Saturday, February 23, 2019

Posted at: Feb 13, 2018, 12:24 AM; last updated: Feb 13, 2018, 12:24 AM (IST)CAMPUS SCENE: NAUNI VARSITY

Scientists experiment on zero budget farming

Ambika Sharma

Paying heed to the Governor’s suggestions, a two-hectare experimental farm on the zero budget agriculture technique has been set up on the campus. Natural and organic farming systems are being practised on this farm on an experimental basis. A team of scientists from various departments, including entomology, plant pathology, microbiology and soil sciences have been roped in for the requisite technical inputs. Students pursuing MSc and PhD have been entrusted the task of comparing the zero budget farming and conventional farming systems. Giving it an indigenous touch, four cows bought from Haryana have also been made part of this farm. Having received a rap from the Governor-cum Chancellor for failing to start this farm, the university management had put in all efforts to make it a success.

Cabinet nod to 14 vacant posts

The state Cabinet gave its nod to fill 14 vacant posts of Assistant Professors (APs) and all decks have been cleared for advertising the posts and further recruiting the staff. The university management was awaiting clearance of these posts since long as these key vacancies were hampering teaching in various departments. Aspirants for these posts have also welcomed the decision as it was after long that 14 posts of APs would be filled up.

Skill development programme initiated

A month-long skill development programme for farmers on ‘Job role of greenhouse operator’ commenced on the university campus. The Precision Farming Centre of the Department of Soil Science and Water Management organised the programme. Coordinator Dr RS Spehia informed that 40 farmers, representing all districts were being sponsored by the Department of Horticulture for the training.

The farmers are being trained in all aspects of greenhouse operations starting from construction and repair, nursery production of flowers and vegetables and crop production technique. In addition, the disease and insect pest management, micro-irrigation management in protected conditions, maintaining soil health with organic manure and bio-fertilizers area also being dealt with in the programme. Scientists from various departments of the university addressed the participants on various topics related to the greenhouse technology. Farmers are also being taken on an exposure visit to the Centre of Excellence, Karnal and Chail. They will be apprised of the various government schemes for promoting the use of greenhouse technology. Dr JC Sharma, Head, Department of Soil Science and Water Management, said this was the first such initiative by a government department where a 200-hours skill development programme on various related topics were being organised in coordination with the Agriculture Skill Council of India(ASCI). The participants will be evaluated by independent examiners and successful candidates will be awarded a certificate by the ASCI. The certificate will be valid all over India for applying for the job of Greenhouse Operator.

Programme on capacity building

A two-day programme on sensitisation and capacity building of farmers concluded at the university where 40 farmers from the Nichar Block of Kinnaur district participated. It focused on creating awareness on organic farming. The training was organised by the Department of Business Management under the ‘Organic farming promotion through sensitisation, awareness generation and capacity building of farmers for sustainable agro-ecological systems, improved livelihoods for healthier Himalayan region’ project. The project is sponsored by the GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Almora, Uttrakhand. In the inaugural session of the training, Vice-Chancellor Dr HC Sharma addressed farmers on various aspects of organic and zero budget natural farming. He advised the farmers to adopt organic farming and reduce dependence on insecticides and pesticides. He urged the participants to develop community based water storage systems, which could help in dealing with water shortage problems in the rain deficient months.


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