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Video boost to promote hi-tech farming

- US-based doctor and wife fund non-government organisation; tillers appreciate efforts

A non-government organisation funded by a USA-based doctor and his wife has given visual tips to improve lives of farmers in the district.

Dr Prabhat Das Foundation has begun to screen videos on agriculture to farmers in the district to make them aware about technical advancements in cultivation. Hundreds of farmers at Korthu and Shiv Nagar villages in the Ghanshyampur block, 65km east of Darbhanga town, went to one such screening on Monday evening. Sources said the large attendance could be attributed to the fact that such a programme is unique in the district.

The farmers who attended the screening learnt how to make vermicompost (preparing fertilisers using worms), cultivate wheat and maize using modern technique, etc. They also learnt of cutting-edge technique that could be used to increase production.

Sources said the government had already appointed kissan mitras (friends of farmers) to help tillers. But they did not succeed in convincing the farmers about adopting new agriculture techniques.

Farmers claimed that the screening was important as it helped them learn about how to work on their lands. “Watching the videos was helpful. We learnt of methods that are more useful that the ones introduced by the kissan mitras,” said a farmer.

Another farmer and kissan mitra from Parari village, Shiv Shankar Singh told The Telegraph: “I travelled around 7km from my villages to Korthu to watch the movie at 8pm on Monday. Visual methods are obviously more convincing.

After a 45-day training at Rajendra Agriculture University, Pusa, I began my work as a kissan mitra and started to canvass to convince my fellow farmers about new techniques. But it was not very efficient. Instead, the video show this evening (Monday) convinced many farmers to adopt the new techniques.”

Farmers who viewed the video were convinced about creating vermicompost — a process of making fertiliser by decomposing organic matter with worms.

Pali village resident Mohammed Khurshid, who also saw the screening, said: “It was very difficult to understand the vermicompost process when we just heard about it. But when we saw the film on it, we understood how easy it was to create organic fertilisers that are healthy as well as cost effective.”

He added: “Such educational films should be shown in every village so that all farmers can learn about it.”

Farmer Singh said: “I would like to thank the foundation for their work.”

Dr Prabhat Das and his wife Dr Soumya Das work in the USA and fund the non-government organisation. He told The Telegraph over telephone from New Jersey: “Farmers are the nucleus of the Indian society. Making them aware of the latest developments will help improve the Indian economy.”