The institute tries to develop biovillages in India's rural areas: villages with many small scale enterprises, based on biological techniques such as mushroom, jasmine and lamb's lettuce cultivation, or small scale livestock production. The biovillages are backed by biocentres, where agronomists test and multiply the biological materials; by a network of researchers in a Science and Technology Consortium, and by bankers, donors and insurance companies in a Financial and Management Back-up Consortium.
By giving technical and organizational support and supplying loans, the institute wants the poor farmers to generate (additional) incomes themselves. However, this is hard to achieve in practice, explain the fieldworkers. Apparently simple changes and innovations take a lot of time and effort. The poor people are not used to changes, learning skills and caring," says the coordinator of the project.