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Biotech-KISAN scheme is a farmer centric scheme for farmers, developed by and with farmers. It is a Pan-India program, following a hub-and spoke model and stimulates entrepreneurship and innovation in farmers and empowers women. The Biotech- KISAN Hubs are expected to fulfil the technology requirement to generate agriculture and bio-resource related jobs and better livelihood ensuring biotechnological benefits to small and marginal farmers. Biotech-KISAN also has unique a feature to identify and promote local farm leadership in both genders. Such leadership helps to develop sciencebased farming besides facilitating transfer of knowledge. So far a total of eight Biotech-KISAN Hubs in different Agro-climatic Zones have been supported. Major highlights of the progress made in ongoing programmes are as follows:
Biotech-KISAN Hub at Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization, Dehradun has clear objective to reach farmers’ through a network and facilitation. The central hub (HESCO, Dehradun) and Sub hub (Paini, Sahiya and Simoli) have been created. Improved Agriculture, Horticulture practices, Sustainable use of Bioresource and soil and water conservation are major initiatives of the project. A village-based fruit processing unit was established at Chakarata Sub Hub. One poultry business model has been created in Chakarata Sub Hub. At initial stage a total 500 Broiler + 300 Broiler (Gallus gallus domesticus) chicks and feeds were provided to the farmers. For promotion of goat farming 5 goats were given at Almora Sub Hub. To promote economic use of water for irrigation, four micro sprinkler systems were installed in all the locations. Integrated model of water harvesting and its storage with multiple usage has been initiated in two locations. Establishment of Biotech-KISAN Hub at Bihar Agricultural University, Bhagalpur established with the major mandates to popularise lathyrus in Tal areas of Bihar and to conduct values chain analysis and value addition of lathyrus. Demonstration is conducted for two varieties of lathyrus (i.e. Ratan and Prateek) in 26.33 acres areas in the field of 46 farmers (Fig 5).
Biotech-KISAN Hub at West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences has been started with the objective for linking available science and technology options to the farmers of Sundarban area through understanding their problems to provide a suitable and alternative solution for their better livelihood.
Biotech-KISAN Hub has been established at Foundation for Agricultural Resources Management and Environmental Remediation (FARMER), Ghaziabad. The project is being implemented by FARMER with partnering Institutes; ICAR – IARI, New Delhi, ICAR - CPRIC, Meerut, SVPUA&T, Meerut through KVKs, G. B. Nagar, Ghaziabad/Hapur in the agro climatic zone of Upper Gangetic Plains Region. Trainings have been organized for farmers on development of entrepreneurship in rural youths and women and crop residue management and biodegradation. Biotech-KISAN Hub has been established at Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh with the major objectives of assessment of the yield gaps in major pulses and groundnut grown in scarce rainfall and north coastal zones. As part of the project, a base line survey was conducted at selected 25 villages of Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam, Anantapuram and Kurnool districts. Based on the identified focused areas, inputs were also finalized and literature on package of practices of the crops (Vyvasaya Panchangam), broachers and booklets pertaining to the advanced technologies were distributed to the farmers to create awareness (Fig 6 a & b). Training programmes were organized for affective implementation of technologies in the farmers’ fields. A web portal was also designed for affective dissemination of the technologies at the farmers’ level.
Sustainable enhancement of production and productivity of horticulture and fisheries sectors in the North Eastern states of Assam and Nagaland is the main objective of the Biotech-KISAN Hub established at Horticulture Research Station of Assam Agricultural University, Kahikuchi, Guwahati. The Institute of Horticulture Technology, Guwahati, ICAR, Nagaland Centre and KVK, Kahikuchi are the partner institutes in this programme. Trainings have been imparted to the farmers for establishment of quality planting material production systems of banana, turmeric and pineapple. Overwhelming response from the farmers, particularly women farmers, is an indicator of the percolation of latest sustainable technology at the grass root levels in tune with the felt needs of the farmers of North East Region (Fig 7).
A Tinkering Lab has been established under Biotech- KISAN Hub at Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals (ISAP), Gulbarga for water and soil anlaysis. So far, soil and water samples of 210 farmers and KVK have been analyzed along with 75 soil samples of selected farmers. Demonstration has been carried out in farmers’ field for promotion of new red gram variety GRG-811, which is high yielding and resistant to wilt and sterility mosaic along with micronutrient application, space planting, dibbling, transplanting and thinning / pruning. Pulse wonder technologies were also demonstrated at farmer’s level (Fig 8). The red gram yield has been almost double with the adoption of these technologies. Under protective irrigation, the yield has touched even more than 2 tons per hectare.
A Biotech-KISAN Hub has been recently established at Chandra Shekhar Azad University of Agriculture & Technology, Kanpur with an aim of agricultural diversification for income enhancement through Horticulture, Scientific Beekeeping, Scientific Goat Rearing, Entrepreneurship Development for Rural Youth and Conservation Agriculture to conserve natural recourses and increase the productivity as well as income with low cost.