B. S. Satish Kumar

Experts say it will affect integrated farming

Farmers will be put to inconvenience

BANGALORE: The Board of Regents of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore (UAS-B), which is the governing body of the university, has said that the move to bifurcate the two agricultural universities in the State to set up a separate horticultural university in Bagalkot will be detrimental to the interests of the farm sector.

At present, the two agricultural universities in Bangalore and Dharwad are looking into both the agriculture as well as horticultural development.

However, the State Government has decided to bifurcate horticultural activities from these two agricultural universities by setting up a separate horticultural university at Bagalkot.

The UASB Board of Regents is of the view that agricultural and allied activities such as horticulture could not be separated at a crucial juncture when the sector was gripped by crisis.

Integrated farming

Board of Regents member M. Parthasarathy told The Hindu on Saturday that at present the State was giving thrust to the concept of integrated farming under which multi-cropping and various other forms of agriculture such as horticulture and animal husbandry were integrated into making farming a sustainable activity.

This being the case, the compartmentalisation of agriculture and horticulture would only put farmers into inconvenience as they had to approach different universities for information on agriculture and allied activities. Instead of this, the State should have an integrated approach towards farming, he said.

As the average landholding size of the State farmers was too small, farmers had to practise integrated farming if they wanted to sustain. But separating the agriculture and horticulture activities would deal a big blow to such an effort to popularise the concept of integrated farming.

Interestingly, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on Saturday advised farmers to practise integrated farming at a farmers’ meeting.

One more UAS

If the intention behind setting up a separate horticultural university in Bagalkot was to remove regional disparities and provide a boost to the development of this backward northern region, then the State should set up one more fullfledged agricultural university which would take care of not just horticulture, but all the issues related to agriculture, the member said.

Dr. Parthasarathy argued that it was advantageous to retain horticultural activities with the agricultural universities as there would be some common infrastructure required for both the subjects.

This included entomology, physiology, pathology, plant breeding, genetics, soil sciences, post-harvest technology, microbiology, biotechnology and horticultural engineering.

Infrastructure

At present, the infrastructure was being used by both agriculture and horticulture wings of the university in Bangalore.

Dr. Parthasarathy said the best option was to retain the two agricultural universities without bifurcating them and set up two separate directorates for horticultural research to provide emphasis on horticultural research activities.

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