A. On Farm Testing (OFTs) :
The objective of On Farm Testing is to test and evaluate the findings of Research Stations at the farmer’s field and to refine and modify the technologies, if required, for better adoption by farmers. It is confirmation of already proven research results under real farming situation. Based on the finding that the farmers do not adopt about 70% of the available technologies, farmer participatory testing of research findings in their own farms becomes imperative. It promotes conviction among farmers and also provides opportunity to refine or modify the recommendations to suit the requirements of the farmers in a given farming situation. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) was conducted to identify the problems faced by the farmers and based on the priority of the problems, OFT was implemented. Economically viable, and operationally feasible technologies matching with farmers needs are identified to solve the problem faced by them. The OFT’s conducted in major crops and allied sectors during the last decade are given below.
B. Front Line Demonstrations (FLD)
Front-line demonstrations are to demonstrate newly released crop production and protection technologies and its management practices in the farmers’ field under different agro-climatic regions and farming situation. While demonstrating the technologies in the farmers’ fields, the scientists are required to study the factors contributing to higher crop production, field constraints of production and thereby generate production data and feedback information. Front line demonstrations are conducted in larger fields in order to have better impact on the farmers and field level extension functionaries.FLDs carried out at different locations in the district motivated farmers to accept new technologies in solving field problems. Crops/technologies in which FLDs were conducted include paddy varieties, vegetable varieties, vermi composting, spice crops, azolla, apiculture, organic pest management practices, mushroom cultivation, local fruit processing, soil and nutrient management etc. The major technologies demonstrated for adoption after testing through OFT’s in important crops and allied sectors in the district are enlisted below:
C. Training Programmes
Capacity building of farmers, rural youth, women and men self help groups and extension officials in agricultural and allied sector has been one of the avowed objectives of KVKs. Vocational, On and Off campus and sponsored trainings in various agricultural and related topics have been organized regularly by the KVK. This helped to facilitate adoption of viable and feasible location specific technologies in farming and allied enterprises among farming community. A category wise list of training programmes organized during the period has been included as Table 1.
D. Extension programmes
During the period, the Krishi Vigyan Kendra has organized various other extension activities aimed at solving the field problems of farmers and creating awareness among various stakeholders on the emerging trends in farming. The dedicated Help Line services that answers farmer query through phones and mails and direct diagnostic and advisory services through agri-clinics are of great help to the farmers. Diagnosis is being carried out by the multidisciplinary team and necessary suggestions are made to solve the problem. In plant protection aspects, non-chemical methods of pest management are given maximum emphasis. Field visits were conducted and on site recommendations were given in urgent situations. So far 6224 agroclinical/ advisory services were undertaken at an average of 52 per month. There was a steady increase in the queries on after training technical support, registrations for training, agricultural field problems, availability of farm inputs such as seeds, earthworms, seedlings, compost etc. There has been an increase of over 50% in the number of visitors to KVK over the years. The participants of KVK trainings who were interested in adopting the technology as micro enterprises have been helped in the project formulation for availing credit. Awareness programmes like seminars and exhibitions organized and participated by the KVK in the district also attracted large number of farmers and field extension staff. Mass media support has been overwhelming for the activities of KVK from its early days. Articles on relevant topics have been published in farm journals and agricultural columns of popular dailies by KVK staff for the benefit of the farming community. Radio and TV programmes on the major activities and relevant topics of expertise of KVK have been aired from time to time. KVK also supports experiential learning programmes of students like RAWE and exposure visits of farmers under various programmes. Publications both in print and digital format brought out by the KVK have been very popular among the farmers of the district. A summary of major extension activities of the KVK is given as Table 2 and the list of important publications is given in Table 3.
E. Resource and Knowledge Centre Activities
KVK serves as the Agriculture Resource and Knowledge Centre for the district. It is committed to providing expert technical information and xcellence in client service delivered by friendly and experienced staff. Demonstration units established at the KVK and the soil, water and plant testing laboratory (SWPTL) are the major components under this.
F. Demonstration units established at KVK
Various demonstration units established at KVK serve as model low cost units enabling farmers visiting KVK to adopt them. They are also used for practical sessions in training programmes and serve for seed/seedlings production. Major units and the theme areas are enlisted below. i. Crop production and propagation: Plant propagation unit- Orchard for grafting/layering, Rapid multiplication of Pepper, Medicinal plants- more than 100 medicinal species, Rain shelter, Poly house, Fodder grass unit, Vegetable seed production units- Snake gourd, bitter gourd, amaranthus, chilli, brinjal, cowpea, and bhindi. ii. Production of organics: Low cost vermi wash and vermi compost unit- earth worms multiplication, Azolla unit, Trap production unit – ME traps and Cue lure traps, Biopesticide unit. iii. Mushroom production: Low cost mushroom shed-100 bed capacity for oyster/milky mushrooms, Mushroom spawn production unitiv. Processing and value addition: Coconut value addition unit, Copra dryer unit – 2 types of 400 and 1000 nut capacity, Snow ball tender nut production v. Apiculture: Beekeeping demonstration unit- Indian and stingless bee colonies vi. Poultry: Gramasree /Gramalakshmi/ Gramapriya/Kadakknath/Aseel layer chick bird unit, Poultry Hatchery, Goose and Turkey units, Model broiler chick demonstration unit vii. Animal husbandry: Rabbitary unit viii. Pisciculture: Homestead fish culture units- 4 units, Ornamental fish culture unit ix. Farm machinery: Paddy transplanter, garden tiller, power tiller, power sprayer, brush cutter, lawn mower, coconut climbing device, chaff cutter
G. Soil, water and plant testing laboratory (SWPTL)
The SWPTL with state of art facilities for analysing all major nutrients, pH and EC wasestablished in 2006 at the KVK. A paid service with a token amount of Rs.30/soil sample and Rs.10/ water sample has been largely utilized by the farmers (Table 6). Eight hundred and twenty two farmers utilized this facility and this could reduce the use of chemical fertilizers by about 20-25% and thus reducing the cost of cultivation. The water testing facility is being utilized by the fish farmers especially backyard pond fisheries and fresh water fish farmers which has great significance for this coastal district with great scope for inland aquaculture.