Farming is a lifelong career for most farmers, and the need for continuous learning can help farmers be on the top of emerging trends and technologies in agriculture.
S M Sehgal Foundation’s Agriculture Development Program promotes sustainable livelihoods in India by building the capacities of farmers, including women farmers, on improved agricultural practices and new technologies that increase crop yields, conserve water, and improve soil fertility.
The program imparts information about modern and sustainable agricultural practices to strengthen and adapt the capacities of farmers to changing circumstances. The Agriculture Development team promotes a wide range of capacity-building methods including classroom training sessions that introduce modern techniques and best practices, on-farm training with practical application of these techniques and practices, field days and exposure visits to introduce farmers to new innovations and approaches, and workshops for peer-to-peer interaction and learnings. The team also organizes exposure visits for farmers and invites agri-scientists from Krishi Vigyan Kendras for experience sharing and capacity building to make agriculture rewarding and to build linkages for program sustainability.
Seventy-five farmers from twenty-five villages of Jansath and Khatauli block in Muzaffarnagar, UP, gathered for a training program on July 15, 2022, under the John Deere project, implemented by S M Sehgal Foundation and supported by John Deere CSR. The program experts were Dr. Surendra Singh and Dr. Jitendra Kumar Arya, scientists at Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Chittoda, Muzaffarnagar.
Aligning with the farmers’ needs
As good agriculture practice, scientific cultivation, and increasing cost of cultivation are some of the major concerns faced by farmers, and training was aligned with the need of farmers to address their concerns such as identification and management of major diseases and pests of sugarcane crop, use of various plant protection measures, and the dimensions of sugarcane cultivation.
Sharing and Learning on Sugarcane Crop
Dr. Surendra Singh said that healthy seeds are key components for healthy crops, so it is necessary that healthy and disease-free sugarcane plants should be selected for plantation; because when the diseased sugarcane is used as planting material, it will damage the crop and infect the soil. In order for the farmer to use healthy and disease-free sugarcane as seed, treatment and crop rotation practices are advised to avoid diseases like red rot and pokka boing. It is also advisable to use balanced fertilizers on the basis of soil tests to get a healthy crop and yield.
In sugarcane crops, there is a high incidence of shoot borer insect, which requires proper physical and chemical management of insect pests along with the use of Tricho card. Dr. Jitendra encouraged the farmers to use various organic measures such as Jeevamrit, neem oil to control the insect pests simultaneously with the chemical protection at starting days. He also said organic measures have good results; but it takes time to show the result and also does not have any harmful impact on the crop and soil. Instead it helps to maintain the soil health. The full process for making Jeevamrit was explained by the scientist.
This was a farmers’ day out where they received a lot of good information to keep their crops healthy.