Bengaluru, Jan 6 (IANS) Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Director General Trilochan Mohapatra on Monday said the initiation of Farmers’ Science Congress, a part of the ongoing 107th Indian Science Congress, is a big encouragement for the farming community.
“Traditionally farmers have been innovating and discussions on those innovations at a Congress like this has many advantages,” he said at the first-ever Farmers’ Science Congress.
ICAR Deputy Director General Ashok Kumar Singh has played an instrumental role in creating the Farmers’ Science Congress platform.
Outlining fourfold benefits for farmers from such a platform, Mohapatra said different innovators can deliberate to learn from each other, discussions can lead to large scale validation of innovations, scientist-farmer interactions can propel innovations to the next level and the wider world will get awareness of the developments.
“As many students, including school children, are attending the Farmers’ Science Congress, interest in agriculture can be created right from the school level through interactions,” he said.
Mohapatra also said farmers’ interaction with fellow farmers at the Congress is a great way to transfer knowledge, and highlighted that the farmers are conserving the biodiversity and local germ plasma.
“If we can give some support to their innovations by way of financial support, innovation validation and market linkage, farmers will be encouraged to continue that,” he said.
Mohapatra said many farmer innovations get validated at ICAR institutes across the country, including the 760 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK).
“KVKs have been supporting farmers’ innovations and documenting them. Once we provide the support, newer avenues can be opened,” he said.
Echoing the call given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mohapatra said there will be a paradigm shift from production, and nutrition security to doubling of farmers’ income by 2022.
Aiming at bolstering rural bio-economy and attracting youth into agriculture, he said a programme by the name ‘Arya’ has been created.
“About 5,000 youth have been so far brought into the programme in which they are trained to be entrepreneurs and begin a startup. 104 such startups are marketing processed food items,” said Mohapatra who is also the Secretary of the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE).
He said 51 integrated farming models are currently functioning across the country in different agro-ecologies, depending on the suitability of particular locations.
Integrated farming models factor in livelihood security, climate change and sustainability to increase farmers’ income.
Outside the farmers’ congress venue, stalls were set up for innovative farmers to showcase their products.
Dasamati, handisal, sunaharina, kalabati, mal jhuli, talmuli, and magura were some of the many varieties of rice showcased at the stalls.
The 107th edition of the Indian Science Congress scheduled from January 3-7 is currently underway at the University of Agricultural Sciences here.