The project attempted to collaborate with maximum people to co-create these futures. The project aimed at speculating the futures ‘with the people’ instead of ‘for the people. The objective was to find meaning in the everyday approach of the people of Melghat and then combine it with the modern thought through co-creation. MAHAN Trust, Melghat was one of the partners who helped with the field research. Together with the farmers of Melghat, MAHAN, NID the project developed a vision of how the emerging technologies would exist in a hopeful world. It is also an inquiry into how these technologies could become a part of the local culture.
The resulting outcomes are speculative representations and prototypes of alternative agricultural futures. These representations and prototypes are documented and will be shared through public forums to provoke consideration of new assemblages that might emerge at the intersection of technology and agriculture. These speculations are based on trends and design principles synthesised from the research conducted with the MAHAN and the farming community of Melghat. The project also sets out to explore what disruptive innovations need to occur in order to reach this vision.
Interventions for the future
Technological change is leading to shifts in our values and perceptions. In order to harness the potential of the emerging technologies successfully, technological innovations and transformations on a social, political as well as economic level are required. That's why the implementation of these technologies also depends crucially on acceptance of the society. While technical innovations are being developed ever faster, it is not always easy for us as a society to keep pace with the speed of the associated changes. Our cultures and behaviours do not change as quickly as the world around us.
Images of the future technological shape of societies are legion. However, equally legion are the failures to realize the projected
futures of technologies. Radical innovation is accompanied by claims about future states of the world where particular technologies are envisaged as key determinants of social, economic and cultural life. Digital technologies are allied with claims about the ‘end of geography’ and ‘the death of distance’ – the coming of the ‘Zero-friction society’. Radically different images, utopian and nightmarish, have been offered, for example, about ‘a coming era of nanotechnology’. (Horner, 2005).
If agriculture goes wrong, nothing else will have a chance to go right in the country.
-M. S. Swaminathan
Farming is the fabric of rural society. It is necessary to support the economic and social infrastructure. While agriculture’s share in India’s economy has progressively declined to less than 15% due to the high growth rates of the industrial and services sectors, the sector’s importance in India’s economic and social fabric goes well beyond this indicator. First, nearly three-quarters of India’s families depend on rural incomes. Second,
the majority of India’s poor (some 770 million people or about 70 percent) are found in rural areas. And third, India’s food security depends on producing cereal crops, as well as increasing its production of fruits, vegetables and milk to meet the demands of a growing population with rising incomes. To do so, a productive, competitive, diversified and sustainable agricultural sector will need to emerge at an accelerated pace.