Hill agriculture has several niche areas having comparative advantage for effective and sustainable exploitation of resources for better trade. Hill agriculture has a lot of opportunities to harness the production potential that favors cultivation of fruits and vegetables of industrial importance. At this backdrop, it was envisaged to have a webinar on “Skill Agriculture for Hill Agriculture". Dr. R. Venkattakumar, Principal Scientist and Head (I/c), Division of Social Sciences and Training, welcomed all the participants to the programme. He briefly narrated the importance of hill agriculture ecosystem.
Dr B. N. Srinivasa Murthy, Director, ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru briefly expressed the challenges and possible opportunities for overall development of hilly regions. He touched upon areas like gravity based irrigation system, soil erosion, agriculture mechanization, integrated system of farming etc. He also highlighted the opportunities through value addition, horti-tourism, harnessing the renewable energy through winds etc.
The guest speaker Dr R Venkatasubramanian, Director, ICAR-ATARI, Bengaluru having served as Zonal Project Directorate of NEH region, shared his experiences in hill agriculture ecosystem. He dwelt upon various areas of skilling in hill agriculture such as terracing, water harvesting, seed production, weeding, harvesting, value addition, marketing and drudgery of women in hill agriculture in many crop ecosystems, especially paddy, maize, onion, pine apple, tea, sugarcane, straw beery, banana, palmyra, rosemary, black pepper, tamarind, beekeeping, fodder crops etc. He mentioned about the significance of developing national occupational standards for many occupations in hill agriculture. He highlighted various machineries and tools developed especially for this special ecosystem. He sought active collaboration and partnership among the organizations for ensuring development of the hill agriculture. He also dwelt upon the policy options to be formulated by the agencies including ASCI for the benefit of farmers involved in hill agriculture.
After the lecture, active discussion was held between the speaker and participants. Dr B.N. Srinivasa Murthy congratulated the speaker and offered his concluding remarks. The programme had 107 participants from ICAR and sister institutes including KVK. The meeting ended with formal vote of thanks from Mr. Atheequlla G.A, Scientist, Division of Social Sciences and Training.