There is no area where technology has not stretched its hands and agriculture is no exception.
Realising the significance of technology in bridging the gap between the crop and the yield, a knowledge centre would soon come up in the state that would teach a farmer all tricks of his trade. The Department of Agriculture is setting up a Centre of Advanced Training in hi-tech Agriculture (CATHA) in the capital which will ‘test and refine’ hi-tech farming technologies.
The centre, which has been given administrative sanction by the government, is one of the major projects envisaged by the department in its last budget. It will come up adjacent to SAMETI (State Agriculture Management and Extension Training Institute) at Venpalavattom as a subsidiary training institute. But unlike SAMETI, the focus would be on technology transfer.
“It will be a knowledge hub for anyone interested in agriculture, be it farmers, scientists or agri-students. It will provide hands-on training for farmers in hi-tech farming. Awareness on new agricultural technologies and demonstrations would be part of CATHA,” said director of Agriculture, R Ajithkumar.
It will be a one-stop-centre to know about the farm trends, market, machinery and other e-facilities associated with agriculture. The centre would set up demonstration units of hi- tech farming like the one on precision farming currently being planned by the department.
Farmers could drop in with their queries and get technological support from a consultation centre which will be set up here. Plans are to develop CATHA as an e-Agriculture centre, officials said.
According to them, the idea is to set up forecasting techniques that could save various crops, put up computer controlled polyhouses, a digitised library where farmers could get in touch with national and international farming trends and also to display most modern agricultural equipment and machinery.
A hostel for agricultural students is also being planned here.
The State Govt has entrusted SAMETI with the setting up of the centre and Ajithkumar, who is presently the in-charge director of SAMETI, said that `5 cr has been allotted this fiscal for the setting up of CATHA.