Lead Farm

NABARD Project on “Lead Enthusiastic Agriculturist to Develop (LEAD) Farm by setting up of Agriculture Incubation Centre at KVK, Kozhikode”
Background: In India, there are a large number of landless farmers who are taking up agricultural activities in leased lands. Often these farmers earn marginal revenue from their farming activity as bulk of the amount goes for repayment of lease amount. KVKs work as a knowledge resource centre for the benefit of farming community. One of the main mandates of KVK is to organise Front Line Demonstrations on various crops for quick dissemination of latest findings from agricultural research institutes to farmers’ fields. The feedbacks from the field in terms of production data and farmers opinion on technologies are given back to the institutes for further refinement of technologies. These FLDs are taken up at progressive farmers fields under the technical support of KVK scientists. But it has been noted that although the technology is being illustrated to farmers, they still do not strictly follow it and use some of their own ideas which may sometimes give poor result questioning the technology as the FLD is conducted in their filed. Hence the results generated are not always true and may get a negative effect.
Lead farm planting

    With this background, had taken up a pilot project in setting up an agriculture incubation centre at KVK, where the farmers will take up farming activities in KVK land as Front Line Demonstrations thereby utilising the land and expertise available at KVK under its direct supervision so that they gain confidence in starting their own farm. The project is aimed to make farmers LEAD, KVK farm and later their own, so the project is coined as LEAD [Lead Enthusiastic Agriculturist to Develop (LEAD) Farm] project. The main objectives of the project were: to setup agriculture incubation centre for enthusiastic farmers at KVK, to demonstrate and provide field level training to farmers on recent technologies in agriculture, to provide helping hand to landless farmers and agriculturist to take up scientific agriculture practices, to produce quality seeds and planting materials at KVK by farmers and to setup a seed bank at KVK.

 

Activities undertaken under the project
Lead farm planting
Various activities undertaken under the project include Infrastructure development like construction of a road from KVK office to project area, terracing of land and a permanent fence around the project site. Training programmes on recent advances in the production technology of fruits, vegetables and spices was also conducted in association with KAU, Thrissur and ARS, Anakkayam. In addition, awareness programme on spices production technology and Farmers’ study tour programme to KAU Institutions, Thrissur were also conducted.

Cultivation of crops As an initial step, cultivation of HYV of ginger viz. IISR Varada was taken up by the selected farmers. Thirty farmers belonging to three groups actively participated in all cultural operations starting from land preparation, planting, intercultural operations, harvesting, seed treatment and storage. No major pests or disease was noticed during the period. KVK scientists continuously monitored the project by undertaking regular visit to the plots giving crop advisories as and when required. The entire harvested produce was sold as seed material @ Rs.150 per kg of seed rhizomes. One part of the harvested seed material was also purchased back by KVK to raise organic seed ginger in grow bags for further distribution to needy farmers in the next season.

Lead farm planting

Farmer participatory seed production Under this project, about 450 kg of quality seed material of IISR Varada ginger was produced by the beneficiary farmers under the technical support of KVK scientists. All the seed material thus produced was sold to needy farmers in and around Kozhikode district.

Outcome of the project At the end of the project, farmers who participated in the programme learned latest production technologies of crops like ginger, vegetables etc. This helped them to gain confidence to try these technologies in their own field thus indirectly spreading the message to other farmers. A large number of visitors to KVK also were enlightened about the project thus spreading the message to different parts of the State as well as outside. Now more farmers have come forward to participate in this continuing programme supported by KVK and NABARD. Refinement of these technologies which are evaluated and demonstrated, can lead to development of new technologies as well.