Aimed at imparting agro-ecological knowledge and skills in hands-on and participatory ways among the enterprising young farmers, the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) has decided to start an innovative farmers' school in Karnal.
Director, NDRI, AK Srivastava, told Hindustan Times on Tuesday that it was for the first time that the institute was offering specially designed one-year diploma programme to the farmers.
First of its kind school will be opened at Gumto village, about 20 km from here, in the Indri sub-division.
The school with an intake capacity of 40 students will start from August 1 and classes would be held on Saturdays and Sundays.
Srivastava said that the basic idea to open the school was to apprise the farming community of various technological aspects of agriculture, dairy farming and veterinary.
He said that the upcoming facility would help in evolving role model farmers.
"Only the enterprising young farmers between the age of 18-35 would be admitted through a screening test. It will be like a regular school with an emphasis on attendance, examinations and field studies would be compulsory," Srivastava said while adding that its success would determine the scope of opening similar schools in other states as well.
He said that it was on the basis of expert's field study that the innovative school was proposed.
Srivastava said that it was observed that Indian farmers were either not aware of the technological advancements in agriculture or hesitant to adopt them for a variety of reasons.
He stressed that myths like quantity of water determines yield of paddy were needed to be broken.
Srivastava said that contrary to a common belief of high use of pesticides, an average Indian farmer uses 570 gm/hectare pesticide where its usage in the developed countries is about 14 kg/hectare.
Even Japanese farmers use as high as 18 kg/hectare pesticides.
"However, an average Indian farmer is not even aware that which pesticide should be used for particular disease and its right quantity for the fields. Whereas despite high but safe usage of pesticides, it is almost a non-issue for the developed societies for the health of humans or environment," he said.
He said that the "students" would be taken to the research institutes of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and agriculture universities to apprise them of technological advancements and its practical usefulness for the farming community.
The NDRI director said that once the school was functional, he would write to the Kisan Ayog, Haryana, to recommend to the state government for roping in the diploma holders in agriculture extension of any other programme.