The Asian Agri-History Foundation (AAHF), a non-profit trust, was established and registered in 1994 to facilitate dissemination of information on agricultural history to promote research on sustainable agriculture in the South and Southeast Asia region. This region had generally provided food security to its population for several millennia, with only occasional famines in a few limited pockets (due primarily to drought). Farmers in the region had evolved some of the most sustainable agricultural management technologies suitable for different agroecoregions. In recent years, however, South and Southeast Asia have often been projected as food-deficient regions where mass-scale starvation could occur in the future despite the fact that modern technologies have been adopted over large areas.
Ironically, in the past few years, the sustainability of agriculture by following modern technologies has been questioned, and with good reason. How can we make the agriculture in South and Southeast Asia sustainable? The trustees of AAHF believe that there is great deal to be learnt from the traditional wisdom and the indigenous, time-tested technologies that have sustained the farmers of South and Southeast Asia in the past. The historical perspective of gradual development of traditional technologies will provide clues for
(i) understanding how farmers adjusted to changing environment in the past, and
(ii) developing appropriate technologies leading to prosperous, sustainable agriculture.
The Rajasthan Chapter
A large number of distinguished individuals from the Rajasthan state of India wanted to establish a Rajasthan Chapter of the Asian Agri-History Foundation (AAHF). The trustees of AAHF had set up the following guidelines for establishing a Chapter. These are: (i) normally there will not be more than one Chapter in any one state; (ii) there should not be less than 50 subscribers (to the journal) in the particular state; (iii) a Chapter can be set up at a location in a state where at least 20 subscribers (to the journal) reside; (iv) a formal request for setting up a Chapter should originate from a group of subscribers; and (v) the group, making the request to set up a Chapter, should confirm their genuine interest in promoting the objectives and activities of the AAHF.
Since all the above criteria were fulfilled, the trustees of AAHF approved the formation of the Rajasthan Chapter in Udaipur. The Chapter was formally inaugurated on 16 December 2000. The Executive Committee of the Chapter currently constitutes the following: Dr K N Nag (Chairman), Dr S L Choudhary (Secretary), Dr P D Gemawat (Treasurer), and members Dr M M Simlot, Dr B S Chundawat and Dr Abhishek Shukla. AAHF has made some funds available for specific activities of the Chapter. However, the Chapter is raising its own resources. THis Chapter is likely to be merged with the head quarters.
Two New Chapters were established in 2008
19 September 2008
Uttarakhand Chapter of Asian Agri-History Foundation was inaugurated during the National conference on Increasing Production and Productivity of Medicinal & Aromatic Plants through Traditional Practices held at GBPUAT, Pantnagar from 18 to 20 September. A brief ceremony was held under the Chairmanship of Vice-Chancellor,BS Bisht, GBPUAT, Pantnagar. YL Nene, Chairman, AAHF was the Chief Guest on the occasion. Others who were present during the function included Deans, Directors, and other officers, some members of AAHF from Uttarakhand, and SL Choudhary, Secretary, Rajasthan Chapter of AAHF. JP Tiwari, Dean, College of Agriculture welcomed all and recalled relevance of traditional agriculture to the modern agriculture. Dr Nene narrated the objectives and vision of AAHF and enumerated the purpose of creating Uttarakhand Chapter. He read out the Executive Body of Uttarakhand Chapter of AAHF, which included BS Bisht, ViceChancellor, GBPUAT - Patron; JP Tiwari, Dean, College of Agriculture - President; J Kumar, Professor & Head, Plant Pathology - Secretary; ML Sharma, Professor, College of Agri-Business Management - Treasurer. Members in the Executive Body included B Kumar, Sunita T Pandey, Saul Tiwari, Vir Singh, Alka Goel, Uma Malkania, SC Saxena, and AH Ahmad. SL Choudhary presented a set of publications to BS Bisht and gave an account of functiomng of Rajasthan Chapter of AAHF. BS Bisht expressed his pleasure on the creation of Uttarakhand Chapter of AAHF and realized that creation of such a chapter was necessary to understand and rejuvenate traditional agriculture in the State of Uttarakhand. He stressed that such knowledge must be integrated into modern cultivation practices so as to improve as well as sustain agriculture production and productivity. J Kumar expressed thanks to Nene for his offer of creating Uttarakhand Chapter and assured that all efforts would be made in realizing the vision of AAHF.
14 November 2008
West Bengal Chapter of Asian Agri-History Foundation was inaugurated prior to the National Seminar on Improving Productivity and Quality of Tea through Traditional Agricultural Practices at the University of North Bengal, Siliguri, West Bengal. A brief ceremony was held in the presence of University staff, Tea Estates managers, and press reporters. YL Nene, Chairman, AAHF inaugurated the Chapter after explaining the purpose and scope of chapters throughout India. The office bearers Executive Committee members are:
Ashok Lohia, Patron; RS Tewari, Chairman; VS Parmar, Vice-chairman; Rajesh Pareek, Secretary;
VN Pareek, Treasurer; Members - GC Somani, Anil Bansal, Sandeep Mukherjee, JD Rai, Daipayan Sen.