I recently visited my aQysta colleagues in Guwahati, in the northeastern region of India, where we started working with small farmers within our Farm Incubator last year. We provide these farmers with renewable irrigation technologies and market linkage services to make them more profitable and climate-resilient.
Guwahati: Birds, cars and dosas
Guwahati is one of India’s fastest-growing cities, located beside the mighty Brahmaputra river in the region of Assam. Assam is known for its lush green landscapes, varied wildlife and bountiful natural resources. It is also one of the world’s largest tea-producing regions. The throe between human development and nature is very present in Guwahati. The sounds I remember the most are the beautiful bird sounds in the quiet spots, and the endless car honking in the more crowded areas. Guwahati’s traffic chaos is a true spectacle in itself, of which I failed to make any sense. As my colleague, Bipasha, told me: “the one rule we have in traffic is that there are no rules”.
Rural Assam: Farmers, scarfs and TV crews
It was delightful to meet happy farmers, who appeared very grateful for the opportunity provided to them by our colleagues, Biplab and Kalpa, who have been born and raised in the farmers’ communities. There seemed to be an environment of trust between the farmers and the aQysta staff, which felt like a community working together instead of a transactional relationship. The farmers also explained that this collaboration’s impact reaches beyond raising their productivity and incomes, as they believe they can now inspire future generations by making farming more attractive as a profession.
Meghalaya: Spices, water pumps and long drives
During the last few days of my trip, we visited Meghalaya (‘land of the clouds’), a mountain state in the northeastern region of India famous for its spice crops (like ginger and turmeric), where we also aim to establish a presence soon. We were invited by a local priest interested in showcasing our “Barsha Pump”, a hydro-powered water pump that uses the power of nearby flowing water sources (like rivers and channels) to pump water to farmers’ fields. This renewable solution could support his community with reliable irrigation for growing their crops. After having lunch together, we set out to find a place in the area with a sufficient flow rate for the Barsha Pump to operate to see an example of the pump in action. After a successful site visit, we prepared ourselves for the long drive home.
It was great connecting with my Indian colleagues during the many hours we spent together in the car. My colleague Biplab asked me to name similarities between the Dutch and Indian people, which I found challenging to find at that moment. What we share most, in my opinion, is an entrepreneurial mindset with an eye for making deals and for getting things done together. Many people I met in India, from farmers to investors, seemed to look at the world through opportunities, which always excited me. That feeling also gives me confidence in future partnerships we can establish in India and increase the positive impact we can make on small farmers’ livelihoods.
I look forward to actively being part of that.
Martijn Piek (Fundraising Officer, aQysta)
To help us reach more farmers in Assam with renewable irrigation technologies and climate-smart farming practices, please support us at: https://www.sumting.org/product/aqysta-farm-incubator