Because of the unseasonal rains (which lashed central India after midnight, accompanied by lightning and power failures) most of the participants at Baramati VI  arrived late at the venue. At the dinner table, at starting time, there were just three other participants who had flown in from abroad, via Mumbai.
Because of the unseasonal rains (which lashed central India after midnight, accompanied by lightning and power failures) most of the participants at Baramati VI arrived late at the venue.
At the dinner table, at starting time, there were just three other participants who had flown in from abroad, via Mumbai.
Frida Youssel, a Lebanese lady based in Geneva, is coordinator for UNCTAD (the UN’s Conference on Trade and Development)  finance and risk management commodities branch. We shared ideas on Lebanon’s senseless civil war, its site Baldati.com3 to keep villages in touch with the outside world including the large number of expats from the country and the impact of Lebanese food in the most unlikely places of the globe including six kms away from my village back in Goa!
Dr Youssef, who has visited other parts of India in the past, is keen to look at successful attempts of ICT in agriculture.
PJAM (Peter) Smeets, drs. is from the Alterra Landscape Centre in the Wageningen UR in the Netherlands . He spoke on e-agroparks in the Netherlands, somewhat hi-tech stuff with more interest on the business side.
Edwin Moyo of Zimbabwe, the CEO of the Trans Zambezi Industries Ltd, was also present early, having come in via the Kenya Airlines flight (one of the few from that continent that connects Africa with India, apart from South Africa and Ethiopian airlines). But he didn’t have a card on hand, so that will have to wait.
Gopi N Ghosh was a known face. We’ve been in touch through BytesForAll. He’s currently the assistant FAO representative and resource person (for food and nutrition security) at New Delhi.He heads FAO’s knowledge management network and is part of the Solutions Exchange that shares useful agri info.5
Later, on the bus home, this expert with a long experience in agriculture (including the G B Pant University), spoke about growing areas for concern about agriculture in India. Ghosh has had long experience in this field.
Together with him wer ehis colleagues Bidisha Pillai (research associate, food and nutrition security community) and Shailza Kapani (operations assistant, knowledge management partnership project). Both have the link for the Solutions Exchange prominently mentioned on their visiting cards.
Another familiar face was that of sai sreekanth m (who spells his name in lower case on his cards).  sai was one of those bright young men we met at FOSS.in  2005, the Free/Libre and Open Source Software network conference held last December in Bangalore. There, he was talking on Free Software tools in the world of education.
sai works for Yahoo! . His designation is senior product manager for emerging markets. But he’s passionate about ICT in development, is a member of the BytesForAll  mailing list (now, am I bragging?) He was earlier with HP, looking at how all the silicon and software could make sense to the Indian commonman. sai sees India as among the top ten emerging internet markets globally, and expects a lot of attention and things to happen on this front.
As some of us were discussing over dinner, there are a lot of interesting small projects coming up all over the place, in a country like India. But given our size and poor communication, the left hand doesn’t seem to know what the right hand is doing. If anyone can bring all these together, that would be magic!