Water conservation focus of this year's Krishi Mela

Water conservation focus of this year's Krishi Mela

The annual Krishi Mela of University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru, will be held from November 19 to 21 with focus on water-conservative crops.

The varsity will showcase new farm techniques and release new varities of crops developed by it during the three-day event. “Farmers will be taught how to grow more crops per drop,” Dr D P Kumar, Director (Education) and acting vice-chancellor, UAS-B, told mediapersons here on Monday.

The duration of the mela has been restricted to just three days owing to scanty rainfall, particularly in Doddaballapur, Nelamangala and surrounding taluks.

Also, the Mela has been scheduled during weekdays instead of weekends so that farmers get to attend and learn. The focus, otherwise, would be lost in weekend urban crowd.

One of the main attractions this year will be the Aerobic/SRI method of rice cultivation which not only saves around 60 per cent water compared to the regular puddle method, but also conserves soil health and increases its productivity.

Under the aerobic drip irrigation method, three varieties of rice are being cultivated on the university campus and other varieties are being experimented with.

Dr M A Shankar, Director of Research, said that compared to the puddle method which yields seven tonnes of rice per hectare, the drip irrigation method yields 8.5 tonnes per hectare.

The drip irrigation method, which includes fertiliser along with drip water, yields 12 tonnes of rice per hectare. He said that during the mela, scientists will explain all these techniques to the farmers.

During a field visit Dr Shankar spoke about the pomelo fruit and elaborated on the seven varieties of the fruit.

The fruit can be grown without irrigation. He said that the fruit is very beneficial for liver and kidney function and that the farmers will be encouraged to grow more of the fruit.

Rainwater harvesting

During the Mela, farmers will also be taught various techniques to help their crops survive through drought by utilising rainwater and ground water available in a more scientific manner and creating bunds every one acre of land.

These methods are also part of the Krishi Bhagya scheme launched by the State government under which farmers are provided assistance for rainwater harvesting.

This year, there will be 600 stalls and about 300 exhibitors along with a 100 companies will showcase their products. Around 100 self help groups and 30 organic farmers will also participate in the event.

Separate stalls will be set up for cultivating flowers suitable for weather conditions. There will also be dedicated stalls for organic products, terrace/vertical garden stall, fodder for cattle and medicinal plants and how to grow them.

A 10 grams sachet of honey, priced at just Re 1, will be launched at the mela. The UAS-B, under the National Agriculture Technology Project (NATP), has developed the technology, and a self help group from Chamarajanagar has taken up the manufacturing of the honey sachets.

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