Having gained valuable insights into best farm practices and entrepreneurship in farming at a three-day training programme in Hyderabad-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), a group of 50 women tribal farmers from Bhadrachalam Agency returned back with enriching experiences to share with their fellow farmers.
The tribal women hailing from remote villages in Dummugudem mandal, bordering Chhattisgarh, had undergone the training programme, sponsored by the Tribal Welfare Department, at ICRISAT.
The programme is aimed at empowering tribal farmers, mainly women, with requisite knowledge to adopt best farm practices, harness modern agricultural technology and augment their farm income, sources said.
Around 50 women tribal farmers from Manuguru mandal had already undergone a similar training programme recently.
Another batch of women farmers from Dammapeta mandal are expected to undergo training at ICRISAT next week, sources added.
The training programme forms part of the Tribal Welfare Department’s targeted intervention to expose tribal farmers to agricultural scientific knowledge and encourage them to embrace best farm practices suited to the agro-climatic conditions in the tribal region.
This follows a slew of training programmes organised by the Tribal Cooperative Finance Corporation Limited (TRICOR) in collaboration with ICRISAT for equipping tribal women with requisite skills to prepare a range of nutrition rich value-added products from moringa (drumstick) leaves and millets.
In addition to the initiative to train women tribal farmers of various Agency mandals at ICRISAT in a phased manner, a plan is on the anvil to send a group of tribal women from Palvancha mandal to ICRISAT for undergoing training in making Chikki (groundnut bars), sources in the Telangana State Girijan Cooperative Corporation (TSGCC) said.
The three-day residential training at ICRISAT helped us to interact with agricultural scientists and progressive farmers thereby enabling us gain knowledge of various best farming practices, including organic farming, soil conservation, prudent water management techniques, said Midiam Kamamma of Adavi Ramavaram of Dummugudem mandal.
"We have not only enriched our knowledge of modern agricultural technologies but also had a rare opportunity to watch the use of digital tools for optimising crop yield, she told The Hindu .
We are eager to implement some of the best practices learnt by us during the training in our farm fields with the help of the government agencies concerned, said Srilatha of Cherupalli village.
We will seek the support of the ITDA to grow vegetables in organic farming mode to make farming a sustainable enterprise, she asserted.
We owe our thanks to the Tribal Welfare Department Commissioner Dr Christina Z Chongthu for her initiative in organising free training programmes to promote entrepreneurship in farming among us, said another woman farmer from Dummugudem.