National Castor Kisan Mela-2017

24thFebruary 2017, Hyderabad

National Castor Kisan Mela-2017 was organized on 24 February 2017, by ICAR-Indian Institute of Oilseeds Research  at Rajendranagar, Hyderabad, in collaboration with National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP), Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India. India is the world’s largest producer of castor, contributing 89% of world’s castor production (19.48 lakh tonnes). In 2014-15 it was cultivated in 11.05 lakh ha and an average yield level was 1,568 kg/ha. The purpose of the mela was to bring all the stakeholders of castor economy to a common platform. More than 1,000 farmers from various states, growing the castor, participated in the programme.

National Castor Kisan Mela-2017National Castor Kisan Mela-2017

Dr A. Vishnuvardhan Reddy, Director, ICAR-IIOR, Hyderabad, highlighting the castor scenario in India along with prospects and problems reported the latest technologies like newly developed castor hybrids (DCH-519, GCH-7, PCH-111, YRCH-1 and DCH-177), drip irrigation, best management practices and innovative extension activities taken up by the institute, which are likely to double the income of farmers in near future, according to him.

Mrs Usha Rani, Director General, MANAGE, Hyderabad, the chief guest, highlighted that castor is an ideal crop for areas with low rainfall and low soil fertility. She expressed that government should support castor farmers through incentive oriented initiatives including minimum support price, market protection, subsidies for adoption of drip irrigation, etc. Dr V. Praveen Rao, Vice-chancellor of Professor Jaishankar Telangana State Agricultural University, Hyderabad, in his presidential address, advised castor farmers to take up agriculture in the spirit of business and to apply pesticides and fertilizers judiciously. He suggested the institutional intervention in analysing opportunity cost of cultivating castor vis-a-vis other competing crops. Dr Anupam Barik, Additional Commissioner, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Government of India, in his address as guest of honour, acknowledged the huge participation of farmers and exhibitors from various private and public sectors. He stressed the need for cutting down unhealthy level of 19 kg per capita edible oil consumption of in the country to healthy level of 12-13 kg. He promised to include castor in various schemes of Union Government to support castor crop farmers. Dr Y.G. Prasad, Director, ATARI (Zone-V), Hyderabad, urged the farmers to add to their farm income by taking up rabi castor crop with drip irrigation. Dr V. Ranga Rao, Former Project Director of IIOR, speaking on the occasion, urged to demonstrate the newly developed castor hybrids in farmers’ field through cluster village concept.

During the mela, kisan ghoshti (scientist-farmer interaction), exhibition, felicitation of innovative farmers, distribution of literature (inHindi/regional language) for farmers were organized. The main attraction of the mela was the on-site showcasing of crop cafeteria demonstrating the castor hybrids and varieties released either for all castor growing regions of the country viz., DCH-519, DCS-107 or states like Gujarat (GCH-7, GC-3), Tamil Nadu (YRCH-1) and Telangana (PCH-111), along with the best management practices including drip irrigation system. Besides the above, crop cafeteria of other oilseed crops, viz., groundnut, soybean, sunflower, safflower, niger, linseed and rapeseed mustard were also showcased. The inspiring mela was not only the stage for transfer of new technology but also guided the fine-tuning of technologies to suit the farmers and farming system required to enhance castor production of the country.

(Courtesy: English Editorial Unit)