TNAU launches village adoption programme
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University has launched an adoption programme, by which the university and its constituent colleges will adopt a whole Panchayat Union in their neighbourhood to initiate a connection between its students and farmers.
As a pilot effort, the programme has been kicked off in Andipatti Block of Theni by students of the Horticultural College and Research Institute, Periyakulam.
The programme will work this way – students from the first, second, third and fourth years will be divided into groups of 20 each. Each group will be assigned a village in the Panchayat Union. Half the number of groups will visit the assigned villages every Saturday, while the rest of the groups will visit their quota of villages every Sunday. This will continue for 36 weeks.
To begin with, the students will interact with the villagers and find out the issues and needs. They will guide farmers starting from the choice of crop to sowing, transfer of technologies, harvest, marketing, etc.
Explaining the rationale behind the programme, Vice-Chancellor K. Ramasamy said that this was a win-win situation in which the students would get hands-on knowledge about farming, life of a farmer, and a village set-up. Also, the farmer would receive latest information on crop varieties and technologies without having to move out from their villages.
The first programme that had begun in Andipatti block on December 6 had students till now identify the needs of farmers, and land availability for suitable crop cultivation. Now they would move on to the next step of identifying the right crop, pattern, technologies, etc.
Vice-Chancellor said that this would also provide a competitive environment for students to do well for their adopted villages.
The university is sponsoring the whole programme. It is not only providing the necessary infrastructure like transportation for the students to travel from their campus to the villages, but also making available the necessary farm inputs that students can use on the farmers’ lands. The university is working on giving an honorarium to students to motivate them.
For taking the programme forward, Mr. Ramasamy hopes that the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) would get involved in the programme in identifying Panchayat Unions for adoption and making the adoption programme a credit-based one to motivate students.