A university-farmer connect promises better communication and networking, regular contacts and sharing common goals.
The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) has played a significant role in modernising agriculture. The university has been training farmers and on improved farm technologies and practices. Connecting Farmers with University (CFwU) is an integrated programme employing an array of activities. Given the heterogenous nature of the farming community, often customised messages need to be communicated. TNAU transfers the technologies generated from its research system to farmers. It is also involved in the assessment, refinement and adoption of technology through on-farm testing and front-line demonstrations.
Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) set up across the state provide a platform to connect with the farmers. Regular conduct of ‘farmers’ fairs’ and ‘field days’ expose farmers and the public to latest technological advancements, which also encourages direct interactions between farmers and scientists. On-the-spot technical solutions are demonstrated at experimental sites. The institute provides the participants practical exposure by organising ‘learning by doing’ modules. The university publishes a monthly journal, Uzhavarin Valarum Velanmai covering different topics such as farmers’ success stories, season specific agro-advisory, articles by scientists, etc. This journal is proposed to be hosted in the website for a wider reach. An exclusive outreach portal has been created covering farming and allied sectors.
An Expert System programme to facilitate problem-solving has been developed. These ‘crop doctors’ for paddy, sugarcane, ragi, coconut and banana and animal enterprises such as cow, goat and poultry, facilitate instant decision-making by the farmers through an ICT-enabled mechanism. The mobile apps have been converted and uploaded with help of CDAC, Hyderabad for the benefit of the users.
ANDROID APPS AND OTHER services…
TNAU has server-based multi-point video conferencing facility to invite, share and interact with scientists, extension officials, and farmers. It is possible to connect 96 locations simultaneously and hold 24 parallel sessions with farmers and different stakeholders to disseminate information.
An Educational Media Centre established at TNAU is producing agriculture related videos for telecasting. Video and audio lessons on various agricultural subjects and for AIR are also produced. An Agri Technology Information Centre that serves as a single window to provide solutions to farmers on specific problems. ATIC is emerging as a popular sale outlet for all TNAU inputs.
Social media tools are used to provide guidance to TNAU stations spread across the state. A Domestic and Export Market Intelligence Cell (DEMIC) forecasts the supply and demand of important agricultural commodities. It also helps forecast prices, and study the state market situation related to important commodities. To improve the accuracy of weather forecasting, TNAU has established an agricultural weather network. Ten types of agriculture-related weather parameters from 385 AWS are collected at hourly intervals and hosted in the website.
Vision 2023 targets the agriculture sector in the state to achieve 5 per cent annual average growth. The objective calls for setting up robust support infrastructure for planning, production, processing, storage, distribution, marketing and sale of agricultural produce.