To start model rainwater harvesting unit in Kannur soon
Clinic to function as consultation-cum-empowerment centre for extension functionariesRs. 10-lakh rainwater harvesting unit, sanctioned by ICAR, to solve problem of water shortage
PANNIYUR (KANNUR): The Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) started here under the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) and financed by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) to focus on agricultural training and extension activities will open a plant health clinic and start a model demonstration unit for rainwater harvesting.
The plant health clinic project estimated at Rs. 20 lakh has been sanctioned by the State Horticultural Mission to function as consultation-cum-empowerment centre for extension functionaries. KVK officials here said that the clinic was expected to allow the KVK to provide specific recommendations on diverse field problems. The model demonstration unit for rainwater harvesting comprising a sub-surface dyke had been sanctioned by the ICAR to solve the problem of water shortage, they said adding that the project was estimated at Rs. 10 lakh.
The KVK started at the Pepper Research Station (PRS) here nearly two years ago has already started various innovative extension approaches for assessing farming technologies through farmers' participatory programmes. They include the campaign against mite menace through the compact area group approach (CAGA) at Vellavu in the Pariyaram panchayat. The KVK has also produced a telefilm `Thengukalude Nilavili' which has been distributed through 1,088 Krishi Bhavans in the State.
"The KVK functions as frontier link between technology development and adoption and focuses on down-to-earth problems of farming community,'' said K. Abdul Kareem, Associate Professor who heads the KVK. As it was functioning in the PRS, the KVK had more responsibility to work for pepper farmers in the region, he added.
The KVK, according to its officials, had refined a cost-effective technology comprising phytosanitation (destruction of fungus disease-affected plants) and trichoderma (fungus used for fighting disease causing fungus) for management of foot rot disease after testing in diverse, risk prone environments in farmers' fields in the Kooveri panchayat. The method tried in arecanut to fight yellowing disease, however, had not yielded any result, they admitted. The KVK had also tried simple low-cost equipment such as drum seeder and cono weeder at Koovodu Padasekharam. The equipment introduced as part of reducing labour input in rice cultivation led to additional yield, they said.
Demonstration plots have been set up by the KVK at Sreekantapuram to create awareness against stem bleeding. It has also tried technology of high density planting in banana cultivation using tissue culture plantain in farmers' fields in the Kadannappally-Panappuzha panchayat. It has also demonstrated the performance of newly released hybrid pepper varieties of the PRS in the Kurumathur panchayat.
The KVK also conducts vocational training for farmers and rural youth in mushroom cultivation, nursery management, bee-keeping, banana fibre extraction and handicrafts making, cashew apple processing, fruit processing, goat/rabbit/quail production and composting, among others. Training programmes has their success stories. A group of women who underwent training recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the KVK for assisting its production units. It produced and marketed nearly seven tonnes of trichoderma valued Rs.5 lakh. Another group that was trained in mushroom cultivation formed a club called `Malabar Mushrooms' which was carrying out production and marketing of raw mushroom, spawn and processed products.
"Those who are courageous to start enterprises after training are given post-training assistance, guidance in project preparation, obtaining FPO licence, labelling, bottling and marketing'', said Dr. Kareem. Construction of a hostel for the trainees was in progress, he added.
The KVK has also set up the production-cum-demonstration units of vegetable seeds, honey, coir pith compost, vermi-compost, mushroom spawn and banana fibre handicrafts. Self-help groups are involved to make these skills available to the farmers.