Dr. Shaik N. Meera assumed the charge of the Director , ICAR-ATARI, Hyderabad on 10 February, 2023.
Shaik N. Meera has notable professional accomplishments in the field of digital agriculture and extension systems, with substantial international experience. With unique blend of domain expertise in ICT and extension, he led large scale impact acceleration efforts in India and abroad.
During 2020-22, he worked as Senior Technical Expert (Digital Agriculture and Extension Systems) at International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). He designed and deployed innovative digital extension strategies and programs across the rural value chains in 18 countries in Near East, North Africa, Central Asia and Europe (NEN) region. He extended technical support to national and International organizations in modernizing their extension programs with Mobile and Cloud Computing.
During 2003-2020, he led 14 large-scale extension, ICT and development projects. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recognized the Rice Knowledge Management Portal developed by him as Consortium Leader, as one of the best use case of digital applications in agriculture (B: C Ratio of 1.46:1).
As National Coordinator of Indian Frontline Demonstrations Program, he coordinated 10,640 FLDs with 106 AICRIP centres and 54 KVKs and had introduced 375 new rice varieties/ hybrids, benefitting 26,600 rice farmers directly. He built Infrastructure worth Rs. 103 Lakhs, contributed to ISO Certification and attracted Rs. 9 crores worth projects. He organized 72 training and capacity development programs.
As a leader of innovative projects, he had contributed to modernizing agricultural extension organizations using a range of digital innovations. That include embedding into EAS: Extension innovations (RiceCheck, Evidence hubs, RCTs, Group approaches), Management Information Systems for AICRIP, extension capacities (e-learning, mobile apps, knowledge banks), livelihoods (smallholder tribal development), financial inclusion (blockchain, e wallets), value chain (ERPs in private extension agencies, traceability), AI enabled Chatbots for extension (Hud Hud), product targeting with GIS/RS (green super rice), markets and local aggregation models (1917i, eFresh), Smart Applications in Irrigation Management (Smartphone based Pump starters) and SME partnerships (e-fresh FDCs), private sector engagement including mentoring of AgTech, Fintech, StartUps (SDGia, Indigram labs). As a Visiting Researcher, helped International Rice Research Institute (Philippines, 2012-13) creating global brand for Rice Knowledge Bank and Rice Doctor. He led multi-disciplinary teams under Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) (2011-2015) and Green Super Rice (GSR) project (IRRI and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 2017-19). For greater impact of rice technologies on poor and marginal farmers, he introduced Rice Check, Evidence Hubs, Video extension, innovation management, FFS and Sustainable Livelihood programmes in public/ private extension organizations. He was a visiting researcher at Iowa State University (2010). He visited 25 countries to design, deploy, share and learn the digital & extension development strategies for organizations. He received twelve national and international awards that include ICAR Lal Bahadur Shastri Outstanding Young Scientist award (2014). He published about 200 research papers, policy briefs, blogs, bulletins, books etc.,