ICRISAT to help Telangana tribal farmers learn new ways of farming

Interactive field sessions on farming and processing equipment at ICRISAT, Patancheru. Photo By: ICRISAT

Hyderabad: Realizing the need for tribal farmers to adopt new technologies in agriculture and to improve their incomes, the Tribal Cooperative Finance Corporation Limited (TRICOR) of the Tribal Welfare Department, Government of Telangana, has joined hands with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) to organize exposure visits-cum-study tours for tribal farmers in Telangana.

The visits will give 500 farmers a chance to learn about innovative farming techniques, develop marketing strategies for their produce, and enhance their knowledge. To be held over a period of one year, the programme will conduct training in 20 batches, with each farmer receiving training over 6 days. While batches will be organized along identified themes like agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, vegetable cultivation, livestock and poultry, fisheries, and dairy, the programme’s focus will be on innovative and sustainable farming, training on marketing strategies, exchange of local farming concepts, and basic knowledge on harvest processing and preservation. Farmers will also be taught about drip irrigation techniques across the globe.

The first batch of the programme was inaugurated on 4 December 2017 at ICRISAT, Patancheru, in the presence of Mr Thati Venkateshwarlu, MLA (Aswaraopet) and Chair of the Tribal Welfare Department, Telangana, Shri Shankara Rao, DGM (A&F), TRICOR, Shri Lakshmi Prasad, State Mission Manager, TRICOR, and Ms Sandhya Rani, Asst. Director (Horticulture), Tribal Welfare Department. Dr. Kiran K Sharma, CEO of the Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP) of ICRISAT, and Mr. S Aravazhi, COO of the Innovations and Partnership (INP) programme at AIP-ICRISAT also welcomed the participants.

Members of the Telangana Tribal Welfare Department and TRICOR inaugurate the programme at ICRISAT. Photo By: ICRISAT

At the inauguration, Mr Venkateshwarlu spoke on the need to adopt new farming techniques, and the benefits of growing millets for farmers. He encouraged farmers in the first batch to use the programme to learn new techniques and help build a better Telangana by educating other farmers on their return. He also mentioned the Telangana government’s efforts towards supporting farmers through various irrigation projects to facilitate cropping round the year.

Speaking at the event, Dr. Kiran K Sharma stressed the need to link farmers to markets to improve incomes. He encouraged farmers to adopt new technologies and inputs to better yields, and turn to entrepreneurship in agriculture through adopting effective post-harvest technologies.  He also stressed the need for public and private entities to readily integrate other sectors like IT into agriculture for better results.

Mr. Aravazhi said that through its Technical Support cell (TSC), AIP of ICRISAT will extended its support to the participating farmers for a year and a half after the duration of training. Participating farmers can return to ICRISAT for any queries or help towards the implementation of learnings from the programme.