Agriculture Minister B.C. Patil is set to embark on a “day with farmers” initiative from Saturday, under which he will periodically spend a full day in a village with farmers.
Participating in the valedictory function of the three-day Krishi Mela, organised by the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru, the Minister said he would begin the programme from K.R. Pet taluk in Mandya. He plans to stay from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the village at the fields of two progressive farmers.
The Minister said the aim was to understand the problems of farmers and also instil confidence in them. He also plans to identify progressive farmers and encourage others to learn the best practices from them. He said such trips would be taken up two or three times a month.
During his visit to K.R. Pet, he plans to try to convince farmers to shun the practice of monocropping, such as growing only sugarcane or paddy, and to appeal to them to try out integrated farming, emulating farmers in the parched Kolar district.
Speaking on the occasion, Horticulture Minister Narayana Gowda reiterated that the State government would set up an international market on about 70 acres of land near Bengaluru airport. He also said the export of fruits and vegetables from the State had increased to 5.5% of the total production now, from the earlier 2% in the past few months.
The three-day Krishi Mela was visited by scores of well-educated farmers. Despite being a low-key affair given the COVID-19 restrictions, it saw a good turnout of well-educated farmers.
About 95,000 viewers opted for social media platforms to watch the event. “Many had qualifications like BE or postgraduate degree. While some of them were full-time farmers, some were pursuing farming along with their regular profession. During consultations with scientists, they showed their interest in processing and value addition,” said Harini Kumar, head of UAS-B’s BT Department.
Narayanaswamy, principal scientist at the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, told The Hindu that the queries posed by some of the well-educated farmers were challenging. “They were particularly keen to understand the recent technologies and latest crop varieties. They were focusing on high incomes and enquired about methods to reduce the cost of cultivation,” he said.
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