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Initiatives in Supporting Farmers through District Level Interventions during COVID-19 time: ICAR-KVK, Gonikoppal, Kodagu

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
KVK Alink Between Governments

Krishi Vigyan Kendras are agricultural extension center’s in India. They are usually associated with a local agricultural university and these centers serve as the ultimate link between the ICAR and farmers, and aim to apply agricultural research in a practical, localized setting. All KVKs fall under the jurisdiction of one of the 11 Agricultural Technology Application Research Institutes (ATARIs) throughout India. As of January 2020, there were approximately 716 KVKs throughout India. The practical implications of scientific  research done in Universities  happens in agricultural extension departments such as KVKs who serve to gather, test and disseminate knowledge between centralized institutions and a geographically-dispersed rural population. Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Gonikoppal,Kodagu is functioning under the ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru.

Functioning of Agri input outlet at KVK campus in association FPO: The agri input outlet has been opened at KVK by the Puthari FPO. The outlet is functioning in compliance with the district administration directions. The outlet is opened form 7 am to 12 noon on three days of the week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and from from 27th April onwards upto 4 pm. Many farmers do come and purchase critical inputs required for the their farm. The outlet mainly caters to the requirements of vegetables seeds, pesticides, fungicides, plant nutrients like water soluble fertilizer which are critical for maintaining the plantation crops like coffee and pepper. Apart from this agricultural machineries like week cutter, small farm implements, harvesting ladders are also available in the outlet. The farmer are advised to use hand sanitizers, face masks and social distancing while purchasing the  agricultural inputs at this time of COVID-19. This also creates awareness among farmers about the importance of social distancing.

Puthari

Number of farmers benefited: On an average about 40-50 famers are coming to the outlet and procuring agri inputs. Till now about 500 farmers have come and purchased their critical inputs required to maintain their farm. The FPO has priced all its produce 30 per cent below the market price. This has provided farmers a great relief.

Sale of small farmer animal produce: At the same time the outlet is also facilitating farmers to sell their animal products like eggs, thus providing an outlet to market these animal products, which have also suffered a price crash during the period. Added to this was the fear about Bird flu incidence which erupted in neighboring districts of Kodagu.

Marketing of fruits and vegetables purchased directly from farmers: The FPO in association with KVK has initiated a foray into fruits and vegetables procurement directly from farmers and marketing for helping farmers and consumers both. Till now about about 100 farmers have benefited from this effort. The produce is purchased from local farmers and also neighboring Mysuru district farmers.  The farmers have felt the blow of sudden crash in vegetable prices due to sudden drying up of demand due to the disruption in supply chain. The FPO is voluntarily offering twenty per cent higher prices than the asking prices, to such farmers while purchasing directly from them. The KVK has given space to market these vegetables inside the KVK campus itself, while maintaining all social distancing norms. The volunteers from KVK and FPO take care that the social distancing norms are taken care of.

tempary selling Vegetables

Quantity of vegetables and fruits procured: About 5 tonnes of different  vegetables (mainly chilli, brinjal, bhendi, tomato, watermelon, leafy vegetables, raw banana, cabbage, gourds etc ) and 6 tonnes of different fruits likes avocado, sapota, banana, guava, grapes, raw jackfruit, papaya have been procured directly from farmers of Kodagu and neighboring districts of Mysore, Bangalore rural etc.)

Innovativeness:  Most of the farmers from whom vegetables and fruits were purchased were direct farmers who were either members of FPO or got the contact through different whatsapp groups of farmers and agricultural groups.

Maintaning Social distancing

Benefit to consumers: More than 1000 consumers have benefited from such an initiative where they are getting fresh fruits and vegetables at far competitive rates than the other markets.

Recently they have been working with Mango farmers, Avocado farmers, Sweet potato farmers in guiding transport, arranging permission and Vehicle Pass to transport products to Bangalore. Some of the Initiatives and Innovations taken by Puthari FPO are in association with KVK, Kodagu (Producer Organisation Promoting Institution). Puthari FPO is a NABARD supported FPO with 850 members.

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