Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsov: MSSRF organised training to promote eco-friendly technologies in Kerala

M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) is implementing the Department of Biotechnology -Krishi Innovation Science Application Network (MSSRF-DBT Biotech KISAN) HUB project, promoting of eco-friendly technologies to enhance soil health and sustainability. The project is supported by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, Ministry of Science and Technology.

The programme is for empowering small and marginal farmers in aspirational districts of the country. Under this, selected farmers are taken on exposure visit to leading science laboratories and help them to grow as scientific leaders at the grass-root level.

The Central hub of the project is located at the Foundation’s headquarter in Chennai, Tamil Nadu whereas its two subsidiary hubs (sub-hub) at the Foundation’s regional centres such as Odisha and Kerala centres – MSSRF-Biju Patnaik Tribal Agro-biodiversity Centre, (MSSRF-BPTAbC) Jeypore, Odisha (sub-hub I) and MSSRF-Community Agro-biodiversity Centre, (MSSRF-CAbC) Wayanad Kerala (sub-hub-II), respectively.

The sub-hub II has the technical partner – Indian Institute of Spices Research (ICAR-IISR), Kozhikode, Kerala.

Kerala-based Sub-hub II organised a two-day training programme on the theme "Promotion of eco-friendly technologies to enhance soil health and sustainability” between 20-21 September 2021 to commemorate Seventy-Fifth year of India’s Independence as ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsov’. The event was organised in the collaboration with the Indian Institute of Spices Research (ICAR-IISR), Kozhikode, Kerala. Around 100 farmers including women farmers participated in this online event.

Resource persons including officials of Department of Agriculture, Government of Kerala, Progressive farmers, Entrepreneurs, Scientists from IISR, MSSRF, Chennai and CAbC, Wayanad participated through online.The event focussed on popularisation of eco-friendly technologies – Biofertilisers and Biopesticides for soil and crop health management of spices cultivating farmers of Wayanad, Kerala.

The resource persons also promoted the use of biofertilizer and biopesticides for soil and plant health management. They explained farmers that through DBT-KISAN hub, about 15 different technological interventions are available for plant and soil health management.

Voice of farmers

Ms. Reetha Raman, Pozhuthana Village pointed out that the training programmes helped her to improve knowledge on pathogens, pests and nematodes that are causing the root rot. The MSSRF DBT Biotech KISAN Hub Project provided us seedlings of improved varieties of ginger and pepper, and biofertilizers etc. and other support. We learned about the use of right dose and balanced application of bioinoculants like Pseudomonas and Trichoderma and improved agricultural practices. The experts are consistently interacting with us on a regular basis by visiting our fields, organising the training programmes in a farmer friendly way and also motivating our farmers to practice the new technologies of using bio-capsule formulations of Trichoderma, Azospirrillum and Pseudomonas.

Mr. C V Raman, Pozhuthana Village: Most of the farmers in our area are tribal farmers. Through DBT Biotech KISAN Hub project we are getting improved varieties of cuttings/rhizomes of pepper (IISR-Thevam, and IISR-Panchami), ginger (Varada) and turmeric (IISR- Pragati and IISR-Prathiba) other biofertilizer inputs. If we get more training like this, we can make improvement in our agricultural knowledge. Attended two-day training programme. In this current Covid-19 situation online training are the best way to help us to improve our farming skill.

Mr. K T Kuriakose, Noolpuzha Village: The DBT Biotech KISAN Hub Project helped us to access improved varieties of ginger and turmeric (IISR- Pragati and IISR-Prathiba) rhizomes and pepper improved varieties (IISR-Thevam, and IISR-Panchami) cuttings. They gave recommendations by visiting our farmlands. They are trying to give us latest technologies and agricultural knowledge. They have conducted two online training programmes on 20th and 21st September 2021. It was very useful for the farmers especially the young farmers were enlightened with the talks. They have demonstrated the use of bio-capsule (biofungicide) and micronutrient technologies. It was a new experience for us. We hope that the old agricultural methods that we use in the farmland could be improved with these kinds of technologies to reduce risk in production and enhance productivity.