Farmers’ group to be set up in northern districts for sharing knowledge

Anil Urs
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Sharing production practices and purchasing inputs in bulk will help reduce costs. — G.R.N. Somashekar
Sharing production practices and purchasing inputs in bulk will help reduce costs. — G.R.N. Somashekar

Efforts are on to build farmers groups/associations in northern districts of Karnataka for sharing knowledge on best practices.

S.B. Hosamani, Head, Agri Business and Export Knowledge Centre, said there are many benefits of sharing knowledge of production practices, purchasing inputs in bulk to reduce the costs and also for collective marketing. “For building producers groups or associations, the growers should have mutual faith and confidence among themselves to build a vibrant and sustainable organisation,” he added.

Rapport with other groups

The University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, is popularising group formation at the Krishi Mela being held at its campus. One such example in the region is Sufal Growers Associations who share knowledge of mango cultivation. Sufal has been successful in popularising production, processing and marketing of agri-commodities under a its single brand Sufal in northern Karnataka. Hosamani stressed the need for building rapport with existing associations and build similar bodies for other commodities. M.B. Chetti, Dean, College of Agriculture, Dharwad, said that to facilitate growth of farmers’ cooperatives, the University is evolving suitable varieties of crops, packing techniques and the pesticide residue testing laboratory.

Farmers should also strive hard to get remunerative prices for their produce and thus improve their standard of living. Chetti also stressed the need to implement government programmes through the farmers’ organisations so that the deserving would get the benefit in a collective action.

Farm extension

The University has already initiated a few projects such as ‘Integrated Farming System for Economic Empowerment and Sustainability’ among SC/ST families of north Karnataka with an outlay of Rs 4.7 crore for 2012-13. For the benefit of farmers, the Krishi Vigyan Kendras along with agricultural departments organises a rabi and agricultural technologies week. The Directorate of Extension of the University in collaboration with Karnataka Department of Agriculture and The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Hyderabad, holds Bhoo-Chetana programme (for watershed development) and is currently involved in implementation of dry-land technologies and improving crop production.

The agricultural and other department officers of the Karnataka Government are being trained under Agricultural Technology Management Agencyprogramme. Under this project of the Karnataka Government, farm study tours to Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu were organised for 95 State Agriculture Department officers to understand farmers’ problems.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 23, 2012)
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