Empowering Rural Entrepreneurs and Innovators

Nalini and her team @SIRN work with farmers and academic researchers to understand current challenges in agriculture, including means of incentivizing (i) in situ conservation of agrobiodiversity and (ii) farmer migration to sustainable farming systems such as agroecology, natural farming, and agroforestry. We are currently looking for funding to conduct empirical grassroots and social science research necessary to accomplish the below listed mission and goals of the ReSeed project.


RESEED: Farmer to Farmer and Farmer to X licensing of data, information and materials for a fair recurring price, to incentivize in situ revival and innovation with agrobiodiversity/heterogenous seeds.

RESEARCH: Farmer to Researcher and Researcher to Researcher licensing of data and materials for a fair recurring price with the aim of adding value to farmer supplied agrobiodiversity, increasing use and sale of heterogenous seeds for organic farming and supporting further downstream innovation with agrobiodiversity/heterogenous seeds.

REVIVE: Farmer to Consumer sharing of information and direct sales of food to consumers based on specific dietary needs of consumers to renew interest and understanding of the importance and benefits of local food cultivated using local, indigenous, heterogenous seeds.


A distributed digital platform to facilitate traceable and trustworthy sales of locally multiplied heterogenous seeds and secure licensing of data and information associated therewith. The platform will create incentives for the in-situ conservation and innovation with traditional and heterogenous seeds, and increase traceable, trustworthy and easy access to seed specific information for other farmers, for academic researchers and for consumers. In a next step, in addition to the information, also the access to the actual physical seed material should be facilitated.

The problems ReSeed aims to tackle

(i) Rapid erosion of agrobiodiversity: Two-thirds of our current crop production emerges from just nine species, making crops more prone to diseases and susceptible to failure due to climate change.

(ii) Lack of incentives among farmers to cultivate crops using local, heterogenous seeds, leading to difficulties in maintaining/conserving agrobiodiversity.

(iii) Lack of available organic and local genetic resources for researchers, farmers and breeders.

(ii) Lack of information of unique seed properties (soil types suitable for their cultivation, pest/climate resistance, unique nutritional benefits etc.)

These problems result from missing incentives for farmers to multiply and improve local, heterogenous seeds in situ. Moreover, regulations and bureaucratic hurdles prevent honest access- and benefit sharing of genetic resources. Due to current lack of means supporting traceability of seed and associated data transfers, there is no (fair) monetary remuneration connected to in situ (heterogenous) seed saving and seed improvement by farmers. Difficulty in accessing information & materials also hampers research on and with agrobiodiversity.

The solution

The distributed digital platform “ReSeed” will incentivizes in-situ maintenance and improvement of seed biodiversity via a fair, inclusive and equitable exchange of seed genetic resources and local knowledge of farmers, scientists, and industry. Current legal frameworks lack a traceable, trustworthy and convenient platform to facilitate fair and equitable exchange of such information and materials. ReSeed will employs a combination of Artificial Intelligence and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to incentivize the sharing of traditional seed material, aiming to facilitate equitable and ethical collection, analysis and management of economical valuable data linked to local, heterogenous seeds.

The platform will address issues of (i) trust and privacy; (ii) secure and “controllable” data sharing; (iii) fair, inclusive and equitable economic benefits for those sharing data, (iv) traceability (for purposes ranging from economic benefit sharing to liability determination), and (v) ease of access to information for downstream R&D. An AI framework enables an efficient knowledge management whereby machine learning recognises patterns and links genetic resources with environmental data and agricultural practices.

Create an innovation network

ReSeed Grassroots Collaboration Partner: International Association for Human Values, India

Recent/Forthcoming Publications linked to the ReSeed Concept:  

Kochupillai, M. and J. Köninger. 2022. “Creating a Digital Marketplace for Agrobiodiversity and Plant Genetic Sequence Data: Legal and Ethical Considerations of an AI and Blockchain Based Solution.” In H. Williamson and S. Leonelli Eds. Towards Responsible Plant Data Linkage: Global Challenges for Food Security and Governance. Forthcoming with Springer Nature.

Kochupillai M.*, U. Gallersdörfer, J. Köninger and R. Beck. 2021. “Incentivizing Research and Innovation with Agrobiodiversity Conserved In Situ: Possibilities and Limitations of a Blockchain Based Solution.” Journal of Cleaner Production 309 (2021) 127155.

Kochupillai, M. 2020. “Blockchain for Equitable and Sustainable Agriculture: What is Blockchain, its Benefits and Common Uses.” EuropeanSeed (April 2020)

Kochupillai, M. 2020. “Blockchain for Biodiversity: The Benefits for the Environment and for Farmers.” EuropeanSeed (April 2020)

Kochupillai, M. and G. Radick. 2019. “A Wake Up Call on Propreitary Seeds.” (Opinion-Editorial). The Hindu (Indian National Newspaper)


Recent/Forthcoming Presentations linked to the ReSeed Concept:

Kochupillai, Invited Panelist, Panel: Innovations in Agriculture – How to Sustainably Feed a Growing Population, in the 2nd Annual Conference of the Indo-German Centre for Business Excellence, Frankfurt, Germany, 22 September 2022

Kochupillai, Invited Poster Presentation, Big Data for (Agro)Biodiversity: Ethics, Incentives and DLTs, Alexander von Humboldt’s 12th Brazil-German Frontiers of Science and Technology Symposium (BRAGFOST), Maceo, Brazil, 29 June – 2 July 2022

Kochupillai, Creating a Digital Marketplace for Agrobiodiversity and Plant Genetic Sequence Data: Legal and Ethical Considerations of an AI and Blockchain Based Solution, in the conference: “Towards Responsible Plant Data Linkage: Global Challenges for Food Security and Governance” co-organized by the Alan Turing Institute and University of Exeter (Online), 19 March 2021.

Kochupillai, ReSeed: Blockchain for Biodiversity, Poster presentation for a start-up concept, University of St. Gallen Blockchain Roundtable, Switzerland, 05 November, 2019.

Kochupillai, Diversifying Directions of Knowledge and Value Flows: Legal and Ethical issues of a Blockchain Usecase in the Agro-Seeds Sector, EuroSeed Annual Congress, Stockholm, 14 October 2019.

Kochupillai, Balancing the Landscape of Incentives for Sustainable Seed Innovations: Legal and Ethical Issues that Blockchain and AI can Potentially Help Address, Sustainable Seed Innovations 2.0 Conference, International Art of Living Foundation, Bangalore, India, 31 July 2019.

Kochupillai, Can Blockchain Help Monetize Small Farmer Innovations? Plant Variety Protection Debates: Connecting Law, Science and Social Science, University of Warwick, 10 July 2018