Modern Solutions To Age Old Practices: How ICAR Is Helping Farmers
Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR NEH Region), has been advancing agriculture and allied areas in Northeast India. The institute was set up to improve and develop a sustainable farming system in the region. It is now one of the biggest of its kind and has research centres across all Northeast states.
The ICAR NEH headquarters in Umiam covers agriculture, horticulture, animal sciences, agricultural engineering, agro-forestry and fishery. Established in 1973, the institute has developed 56 crop varieties, 7 models of farming system, molecular diagnostic tools for plants and animal diseases. They have also introduced integrated farming systems and packages of practice for organic agriculture of 15 crops in the Northeast.
Did you know? The idea to establish an ICAR Institute in the Northeast was initiated at a seminar on Research and Training Needs in Agriculture and Animal Husbandry of the North East Himalayan Region in 1973.
Word from The Experts
“Northeast India is blessed with natural resources and there is no shortage of water. We receive enough rainfall even during the winters. The farmers need to go back to the traditional farming system, where we get fresh air, clean water and more nutritious food for consumption”, Dr S. V. Ngachan, Director ICAR NEH.
"Achieving sustainable food production to feed the increasing population of the fragile land of the region is an enormous challenge. ICAR envisages a unit for agriculture, to ensure effective and efficient use of knowledge and technology products, promoting innovative approaches and solutions aimed at improving human resource with right knowledge skills in the Northeast region," he added.
1. Megha Turmeric-1, a turmeric success story– ICAR NEH introduced a new variety of Turmeric, Megha -1 in Meghalaya. The turmeric was tested in the Ri-Bhoi district during 2013-14. It was developed through clonal assortment from the high curcumin Lakadong variety, resulting in better yield and reduced risk of leaf blotch and leaf spots.
During the initial stage, eleven Self Help Groups (SHGs) and farmers from nine villages volunteered for the program. The result, successful cloning of the famous Lakadong turmeric with curcumin content of more than 6.5%
2. Agricultural extension service - The need for a high-end skill-based institute for helping farmers led to the foundation of Krishi Vigyan Kendra. The experimental farms at KVK are used for innovative farming practices. They follow a simple principle of "Teaching by Doing" and "Learning by Doing" while utilizing their expertise for helping farmers.
At present, Meghalaya has 5 KVKs designated to five different districts. A dedicated group of specialists from these KVKs travels to remote areas and introduce the most recent in farming innovation and best practices to the farmers.
In other words, KVKs are the organizations focused on programme implementations, exchange of agricultural advancements, exploration of better farming solutions and along these lines act as a beacon of hope for the farmers of the region.
3. Benefits of research to the farmers - ICAR launched KIRAN (Knowledge Innovation Repository of Agriculture in the Northeast), an online portal, in July 2012. KIRAN was conceptualized to harness information technology and provide a platform which acts as a channel between recent innovations and the end users.
It aims to achieve a sustainable food production measure to feed the increasing population of Northeast India. The primary objective behind the online portal is to create knowledge and technology repository for the Northeast region. KIRAN also acts as a medium to provide sustainable agricultural development in the region and offer support for future strategy in research and agricultural extensions.
4. Nurturing entrepreneurship development among the farmers - The rough and hilly terrains, low yielding crops and no or little use of natural composts and fertilizer are the major issues faced by the farmers.
To address these issues, the National Agricultural Innovation Project was initiated to facilitate social advancement and utilization of rural developments between NGOs, farmers and private divisions to improve the quality of agricultural framework in Northeast India.
In Meghalaya, the programme has already benefitted 11 villages in South Garo Hills district. The farmers from these villages have improved their livelihood through modern scientific farming practices.
After three years of hard work, these backward and deprived farmers have now become progressive farmers’” ICAR Mass Media team.
These progressive farmers have been selected for entrepreneurship development which will transform villages tagged with backward and remote names into modern farming communities. New technologies and innovative farming solutions will help farmers to produce more and bring about a change through sustainable agriculture.
All the above programmes and projects are meant for the benefit of farmers. Proper usage of the collective wisdom from experts, entrepreneurs and the farmers will bring hope for a better future for the farmers of the region.
ICAR brings the advanced models and research-based solutions to the traditional farmers of the region. And in the process help maintain a quality benchmark of their produce. ICAR’s vision and their continuous endeavour to help the farmers is opening up ways by which the farmers can expect high quantity produce while maintaining top quality.
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