Agriculture

Scientists need communication skills and patience

P.V. Koran showing the certificate forthe best farmer award conferred on him. Photo: Special Arrangement  

“Today, inspite of surfeit of information available, communication skills still seem lacking among experts.

Take the example of two scientists from the same department going to meet an official. Both the persons may go separately without even being aware they may bump into each other while waiting to meet the concerned official outside his room.

“While this sort of attitude may be common among the research fraternity, this becomes a handicap when it comes to farmers. Knowledge sharing and institutional support must go together to help farmers get sustainable income,” says Dr. V. Rajagopal retired Director, Central Plantation and Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), Kasaragod.

Takes time

Farmers take time to understand a concept in their own way and they often mull over it before attempting it.

“It takes time to convince a farmer and for that good communication skills and patience become imperative. Experts must be ready to share, hone their talking skills to help transfer of technology to the fields from the labs,” he says.

While educating farmers about some emerging expertise making them understand, accept, adopt, and to work is a challenging task.

“Scientists need to exert extraordinary efforts to bring knowledge and happiness to hostile farmers.

“There should be a continuous farmers-scientists interaction to instil the much needed confidence in the farmer to continue with farm activities uninterrupted,” he adds.

Dr. Rajagopal explained how CPCRI approached the problem through ‘caring, reaching, and teaching as a mission. Scientists visited farmers personally to impart technical knowledge.

Twin benefits

“In turn, we also learnt the indigenous traditional knowledge (ITK) from them and the synergy between modern technologies and the ITK proved beneficial for both of us,” he explains.

The Institute developed several production, protection, and processing technologies to improve coconut yield, besides other inter crops, and to enhance income for coconut growers.

“These technologies apart from being demonstrated at the Institute farm, were also taken directly to the farmers' own fields through the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) as a participatory approach.

The coconut farmers were given adequate training and skill development through an International project funded by the Asian Development Bank for three years.

“A total of 792 farmers in two villages, formed as community based organizations (CBOs), reaped the benefits of the technologies,” says Dr. Rajagopal.

Recording the findings

A systematic extension activity was carried out by recording the farm profile, yield and income prior to, and after the interventions adopted by the farmers.

International standards were applied for impact analysis of a project.

About 25 success stories were documented from India, including an NGO (PK Thampan Foundation, Kochi) involved in the project.

“Among the several enterprising farmers who benefited by our scientists' interaction is one Mr. P.V.Koran from Pallikara.

“The farmer adopted an intensive integrated mixed farming in his 0.32 ha coconut farm.

Besides intercrops pepper, turmeric, yam, banana, he maintains two Jersey cows and different varieties of fodder grass,” says Dr. Rajagopal.

Net income

The farmer earns a net income of Rs.93,775 from the vegetables, milk, and fodder and gets an average of 10litres milk per day.

Once he harvested more than five tonnes of turmeric. Likewise, pepper and banana also gave good yield with remunerative price.

Vermicompost

Encouraged by these advantages he got from the enterprises, Koran also ventured into vermicomposting, using the coconut wastes in the garden.

He was the recipient of US $ 250, along with a certificate as best mixed coconut farmer among eight countries.

“Being a farmer my income today increased rapidly only because of my constant interaction with the institute's scientists. They had the patience and time to make me understand about new technologies and were very friendly in their approach,” says the farmer. For more details readers can contact Mr. P.V. Koran at Pallippuzha house, Pakkam post, Pallikkara, Kasaragod District, Kerala: 671 316, Phone: 0467-2410044 and Dr. Rajagopal at email: rajvel44@gmail.com, phone: 09441200217.


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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 9:24:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/agriculture/scientists-need-communication-skills-and-patience/article2774932.ece

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