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
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.
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.