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ICAR-Research Complex for Eastern Region, Patna in collaboration with Vivekananda Vikas Kendra, Kalimati, Purulia, organized a capacity building-cum-farmer-scientist interaction programme as part of the Institute’s flagship extension programme ‘PRAYAS’ under the Tribal Sub-Plan at Hatinad a village of Ayodhya hills in Purulia, West Bengal from 13th-15th  March 2024. The plateau region of Purulia faces major challenges such as water scarcity, non-availability of quality seed and planting materials, and poor farmer skill and capacity. Farmers shared their views with scientists and resource persons during an interaction programme, with representatives from ATMA also present.

Dr. Anup Das, Director, ICAR RC-ER, Patna, briefed about the TSP Programme and its purpose to the farmers. He emphasized low water requiring components like mushrooms, animal husbandry (especially poultry farming), fruits and multipurpose trees, and millet for improving livelihood, year-round income and employment of farmers. Dr. Das further added that the village has been adopting an integrated farming system to empower farmers, particularly women, for three years. The system includes training and inputs to improve livelihoods. The village also promotes vermicomposting as soil amendments and backyard poultry farming for income. Farmers are encouraged to grow fruits in their backyards for nutrition and income. Pulses are suggested as a cheap protein source and to improve soil health.

Dr. Arun Kumar Singh, Head, Farming Systems Research Centre for Hill and Plateau Region, Ranchi encouraged the farmers to grow tomatoes in the rainy season to get better prices in the market. He emphasized that vegetables like brinjal, sponge guard, ridge guard, bottle guard, pumpkin, and ash guard are suitable for this region. There is a need to follow a year-round vegetable cultivation sequence for higher income and nutrition.

Sh. A Bhattacharjee, Secretary, Vivekanand Vikas Kendra, Kalamati, Purulia, was also present during the programme.

About 62 women farmers were provided with high-quality chicks along with starter feeds. Customized poultry cages (16 numbers) and two mushroom production houses (made with local materials) were also provided to farmers under the program. Additionally,  plastic fencing nets, poultry drinkers, feeders, mixi grinders for badi making, sprayers, weighing balance, vegetable seeds (Tomato, sponge gourds, brinjal, beans, okra, etc), mushroom packaging materials, mushroom spawn, medicines for poultry and cattle, etc. were also provided to participating farmers.

More than 250 farmers participated in the programme, with the majority being women farmers.

(Source: ICAR-Research Complex for Eastern Region, Bihar)

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