He then pursued a Master’s in Development Studies from the Institute Of Social Studies in the Hague. He returned to India and resumed working with the NPM (Non-Pesticidal Management) Network, an implementation organisation that he helped establish, which works on solving issues around smallholder sustainable agriculture from production to certification to marketing.

Aditya has a Bachelor’s in Architecture from the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee and a PG Diploma in Liberal Arts and Leadership from Ashoka University, Sonepat. Aditya loves to read, watch films and, from time to time, design.

Syamkrishnan P Aryan

Syamkrishnan P Aryan

Senior Modeller
Rural Futures
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Syamkrishnan P Aryan is Manager - Business Modelling with the Rural Futures programme at WELL Labs.

Syamkrishnan has around six years of experience in working with governments, social enterprises, cooperatives and start-ups, including over three years of product management experience in the dairy-tech sector. He is passionate about social entrepreneurship and social impact, which inspired him to run a textile manufacturing firm that provided employment to over a 100 women. He has worked with the Kerala government on a project called ‘Revamp and Renovation of Handloom sector’ and launched the handloom designer wear brand 'Hornbill' as part of the project. He was also associated with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) for the mid-term assessment of the 'Mission Kakatiya' project by the Government of Telangana.

Syam has completed his post-graduation in Rural Management from the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) and B.Tech in electrical engineering from College of Engineering, Trivandrum. Syam is interested in books, music, the local economy, food sovereignty and agro-tourism.

Manjunatha G

Manjunatha G

Field Engagement Officer
Rural Futures
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Manjunatha G is a Field Partnerships Associate with the Rural Futures programme at WELL Labs. Spearheading the fieldwork for various projects, he has completed in-depth case studies of over 40 sustainable farms in the districts around Bengaluru and has carefully documented alternative agricultural practices of these farmers.

Manju joined ATREE in 2014 as a field coordinator in the IDRC-funded ‘Adapting to Climate Change in Urbanising Watersheds’ project. In the course of that project, he ran a number of water literacy programmes in TG Halli catchment, educating farmers on the need for soil and water conservation. He also ran a participatory groundwater monitoring effort for many years and has coordinated several training programmes on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) for Government of Karnataka engineers.

Prior to joining ATREE, Manjunatha spent four years as coordinator of the Arkavathy Kumudvathi Nadi Punashchetana Samithi (AKNPS), a civil society movement dedicated to rejuvenation of the Arkavathy watershed. Manjunatha has a Master’s degree in Sociology from Kuvempu University, Shivamogga, Karnataka. His hobbies are trekking, reading, and playing outdoor games.