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A unique collaboration of its kind between University of Agricultural Sciences Dharwad (UASD) and Disability Entrepreneurship and Leadership (DEAL) Foundation is set to transform lives and livelihoods for households of people with disabilities from rural backgrounds in Gadag District.

Under the renewed memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two organisations, UASD will provide technical know-how and consultancy services through a team of scientists to DEAL Foundation for achieving the following objectives.

1. To establish a Integrated Farming Systems (IFS) Model farm involving households of people with disabilities in Dambal Hobli, develop evidence base and replicate the model across Gadag District.

2. IFS components include agriculture, dairy, vermicomposting, horticulture, kitchen gardening, floriculture, apiculture, poultry, goat and sheep rearing and women based agriculture and allied activities viz., tailoring, food processing etc.

3. Foster research through Ph.D. Fellowships to from a disability perspective in the areas of:

– Rural livelihoods and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

– Environmental health, occupational standards and decent work in agriculture and agri-business.

– Food provenance, safety, security, local markets and block-chain technology.

4. Create a self-sustaining organic farming co-operative by and for the benefit of people with disabilities.

5. To effectively engage the community including and lead by people with disabilities in these activities.

6. To build partnership with community institutions and educational establishments, government, NGOs and industrial bodies.

7. To establish and promote good practice and seek continuous improvement in communities.

8. To develop and promote models of best practice across North Karnataka and beyond.

9. To identify opportunities for further collaboration involving UAS Dharwad and relevant institutions based on shared values and interests.

Agricultural Education Extension Unit (AEEU) Gadag under UAS Dharwad will work as a Facilitating Centre for transfer of technical knowledge in liaison with DEAL Foundation by imparting training on various aspects of integrated farming best practices.

Speaking at a briefing event at Mevundi on Thursday 17 September, Mr Surendra Shroff, Co-Founder DEAL Foundation said “The collaboration between DEAL Foundation, UASD, people with disabilities and the community at large is instrumental to improving life chances and opportunities for households of people with disabilities and for building resilient, inclusive and sustainable communities”.

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