Sneha Tanda team of UAS-Dharwad is educating farmers on best practices

One of the special attractions at the Krishi Mela (agriculture fair) held at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Dharwad recently was the stall set up by Sneha Tanda, a team of undergraduate students of the university.

Various simple elements of technology helping the farmers to get rid of problems in their work were displayed at the stall. It was interesting to see the students explaining to the farmers the benefits of the technologies in simple language.

Sneha Tanda is an initiative by UAS-Dharwad to engage the students in transfer of technology. Its main objective is to collect data on the simple and cost-effective farm technology developed by experts as well as progressive farmers and take them to the larger farming community. “The team focuses on transfer of simple aspects of technology not costing above Rs. 10,000 and which have already been successfully implemented by progressive farmers. Even the working models are explained to the farmers,” said Kiran P. Dhareshwar, team member.

It is a voluntary group of 25 students of the first year of Bachelors of Science (Agriculture) course. Each year a fresh team comprising first-year students is formed. The junior members run the activities of the team and the seniors guide them in designing and implementing the activities. Team members are selected on the basis of their perrsonal interest, capacity to understand and explain technology and the ability to communicate in the local dialect with the farmers.

Mohan Yadravi and Vinayak K. said the team members collect information about the technology through field work. They go to the progressive farmers who had developed and implemented simple technology and gather information about them.

Even the women members of Sneha Tanda said they have immensely benefited. It helps them receive the much required field knowledge and exposure which is not available in classroom activities. Students involved in Sneha Tanda activities will have an edge over others in matters of practical knowledge and grassroots communication skill when they complete the course after four years, said Manasa Kulkarni, Gangubai, Shruti S. and Shweta, team members.

Alumni role

The team also welcomes participation of alumni in its activities. The postgraduate and Ph.D. students who had been Sneha Tanda members will continue their association with the team. They play a key role in guiding the team members in developing the models, improving the communication skills, editing write-ups and other such work.

For instance, Anand Yeligar assisted them in setting up stalls and improving the models developed by the team members. Similarly, the team also involves the alumni who have been into agricultural activities after studies. Shivan Gouda, who runs an agriclinic in Belgaum, conducted awareness programmes on setting up agriclinics.

Community Radio

The team also broadcasts various programmes disseminating knowledge and information benefiting the farmers through the UAS-Dharwad’s Krishi community radio 90.4 MHz. Krishi community radio station was set up in 2007 with the primary objective of reaching the farmers to address the issue of transfer of technology and solving their problems.

As Sneha Tanda’s motto corroborates with the community radio’s objectives, it has been incorporated into the radio’s activities. One-hour programmes are aired on select themes on different occasions.

Books and models

The team is also into book publication. Every year it publishes books in Kannada which contain information on cost-effective technology helping the farmers. For instance, the book titled ‘Krishi Chetana’ published this year has information on 16 pieces of farm technology. It is given to the farmers at subsidised prices with financial assistance from the university. The books are distributed mainly on the occasion of Krishi Mela to be held every September. There is good demand from the farming community for this book. The team has also developed over 150 farm technology models which are popular among the farmers.

Decennial celebrations

Sneha Tanda has emerged a trendsetter in involving agricultural science students in the process of transfer of technology. This model concept was started by the then students Ullas Kumar and late Ramesh Pawar in 2004. It is going to complete 10 years of fruitful service to the farming community and has emerged as a role model for others.