Now, a Vision Group for Farm Sector
By Express News Service | Published: 14th March 2015 06:02 AM |
BENGALURU: The chief minister has proposed a ‘Vision Group’ headed by an expert for the overall development of agriculture, horticulture and food processing sectors.
It was clear that the state’s focus lies on efficient use of water as Siddaramaiah announced the 2015-16 Micro-irrigation Policy. Under this, a centre of excellence will be set up to impart training on improved cropping systems, integrated farming systems for dryland agriculture, moisture conservation and monitoring through sensor-based water management systems.
Agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry and sericulture department staff will work together under one roof in Raitha Samparka Kendras (RSK) at the hobli level.
T N Prakash Kammaradi, chairman of the Karnataka Agriculture Price Commission, said, “The chief minister has tried to provide an excellency component through the centre of excellence. (There is) digital decision-making for watershed development and a vision group to bring agriculture and horticulture under the same roof.”
He added, “The money is adequate. There seems to be an attempt to address the woes of farmers not in the monetary sense but in terms of efficiency enhancement. There is focus on dryland agriculture as well. Krishi Abhiyaan will take the scientific fraternity to villages and a single window system for RSK will certainly help. Meanwhile, Krishi Bhagya has been extended to more districts. More farmers will have cards and all this will make our agriculture more efficient and globally competitive.”
The Budget also includes 278 service centres which will rent out mechanical equipment to farmers. Raitha Mitra and Soil Health cards will be distributed to farmers through a K-KISAN electronic platform at the RSK. Siddaramaiah also announced a new campus for the University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences, Shivamogga district.
State to Seek GI Tag for Millets
The Budget has proposed a special package to double the crop area of ragi and jowar to 40,000 hectares.
Greater emphasis will be laid on state’s indigenous nutri-millets such as Saave (little millet), Navane (foxtail millet), Haraka (kodo millet) and Boragu (barnyard millet) to obtain Geographical Indicator (GI) tags. A programme to create awareness about the nutritional benefits of these millets will be taken up soon.
The Budget also proposed a research project on Genome Sequencing in collaboration with International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB) and agriculture universities to improve seed varieties in ragi, tur, jowar and kabul gram.
Principal scientist at the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Dr K V Ravi Shankar, told Express, “The whole genome sequencing of ragi is not done yet. Others like tur dal have been sequenced. However, sequencing will help in developing high-yielding varieties with special traits to grow in dry areas and with high nutritional value.”
There has been a lot of emphasis by agricultural universities on growing ragi for their resilient qualities. Value-added products of millets such as ragi noodles, pasta, malt etc have been developed by scientists.