The Telegraph
Tuesday , May 27 , 2014
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Workshop on farming model

Jorhat, May 26: An all-India workshop at Assam Agricultural University here to increase the livelihood of small and marginal farmers today proposed to draw expertise of different regions to work out an integrated model for farmers of the Northeast and other parts of the country.

Attending the workshop on All India Co-ordinated Research Project on Integrated Farming Systems, B. Gangwar, director, project directorate, Farming System Research, Modipuram, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, stressed on one model for the farmers, which was synthesised by integrating together other models from different parts of India.

Gangwar, hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision, said agriculture would undergo a sea change under his government. “Modi had in Gujarat envisioned a system where a cotton growing area should also weave cloth from cotton, stitch clothes, maintain quality and market these. The integrated farming system under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research is something like this,” he said.

The three-day workshop here was the first of the six workshops to be held all over the country.Scientists from West Bengal and Odisha are attending the workshop.

Gangwar said the IFS was the largest programme being undertaken by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, with 86 centres all over the country. In Assam, the project had been implemented at Boko and Somoria near Hajo both in the Kamrup (rural) district.

Gangwar said with the 63 per cent of farmers belonging to the small and marginal category in the country, the IFS assumes importance as it was meant to improve the economic status of this category.

A small farmer is one who has land holdings of one to two hectares and marginal is one with land holding of .5 to one hectare, the average now being .33 hectare.

“In the next five years, research would have to focus on on-farm programmes and different models developed for different region, soil, conditions and climate,” he said.

He said different areas such as livestock, piggery, poultry, fishery and crops grown in dry land, wetland and elsewhere should be integrated to make up for models which would increase the means of livelihood of a small or marginal farmer with minimum of input.

He also said the College of Home Science under the university had a role to play as households too were being incorporated.

K.M. Bujarbaruah, vice-chancellor, Assam Agricultural University, called for the model to encompass judicious use of resources, maintaining the environment and sustainability of the bio-diversity even while working out the cost-profit ratio and increasing economic means.

“Ultimately, the integrated farming methodologies should develop technologies on how best solar energy can be put into animal and plant modules, how biological diversity is maintained, how to use the water, soil and its nutrients so that the biosphere benefits along with the farmers,” he said.

He also stressed on supplementary and complementary research instead of duplication while referring to the dry land farming methodologies being worked at by CRIDA in Hyderabad.

Ajit Baishya, chief agronomist, Assam Agricultural University, said he and others had already published a bulletin, which addressed these needs under rain-fed situation in Assam after several years of research.