In an effort to boost oilseeds production, 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 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 the tribal families. Select villages in Andhra Pradesh and some tribal villages in the country have been involved in the project.

The Hyderabad-based Directorate under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research is focussed on castor, sunflower and safflower production. 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 and state government agriculture officials.

An exhibition of inputs, equipment and seed, with the participation of private companies has also been planned, he said.

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

The production stood at 25.45 million tonnes in 2010-11. Bulk of this came from groundnut (5.8 mt), rapeseed mustard (7.1 mt) and soyabean (9.5 mt).

India is among 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.

Somasekhar.m@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 31, 2012)
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