Ranchi, Oct. 20: Thousands of farmers will soon be sent to other states to study models there and implement them here for better yield. Earlier, only politicians made similar trips at the expense of the state.
As part of capacity-building exercise, the all expenses paid trip — state has allocated Rs 71 lakh for the project — for 4,600 farmers will also include visits to agriculture fairs across the country between November and March.
Another 10,500 farmers will be sent to research stations, agriculture universities and to areas reporting success stories within the state while another group of 4,900 will be given the option to tour their own districts — all at state expense.
“This is an exercise aimed at capacity building. Farmers holed up in their villages and blocks are being encouraged to see the farm world on state money and learn about latest development in agriculture so that they can adopt these models. A sum of Rs 71.32 lakh has been allotted for the purpose,” agriculture director Gokul Mehra told The Telegraph.
About a couple of years ago, a small group of 60 farmers had been sent on such a study tour when Arjun Munda was chief minister. Since then, the state has done little to update farmers about latest models.
It was felt that instead of providing training to individual farmers, information could be disseminated faster to a large group through community demonstration. Orissa has come up recently with a number of success stories in paddy cultivation. Delhi frequently hosts agriculture fairs, which, besides demonstrating high-yielding varieties of rabi, kharif crops and vegetables, also provide inputs regarding farm equipment and latest farming techniques.
There are also agriculture universities and research stations across the country coming up with unique results. Mehra added that even within the state, there were a number of success stories — from conserving water to developing unique farming models. Visits to these places will open up a whole new world for state farmers, he added.
The roadmap does not stop at visits alone. He said that the package included provision of direct interaction between farmers and scientists, organising fairs and exhibitions, farm research and even provision for setting up self-help groups, including women self-help groups to disseminate information. “Adequate budgetary provisions have been made for all such activities so that the programmes can go on unhindered,” Mehra said.
With the state vigilance probing the irregularities of purchases of seeds and farm equipment during the tenure of Nalin Soren between 2006 and 2009, the agriculture department has begun a round-the-clock monitoring to ensure complete transparency in seed distribution.
Mehra said the task of distribution of paddy, tomatoes, brinjals, chillies and pulses seeds had been entrusted to agencies of national repute.
Of the 24 districts, the required seeds have already reached 10 and are ready for distribution. “This is the first time that national agencies have been given the task of reaching quality seeds to farmers,” he added.