ICAR industry day was celebrated on the theme "Opportunities for small and marginal farmers" on Tuesday by the Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Fatehgarh Sahib, at their office in Shamsher Nagar.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Harinder Singh, deputy director (training) emphasized that there are about 27 per cent small and marginal farmers in Fatehgarh Sahib district out of which majority of the marginal and small farmers are economically unviable due to limited production and little market value of various crops available with them.
He suggested that these farmers should opt for bee keeping, mushroom cultivation, agro processing and kitchen gardening. He emphasized on the training held for these entrepreneurs at KVK, Fatehgarh Sahib.
He also underlined the various technologies developed by PAU, Ludhiana in agriculture and allied fields. He said that some estimates show that in developed countries up to 14% of the total workforce is engaged in agro processing sector directly or indirectly. However, in India only 3% workforce finds employment in this sector.
Amina Raheja gave a brief presentation on new farm technologies that is capital intensive. Farmers borrow for the purchase of heavy farm machinery like tractors. So viable option for them is group farming. As the consumer now is favoring value-added agro- based products and processed food items like multigrain atta and canola oil, so in this context the post harvest technology scheme of PAU has been a role model in country.
Maninder Kaur shared her views that farmers are not aware of Integrated farming system which is an economically viable option to enhance the farm productivity and reduce the environmental degradation.
For this a holistic approach is the need of the hour which mainly involves the adaptation of profitable rotations like potato-muskmelon-rice, rice-wheat-summer moongbean. These sequences with multiple cropping systems give higher returns than traditional rice-wheat crop rotation.
Reet Verma said marginal and small farmers can run bee keeping enterprise very successfully on their small land holdings to augment their family income. She added that other than honey there are several other products such as royal jelly, bee venom, propolis, bees wax etc which can be obtained from the honey bees.
Dr. Arvind Preet Kaur explained that marginal and small farmers can go for vertical farming, low tunnel system, polyhouse, net house etc by growing labor intensive off season vegetable nursery and hybrid seed production to earn their livelihood in a better way. She stressed on the usage of fruits and vegetables which can be processed. Button mushroom cultivation can be adopted as an allied profession by marginal and small farmers to ameliorate their income from the crop farming.