To reach the farmers with newly developed technologies, advanced seeds, agri financing and allied solutions, IARI organised Krishi Vigyan Mela which received humongous farmers’ footfall. Mohd Mustaquim reports
Dr. A Sarangi, a scientist from the Water Technology Centre of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi, shared a new water technology developed by his centre – that can recycle sewage water for irrigation – at the Krishi Vigyan Mela (Agricultural Science Fair), organised by IARI during March 10-12, 2015. Elaborating further, he said that the sewage water first goes to the treatment plant, then treated water is assembled in an artificial pond where fishing is also done as an additional source of income. Then, this water is pumped to the field for irrigation.
The Centre has installed this plant in the IARI campus and is making people aware of the technology for better utilisation of water.
Stepping further, the Centre has developed Solar Irrigation System which not only reduces dependence on fossil fuel and electricity, but also cuts the irrigation cost. The entire set up costs Rs 100,000 only. This system is sufficient for irrigating one hectare of land.
Similarly, an Israeli irrigation company, NETAFIM showcased its drip and sprinkler irrigation machineries at the fair. The drip irrigation facility costs Rs 140,000 per hectare. Many state governments are providing a decent subsidy for this system. For instance, Haryana government is facilitating Rs 60,000 as subsidy directly through the manufacturer. This system is suitable for vegetables, fruits, flowering, mustard, millet, among other low water needy crops.
The company is also in talks with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT) for developing a technology which may reduce the water consumption for rice farming.
The exhibition was focused on new technologies and advanced varieties of seeds developed by various institutes of Indian Council of Agricultural Research and agricultural universities along with some international institutes.
The Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute’s two varieties, drought tolerant and flood tolerant rice, caught the eyeballs of visitors. In the context of diverse Indian weather, likewise, the frequent droughts and floods, these varieties have big potential in India.
The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore which is not only working for agricultural research and education, but also provides crop advisory, weather advisory among various other services to the farmers in Tamil Nadu. Agricultural scientists from various institutes, farmers and agri-business companies showed interest in these services.
One hall was entirely dedicated to the newly and advanced developed varieties of seeds by the organiser of the fair, IARI. Apart from new varieties of seeds, IARI also showcased the organic manures, agro-chemicals and post harvest management technologies in the hall.
The Division of Agricultural Chemicals, IARI showcased advanced pesticides and agro-chemicals, and how they can be commercialised by the industry. Besides, the Division of Genetics of the institute interacted with farmers with their newly developed high yielding seeds of maize, wheat, rice and vegetables.
Agricultural Extension Division of the institute brought the organic manures like vermi-composts among other organic fertilisers and their way of manufacturing. The division promoted new technologies to utilise the water for irrigation in an efficient manner.
The agricultural machineries manufactured by IARI also pulled the footfall in its pavilion. The institute has given license to four private companies who can sell these machines in the other parts of the country also. Seed drilling, various types of planters, compost turner-cum-mixer machines registered maximum number of footfall.
Enhancing soil health
There are around 1,000 soil testing laboratories functioning across India. In present scenario, they are not sufficient to cater to the soil testing needs of the farming sector. Thus, soil health in India has been a long time concern for agriculture sector. Lack of awareness makes farmers use subsidised Urea in big quantity, while ignoring potassium, phosphorous, sulphur among other micro nutrients. It further degrades the soil fertility and affects the food production. For some nutrients, India is dependent on import which increases the cost for farmers. It has been another reason which discourages farmers to use such fertilisers.
To check this problem, IARI displayed some substitutes which decrease dependency on imported chemical fertilisers. The institute has also developed a digital soil testing and fertiliser recommending machine. IARI has given manufacturing license to a Delhi-based private company WS Telematics. After years of testing, the company has started its commercial production around four months ago which has grabbed the attention of farmers.
This machine tests the soil texture and also recommends fertiliser as per the need of the crop. The price range varies between Rs 31,500 and Rs 47,000. WS Telematics is aiming to reach every village across the country. For this, the company is approaching through local media and Doordarshan. It has already made distribution network in Sikkim, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, among many other states.
In addition to this, public sector seeds company National Seeds Corporation, among other private seeds companies like Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds, Raunak Seeds, Advance Seeds, New Rama Seeds Corporation had direct communication with farmers and sold their advance variety of seeds to them.
Various agricultural finance companies, public and private sector banks interacted with farmers for their insurance and credit policies. In the wake of frequent droughts and floods, the Agriculture Insurance Company of India, which is implementing the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) across the country found a suitable platform to interact with the farmers. They received a good response from the farmers in promoting their crop insurance schemes.
Various micro and small food processing companies also participated in the event. Honey producing, pulp beverage, among small food processing companies caught the visitors’ attention.