A quiet revolution of sorts is under way in Kanthalloor, a scenic village in Kerala surrounded by the Western Ghats and a fertile agricultural paradise. Historically, over 18 varieties of millets were grown in this region, but today it has dwindled to just two types. Farmers of this village had given up on traditional millet cultivation due to factors such as climate change and a lack of formal market access. Only one tribal community, deep within the protected forests, continues to grow millets for self-consumption.
To revive millet production in this secluded community, Lenovo’s smart technology will play a pivotal role in improving accessibility, increasing awareness around the benefits of millet cultivation, and enhancing local farming knowledge and best practices. Market linkages are essential to transforming the millet food system into a profitable and sustainable model that supports rural livelihoods. Building digital inclusion for local farmers is the first step in this direction.
‘Work for Humankind’ is Lenovo’s global initiative to make a long-lasting difference while working from a remote place with the latest technology. Recently, Lenovo announced the launch of its India edition, which will use its latest devices, services and solutions to revive millet cultivation in Kanthalloor. The project will benefit around 200 households by leveraging Lenovo’s technology ecosystem, enabling farmers to access new-age tech solutions.
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Lenovo employees, student volunteers, agriculture experts, and influencers with diverse skill sets will be chosen to participate in this initiative, supporting the local community in millet cultivation while continuing their regular day jobs remotely from Kanthalloor. Lenovo is partnering with Dream India Network, Organic Kerala, and the Gram Panchayat in Kanthalloor to make this project a success.
“Millets are part of Kanthalloor’s history, and we must revive our traditional farming practices with the help of modern interventions,” said Kanth Mohandas, president, Kanthalloor Gram Panchayat. “Technology, accessibility, and market avenues are necessary to create a profitable model for millet farming. The Gram Panchayat will support awareness-building activities, and work with Lenovo volunteers to increase the production of millets and market linkages in Kanthalloor.”
Shailendra Katyal, managing director, Lenovo India, said, “With India gearing up to become the global millets hub, Lenovo’s ‘Work For Humankind’ initiative will help Kanthalloor’s farmers to make millet cultivation more profitable and sustainable. The project will tap into Lenovo’s broad portfolio from devices such as ThinkPad, Yoga, Motorola Edge, and tablets to solutions and services like Lenovo’s CO2 Offset Service and cloud solutions.”
Hub for research
Lenovo is setting up the ‘Lenovo Digital Centre for Kanthalloor Millets’ at IHRD College Kanthalloor, the first centre of its kind for the millet farming community. The aim of the facility is to become a hub that provides farmers with access to critical information and best practices on millet cultivation, help ‘Work For Humankind’ volunteers gather data and analyse the impact of implemented solutions, develop early adopters in millet production, and build awareness for market linkages.
“Access to information on farming best practices that are rooted in science is key to transforming the current food system into one that is commercially viable and desirable,” said Saju Parackal, CEO, Dream India Network. “We will work with Lenovo volunteers to capture learnings on-the-ground and report the progress of the interventions introduced.”
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ACTION ON THE GROUND
* ‘Work for Humankind’ India aims to revive millet farming practices
* Make millet cultivation commercially viable in Kanthalloor village
* Project to enable farmers access the latest technology and tools
* To benefit around 200 households in Kerala