Reaching out to farmers

Ruchika M Khanna

RAMANDEEP Singh, a farmer of Mard Kheda village close to Sunam in Sangrur district, was foreseeing a troublesome time in April when the Covid-induced lockdown was in power. He was uncertain whether or not he would have the ability to harvest his crop or plant the subsequent one in his fields. Troubled, he known as officers of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) at Kheri village, who helped him and different farmers of the world in not solely harvesting and promoting their produce, but additionally in implementing direct seeding of rice (DSR) within the wake of labour scarcity and to save lots of depleting groundwater in his village.

“The extension companies rendered by the KVK in these occasions are laudable. Had it not been for its officers’ help, I might have spent lakhs of rupees on farm labour for transplanting paddy, however as a substitute I spent simply three days on direct seeding, utilizing a contented seeder that the KVK helped me modify,” Ramandeep says.

Dr Mandeep Singh, deputy director of the KVK at Kheri, says the largest achievement for this centre has been the profitable promotion and implementation of the DSR in Sangrur. From utilizing the suitable drills to agronomic practices, nutrient and irrigation administration, rising the cropping depth and coping with pest/insect assaults — we’re handholding farmers all the way in which.” Recently, when a whitefly assault on cotton was seen within the adjoining district of Mansa and in some villages of Sangrur, the KVK promoted PAU-recommended neem extract to fight jassid and whitefly.

Balkar Singh of Booh village in Tarn Taran district says he and different farmers have been approaching the KVKs for each want associated to agriculture and dairying, particularly in the course of the lockdown. “When veterinary doctors failed to respond during the lockdown, the KVK officials used video-calling to guide me on how to tackle an infection in my herd of buffaloes,” he says, including that he and plenty of different farmers even borrowed equipment for direct seeding from the KVK, situated in his village itself.

When Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar requested KVKs of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh not too long ago to kind area-specific fashions of agriculture improvement, he was maybe asking these states to emulate the mannequin of Punjab, the place KVKs are doing job of on-farm testing of latest improvements, know-how switch to fields, creating area-specific agriculture fashions, giving frontline demonstrations, coaching farmers, agriculture scientists and officers.

Dr Maninder Singh, deputy director of the KVK at Bahowal in Hoshiarpur, says they’ve been selling the cultivation of maize, peas and potato (Doaba is Punjab’s potato belt). “Since many parts of Hoshiarpur have forestland, we also promote commercial cultivation of several herbs. Family members of cane growers are being trained in making jaggery. These days, keeping in view the social distancing norms, we are doing field visits rather than large-scale training sessions,” he provides.

In Tarn Taran, Dr Balwinder Kumar, who heads a KVK, says since many farmers rear animals, the kendra organises common coaching camps specializing in the Nili Ravi buffalo.

There are 22 KVKs in Punjab, 18 of that are managed by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), three by Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, and one by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. Dr Jatinder Singh Mahal, Director, Agriculture Extension, PAU, who oversees the functioning of those KVKs, says such centres throughout Punjab have been conducting area-specific agriculture improvement programmes efficiently.

“KVKs are not just giving agriculture extension services, but are also involved in training, giving demonstrations and technology transfer in areas like fisheries, poultry, mushroom and maize cultivation, horticulture etc. Their role was widely appreciated by farmers, especially when the KVKs moved online through an app called Farm Inputs, to help farmers during the lockdown/ curfew. When the supply of seeds for paddy was posing a serious challenge, PAU used the KVKs for selling 20,000 quintals of seed,” he provides.

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