The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 12 , 2013
 
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Crop shift for farmers

Pradeep Kumar, a banana farmer from Dinachakla, and another farmer, Rajkumar Yadav, from Alluli in Khagaria district, have decided to shift from traditional agriculture to horticulture.

The three-day Kisan Mela organised by Bihar Agriculture University (BAU), Sabour, which ended on Monday, stimulated ideas of modern horticulture as the best cash crop opportunity among young farmers like Pradeep and Rajkumar who came to attend the fair with 19 others from Khagaria.

“It was indeed a unique exposure for the youths from remote villages. They saw modern techniques for better agriculture, horticulture and farming opportunities for the first time. Many of them have already decided to change the pattern of crops they grow after visiting the mela,” said district horticulture officer Rakesh Kumar.

Kisan Mela, this time, was particularly encouraging for 175 young entrepreneurs who came from remote villages of 20 districts.

A workshop, “Commercial horticulture: An opportunity for agri entrepreneurship” organised by National Horticultural Board (NHB), New Delhi, and BAU, Sabour, concluded on Monday with field visits in farmhouses, poly houses and in the orchards of the varsity. On farmers’ request, BAU vice-chancellor M.L. Choudhary promised to reduce the cost of planting material of tissue culture banana from Rs 10 per plant to Rs 8 per plant. He also appealed to young farmers to come forward for banana tissue culture training. He advised farmers to adopt commercial farming by developing group marketing of their produce at the local level.

Choudhury told The Telegraph: “The main aim of the fair is to motivate farmers and establish direct interaction with them.”

“We successfully managed to convince young farmers to adopt modern technologies for better yield. We also assured them of marketing their products,” he added. A farmer from Rohtas, Bijoy Bahadur Singh, said: “We could utilise the resources of the varsity to change our fortunes.” Mangala Roy, the agriculture adviser to the chief minister, gave away prizes to select farmers for exemplary contribution in their respective fields.