'Centre will set up mini labs in 648 KVKs in country'

'Centre will set up mini labs in 648 KVKs in country'

Union Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation D V Sadananda Gowda inaugurates two-day Krishi mela and Agri expo organised by ICAR- CPCRI Research Centre at Kidu on Saturday.

The Centre will set up new mini laboratories in 648 Krishi Vigyan Kendras spread across the country, Union Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation D V Sadananda Gowda said.

Speaking after inaugurating two-day Krishi Mela and agriculture exhibition, organised by ICAR- CPCRI Research Centre, at Kidu on Saturday, he said an innovative initiative ‘Mera Gaon Mera Gaurav’ has been implemented to promote direct interaction of scientists with the farmers.

“The coverage of National Agricultural Market (e-NAM) will be expanded from the current 250 markets to 585 APMCs,” he said.

He further said among horticultural crops, plantation crops play a significant role in the agrarian economy of Karnataka.

Systematic coconut-based cropping/farming system as a strategy to make coconut farming economically viable in small holdings needs to be highlighted among the farmers.

The system using multi-species cropping of coconut has the potential to generate 150% higher net income than that of coconut monocropping, while the coconut-based mixed farming system can generate 300% higher net income than that of coconut monocropping, he pointed.

Of late, there has been a vociferous campaign alleging that arecanut is carcinogenic, though based on limited human epidemiological studies, animal carcinogenicity and mutagenicity studies.

This has caused a lot of anxiety amongst arecanut growers, traders, consumers and other stakeholders in the commodity value chain. The situation necessitated concerted efforts on our part to unequivocally dispel the prevailing negative notions on arecanut and warrant systematic clinical research studies to understand the effects of arecanut products on human health and to explore alternate uses for arecanut and its by-products, Sadananda Gowda said.

On Yellow Leaf Disease affecting arecanut, the minister said CPCRI has initiated multiplication of yellow leaf disease resistant arecanut palms through tissue culture.

Sustainable cocoa production, wherein cocoa is produced without chemicals and devoid of child labour, is gaining popularity all over the world. India needs to explore this opportunity as India is one among the few countries where cocoa is produced without engaging child labour. There is a need to popularise the organic cocoa production, he added.

Dharmasthala Dharmadhikari D Veerendra Heggade said that the Krishi Melas are helpful in creating awareness among the children on farming.

It is the children who have to carry forward the tradition of farming. Crop production and price of crops are like two faces of a coin. There is a need to maintain stability in price and production. The farmers should tap scientific knowledge on plant protection, supply of nutrients, increase in production and measures to check diseases affecting crops from the scientists. Technical publications on coconut, arecanut, cocoa were released on the occasion.

Farm expo

The agriculture exhibition provided a platform for growers, wholesalers and all the stakeholders of agriculture, horticulture, dairy and animal husbandry, farm machinery and equipment, allies sectors who want to expand and diversify their business activities.

It also included an exhibition on agriculture machinery, crop protection measures, fertilisers and pesticides, urban farming/hydroponics, seeds/seedlings, government schemes and programmes for farmers’ welfare, poultry farming, aquaponics, farm equipment, nets and cages and others.