104 final year B.Sc Agriculture students back from a two-month rural stint.

At least 10 per cent of the total 104 final-year B.Sc. Agriculture students of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University who are back from a two-month rural stint want to take up serious farming.

Even if the four-year course has not motivated them to take such a decision, the 60-day Rural Agricultural Work Experience (RAWE) programme has done so. Transformation of agriculture is possible with the attitude of such students, a visibly happy Vice-Chancellor K. Ramasamy said here on Monday as he took stock of the students’ two-month activity on their return. The RAWE consisted of three components — a 15-day programme with the office of the Assistant Director of Agriculture (ADA), a 30-day village stay programme, and a 15-day programme with a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO). Final-year students were split into 16 groups and assigned 16 villages in three districts, viz., Coimbatore, Tirupur, and Erode, from June 4 to August 15.

The students are overwhelmed by the wealth of information they got from the experience. According to them, everyday was an experience that taught them new lessons. At the ADA’s office they learnt about what the Government did for the farmers — schemes, subsidies, and other activities. They were involved in attending and assisting in conduct of meetings of the various Block heads. Armed with this knowledge they went on to spend a month in villages. Each student was attached to a farmer who served as a host. They got to interact with large / small / marginal / woman farmers. It was a two-way learning experience with the farmer teaching the student and vice versa. While students got to learn the basics of farming from scratch, farmers got to know the various technologies and implements to improve farming. At the end of the stay, the student came up with four farm development plans that the farmer could adopt to augment productivity of his crop. According to S. Mahimairaja, Dean (Agriculture), the students, on Monday, displayed through models and posters, what they had learnt during their 60-day stint. They explained to the Vice-Chancellor the observations they had made and how different they were from the field and the laboratory.

“Students are sent on the RAWE programme in the seventh semester, which is predominantly practical-oriented. Today’s exhibition is assessed by three scientists for 20 marks. Students will also have to make presentations for which they are assessed for 20 marks,” he said.

Students were happy that they got a chance to see the real farmer in action and also got a chance to live in a village and observe their everyday life. Most of them were keen on ensuring that technologies reached farmers and also helping them improve their marketing skills.

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