Kerala

Kerala Agricultural University to support first-time farmers

1,500 kg seeds, 2 lakh seedlings sold from outlets in 2 months

The Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) has devised means to reach out to its diverse clientele, many of them first-time farmers, even during the COVID-19-induced lockdown period.

Its research farms and labs continue to work with minimum staff, and following social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols during the lockdown, KAU Vice Chancellor R. Chandra Babu said.

Thus, it could meet the demand of the public for planting materials and input requirements. The sales at KAU outlets that operated on restricted schedules indicate a boom in homestead farming of vegetables in the State. Around 1,500 kg seeds and over 2 lakh seedlings were sold during the two-month period, he noted.

The trend was also reflected in the high demand for bio-inputs, lure traps, and vermicompost, which recorded a sale of over 150 tonnes. This was in addition to the usual demand from seasoned farmers for seeds and planting materials of paddy, coconut seedlings, tissue culture Banana, pepper, nutmeg etc.

To support new farmers, KAU has released online videos on vegetable cultivation at kitchen gardens. These were well received by Kudumbashree members and residents’ associations, according to Jiju P. Alex, Director of Extension.

Helplines

Round-the-clock helplines are being operated through Krishi Vigyan Kendras and research stations in all districts. Crop advisories on major crops were released through media and posted on WhatsApp groups. Experts have been giving guidance to farmers on online participatory discussion forums like Facebook Live.

Horticulture Therapy, a five-day online training programme, was inaugurated by Minister for Agriculture V.S. Sunilkumar through a Zoom meeting. Online certificate and MOOC courses were conducted for the farmers and the public. Counselling sessions were conducted on behalf of the university on parenting children with special needs through horticultural therapy.

Weather alerts are continued as biweekly Agro-meteorological bulletins disseminated through Kisan portal, and AIR.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 3:55:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-agricultural-university-to-support-first-time-farmers/article31609446.ece

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