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STRATEGIC RESEARCH AND EXTENSION PLAN

Friday, 15 July 2011 11:10

Click Here to download SREP

                     Preparation of Strategic Research and Extension Plan was initiated with a two-day orientation training conducted for the district level officers of agriculture and allied departments. Based on Agro Ecological Situations (AES), the district was divided broadly into three regions namely; Central Mid Land (with special reference to Kole), Malayoram (High Land) and Coastal sandy. Special expert teams, (one for each AES) and a core team were constituted and given a comprehensive training for four days. For each AES, Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) was conducted which enabled an in-depth study about the pressing problems in the farm fields. This was conducted with the participation of farmers from various sectors, peoples’ representatives, officials of the Departments of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Dairy Development, Soil Conservation and Soil Survey, along with experts from Kerala Agricultural University and Krishi Vigyan Kendra. In addition to primary data collected through PRA, secondary data was also collected, from all the offices, institutions, Farmers’ Interest Groups (FIG), Community Based Organizations (CBO) and agricultural extension personnel at the district, block and taluk levels. Even though the district has been broadly divided into three AES, taking into consideration the heterogeneity of the soil and topographical parameters, some prominent farming situations absent in the representative panchayaths, but predominant in other areas    (within the respective AES) had to be considered. These situations have also been properly covered by conducting location specific field studies by the core team. We consider this as added information for preparing SREP

Through participatory analysis, the Existing Farming Situations (EFS) and field level problems were thoroughly examined and the opportunities and constraints were deeply looked into. The ongoing extension and development schemes in all disciplines were also reviewed. Apart from this, all the available information on natural, social and human resources were collected and analyzed by the core team. The AES teams conducted field visits and documented the gaps in research, extension, and adoption and arrived at suitable strategies for bridging the gaps in knowledge, attitude and skills.  A series of interactive meetings were conducted at field level with the participation of all relevant stakeholders for fine tuning the strategies and farming options. The existing scenario, analysis of trends, major challenges and threats faced by various off farm enterprises within each AES were also dealt in detail by the core team.

Based on the above analysis, strategies to overcome gaps in nutrient management for crops paddy and coconut (INM), pest management for paddy, coconut, Nendran banana and vegetables (IPM) were worked out. Seed replacement ratio for paddy was arrived at separately for each AES and strategies to be adopted (AES wise) for meeting the seed requirement as well as infrastructural, institutional and technical support required for equipping Kerala State Seed Development Authority  (KSSDA) to meet the seed demand of the district has been described. Technical and infrastructural support necessary for production of quality coconut seedlings under the Coconut Seed Development Unit functioning in the district has been analyzed. Strategies for creating marketing linkages for paddy, banana, vegetables and flowers (through farmers’ cooperatives), their value addition and specialized market for organic produce have been identified and proposed. Research and extension gaps in farm mechanization with special reference to paddy and coconut have been identified and strategies proposed. The availability of labor is a limiting factor in the management of perennial crops such as coconut and pepper. Hence the necessity of research for evolving user-friendly machineries (for harvesting, plant protection measures) has been highlighted.

Under Natural Resource Management (NRM), problem in the paddy growing tracts like fallowing, perennial weeds, seawater intrusion and acidity have been addressed. The problems due to environmental degradation in garden lands such as surface run off, flooding, water logging, gully erosion and sea erosion have been identified and solutions viz. afforestation, conservation of natural vegetation etc. has been proposed.

The strategies identified for Human Resources development  (HRD) are promotion of farmer organizations, FIGS, their capacity building, group mobilization, especially of women groups for production of value added products such as   processed food products and inputs like bio control agents and vermicompost. Another thrust area identified under HRD is the formation of labour banks with trainings on mechanization to youths. The strategy proposed for attracting youth to agriculture begins with awareness generation on crop management aspects through training, exposure visits followed by formation of Self Help Groups (SHG) of youths with facilitation by department for establishing market linkages.  The major extension strategies agreed upon were awareness generation programmes, need based training programmes, exposure visits and establishment of demonstration units,

for improving productivity and income thorough diversification and intensification of  EFS, promotion of  modified farming systems (identified for each location) and integrated pest and nutrient management.

The major research strategies proposed were on-farm research (with farmers participation) in production aspects of crops such as nutmeg, vetiver, pepper, tapioca, Nendran banana, bittergourd, development of user friendly machines especially for perennial crops, standardization of fertilizer schedules (including bio fertilizers) for inter cropped plantain, rainfed Nendran, paddy and coconut, mass culture of biocontrol agents like Verticellium & Beveria for bittergourd and Nendran banana, formulating suitable bio pesticides for paddy and vegetables, introduction of ornamentals as inter crop in coconut gardens, evolving a protocol for post harvest handling of vegetables, banana and flowers for retaining their freshness, quality and shelf life.

In animal husbandry, the need was felt for additional research focused on the animal nutrition aspects such as introdution / evolution of fodder grasses having low water requirement, identifying and promoting alternate fodder sources (like indigenous trees, grasses& coarse millets), production of wholesome feed mixes using locally available raw materials, low cost silage manufacture, simple low cost machineries for milking and baling of machine reaped hay.

Research for adapting rice- fish culture and duckery to kole paddy situations have also been identified. In fisheries, absence of suitable hatchery technique for producing quality fingerlings of prawns (fresh & brackish water), absence of seed multiplication techniques in Etroplus and backwater mussel were the major constraints. Here also research for low cost feed mixes that could be prepared by the farmer himself emerged as a pressing need.  

The issues for policy consideration identified based on assessment and analysis of the problems having serious bearing on the production of major crops in each of the AES were categorized under the following heads.

1.      Policy decisions pertaining to land use especially paddy lands, which include prevention of fallowing, conversion to garden land, shift to horticultural crops, sand and clay mining.

2.      Policy decisions for stabilizing the price of important commodities, through timely announcement of support and procurement prices.

3.      Policy decisions for supply of quality inputs to farmers such as seed, providing alternate    source of soil ameliorants, promoting local production of bio control agents and seeking public private partnership ventures in fish hatchery sector.

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4.  Policy decisions are also needed for providing credit support to FIGs (Farmers 

     Interest Groups.

Thus the SREP document prepared for Thrissur district can act as a perfect launching pad for the programmes aimed at improving the agricultural scenario of the district through integrated approaches. The SREP would pave the way for prioritizing the location specific problems faced by the farming systems and help in tackling them, thereby attaining maximum productivity through research, extension, policy interventions and appropriate utilization of available natural resources. The successful implementation could be ensured by teaming up the stakeholders at different levels, integrating and coordinating their activities through ATMA.  .

Last Updated ( Thursday, 28 July 2011 11:52 )
 
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