With more farmers ready to try out precision farming in the state, the Agriculture Department has big plans to welcome them to the world of high-tech farming. The Department, with the support of the State Horticulture Mission, is putting up 21 demonstration units of precision farming across the state.
The World Market premises at Venpalavattom in the city are getting ready with the first and most advanced model of a polyhouse for farmers to know and learn about precision farming.
It is as a training model for farmers and agri-preneurs that SAMETI (State Agriculture Management and Extension Training Institute) is setting up the model polyhouse. The infrastructure development is being handled by Kerala Agro Industries Corporation.
The Horticulture Mission is promoting high-tech farming in a big way and has also launched a scheme that is set to attract 900 farmers to precision farming within one year. Under the scheme, farmers would get subsidy to set up polyhouses, but the high cost in putting up the green house has been distancing many from the idea. The reason why the department has planned the demo models.
‘’Once the polyhouse is ready, farmers would be able to come and see for themselves how it works. Though this one is a highly advanced polyhouse with automated climate control and rain-harvesting facility included, they will get an idea as to how it works and the basic requirements. The other polyhouses that are planned will mostly come up in farm areas, near individual farm lands, near agriculture markets and so on. They will be more cost-effective, but less technologically advanced,’’ said R Ajithkumar, Director in-charge of the Department of Agriculture.
The department, under the management of SAMETI, is setting up a Centre of Advanced Training in High-Tech Agriculture (CATHA) at Venpalavattom. The polyhouse is meant to be a training model for the centre, which would be a meeting place of farmers, scientists and agri-students.
According to officials of Agro Industries Corporation, the polyhouse is coming up on a total of 500 metre square with one metre square costing Rs 1,350. Since the monitoring and control is automated, the cost is more. In future, farmers who come to see the model would get information on the installation, its cost, the subsidies allotted and other technical details.