To boost production in oilseeds, an initiative to train tribal farmers has been launched by the Directorate of Oilseed Research, Hyderabad.

A tribal sub-plan has been firmed up recently. The emphasis is on taking tribal farmers to farms and laboratories to expose them to the improved production technologies. To begin with castor has been taken up said K.S. Varaprasad, Project Director of the Directorate.

The objective is to enhance the income levels of tribal families. Select villages in Andhra Pradesh and some across tribal villages in the country have been involved in the project with promotion of castor crop.

The Hyderabad-based Directorate under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research is focussed on castor, sunflower and safflower. It has come up with a wide range of varieties that are being cultivated across the country.

To further popularise some of these technologies among farmers, the Directorate is organising a farmer’s day on September 2 at its campus. Queries of farmers would be answered by scientists, State Government Agriculture officials. An exhibition of inputs, equipment and seed, with the participation of private companies has also been planned, he said.

Oilseed production in the country is set to touch 30 million tonnes during the year 2011-12 as per indications, the Directorate said in a press release.

In the year 2010-11 it was 25.45 million tonnes. The bulk of this came from groundnut (5.8 m), rapeseed mustard (7.1 m) and soyabean (9.5 m). India is amongst the largest producers of oilseeds in the world. The present monsoon deficit across the country may hit the oilseeds and pulses crops says the Agriculture Ministry.

The growth has been driven by research efforts under the technology mission on oilseeds launched in 1986. New varieties and hybrids have been developed in 9 oilseed crops. These have higher yield and better tolerance to pests and diseases.

(This article was published on August 31, 2012)
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