‘Innovation key to agricultural growth’

By TheHindu on 12 Nov 2016

Three-day national workshop showcases low-cost technologies for farmers

A gadget that helps a farmer apply/spray pesticide in a focussed manner on cotton crop without wastage, developed by a senior scientist Mallikarjun at the Prof. Jayashankar Agricultural University and other such innovations attracted attention at a three-day national workshop-cum-exhibition here.

Another piece of equipment, a multi-purpose drum seeder that can also be used as fertilizer and weedicide dispenser, developed by D. Babu Rao, an innovative farmer from Vizianagaram also had people queuing up at the stall in the exhibition. Costing Rs. 32,000, it is ideal for planting corn, groundnut, rice and pulses and helps lay a row of eight lines simultaneously, saving on costs and labour. It only needs two people to use it.

The workshop-cum-exhibition on ‘Popularisation and commercialisation of low-cost agricultural technologies’ attracted innovator scientists and farmers, ‘agripreneurs’, agricultural officers from different States and more such people. In all, there were 40 stalls and there was a steady stream of visitors involved in agriculture who came to see the technologies on display.

K. Satya Gopal, Director-General of the National Institute for Plant Health Management said they had ensured that only technologies that cost less than Rs. 60,000 were on display. Innovation was the key that would drive growth, increased productivity and lesser input costs, he said. Among the priorities that they were focussing on were the fact that pest regulation was most important and motivate farmers to use more of bio-pesticides like neem, custard apple and pongamia oil and less of chemicals. “Use of chemical pesticides should be the last resort. We are trying to generate awareness among the farming community on ecological engineering for pest management,” Mr. Satya Gopal, an IAS officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre said, summing up.