Farming sector in Orissa’s Ganjam was likely to get a boost with establishment of a farmers training centre by Punjab National Bank near here.

Free training to the farmers at the centre located at the Regional Institute of Technology and Extension (RITE), a building of the agriculture department at Rangeilunda, about 15 km from here started on Tuesday.

The farmers training institute started functioning on the occasion of the 116th anniversary of the nationalised bank, B.P. Ray, Head of PNB’s Orissa circle, said.

The bank made an agreement with the State government to run the centre at the RITE building till the completion of its building at Karapalli, he said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had laid foundation stone for the Rs. 60 crore project at Karaplli, near Gopalpur last year. The State government has provided about 7 acres of land free of cost for the project. The FTC was set up by PNB Farmers Welfare Trust, a sponsored organisation of the bank to train farmers in various agricultural activities.

Not only the borrowers of PNB, but borrowers of other banks including cooperative banks can join the institute to get training on the latest technology to increase the productivity of the crops, Ray said.

Besides agriculture activities, FTC would also provide free training on computer courses, cutting, tailoring and embroidery.

The resource persons from other institutes like Orissa University of Agriculture and Training (OUAT) and College and Fisheries would be roped to provide training to the farmers, Ray said.

The FTC is the first of its kind in the state and among nine such centres in the country. The bank had already set up eight FTC in different States and the response of the farmers in these States was very good, he claimed.

The nationalised bank has already set up FTCs in states, including Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. All these centres were set up with the active cooperation of the respective State governments. The FTCs have imparted training to over 2 lakh farmers and youths, including over 40,000 women so far.

As 80 per cent people of Orissa depend on agriculture and farm produce is the main source of income, the farmers need to be trained well to boost agriculture production in the State, sub collector Berhampur Ajit Mishra said.

The FTC would definitely extend help to boost the farm production in the State, said the Deputy Director of Agriculture (Ganjam) Damodar Polai.