Thursday 9 February 2012

Pondering Tissue culture; Let Tissue Culture starts with Banana crop in the state Tripura.

       Tissue culture proliferation and popularization in the state Tripura is yet to see the light of the day. Of course, there’s reported to be Biotechnology wing looking after the tissue culture activities in the state.
       However, this noble technology is still to show its nobility in the state. This delaying tends to take a grip in the state is actually creating some kinds of bottle necks in the adoption and popularization of certain useful crops and ushering the good advantage of modern technology.
       Tissue culture should have rescued the despondent scenery of banana cultivation in the state. Now, the point is; it has become very difficult to get good banana seedling in many regions of the state.
       In Tripura, tissue culture has bright future to take a stronghold in the farming communities by ensuring the stagnant sector to agility. With the development and set up of tissue culture lab in the state, banana farmers could easily obtain the disease free banana seedling in affordable rate and time and, also in required quantities.
       In addition, several high yielding varieties of banana like dwarf Cavendish can be popularized in the state through this tissue culture technique. At present, share of dwarf Cavendish is in minuscule level due to various intriguing factors.
      Let’s forget the dwarf Cavendish; tissue culture journey may start with locally available varieties of banana. Once the tissue culture facts is established with locally available Champa and Sabri then the next stage may begin with high yielding varieties of banana.
       In the given situation, plantlets of Champa and Sabri would definitely get good number of takers in the state starving for quality banana seedling.
        Now, the situation in the state is like that any farmer however he / she is motivated would find it difficult to go for large scale commercial banana cultivation in the state due to want of sufficient numbers of quality banana seedlings.
       In Tripura, of course, the mindset of farmers’ would be another aspect but nevertheless, a change is expected in a days to come. But fact also that there are farmers in plain area that is in the vicinity of urban areas with good communication network who can/are able to usher this tissue culture for large and commercial level banana cultivation for tapping the present market demands in the urban areas.
         Tissue culture as techniques and technology has already proved its mettle in various states of the country. People of such region have been utilizing this technology for their farming endeavor for several commercial/economical crops or species.
        However, in Tripura, the concept is still in dormant stage as far as proliferation and popularization is concerned. As on date, there are no promiscuous activities around tissue culture.
       As mentioned, there is biotechnology lab and tissue culture lab too but on the other side, there is no private firm or no private firm is coming forward for giving this service to the farmers of the state. Whereas, in many other state of India, there is mushrooming of many private tissue culture firm looking into this aspect and providing service to the farmers.
       Tissue culture lab and tissue culture produced plantlets for the benefit of the farmers is very much required at this crucial hour where fruit crop at large is struggling to take a foot hold in the state.
      The department concerned may fully utilize the laboratory that exists and start trialing the concept in the field level for popularizing the tissue culture and, in the meantime, people of the state should also welcome the private player for entry into the state for the greater benefit of farming communities.
       This technique of mass multiplication in useful commercial crops would surely bring hopes to the farmers and farmers in turn will be able to reap this technological benefit for good economical returns.
    Agritangkol dated 09.02.2012 at 2.30 P.M

Gentlemen, Your Local Ber is Sold in Footpath

       I have been giving some real insights of some insightful aspects for this short sojourn, now another such miserable feather is going to be added with this post.
       Ber! Who cares? It may sound strange and outward to many but this is the real fact and factual aspect of local Ber in the Agartala area.
       Now, the season is for Ber, every where (not appropriate) Ber and Ber. But, is it our Ber? (May feel otherwise)? Ber does not distinguish, I, me, you, yours and ours but here it is to distinguish between local and outside Ber.
       But, the fact is; at Agartala fruit market what you see and purchase is all from outside state. It is fleshy, equivalent to seedless and sizeable that sold in good price in the market.
       Packaged in nylon net for half to one kilogram, very affordable and taste is also very astounding.
What is the condition of local Ber? Fruit vendor do not keep and sale local ber. It is not in the up market, it is sold in footpath by some one very humble. Rate! Comparing to outside Ber, it is very pity and paltry.
What is the size of local Ber? It is very small and marble sized or little bigger than sweet pea (with some exception). Taste! Sour most cases and milder in rare cases (may differ).
       However, size, taste did not hamper the use and usability of local Ber in the state. It is due to lack of patronization by local; people for local fruit that it is finding no respectable place in the state. In the taste, achar and chutney prepared from the ripened and dried Ber is famous but waiting for final destiny.
       Already, local Ber has reached to a position from where its revival stands remote some fears, it would one day completely disappear from the state.
      Two decades ago, local Ber used to find a place in the backyard or homestead orchard or otherwise with other fruit plants like mango and jackfruit. But both local mango and jackfruit are in disclaim, Ber has been pushed to the wall furthering the setback. This is also true fact that the Ber is accidental fruit plant means it comes up naturally and later on nursed by men.
       Now, if the reasons of such ignorance are considered to be due to the following reasons like  Taste & Size  People reluctance to all fruit crops, then, let us see the first hypothetical reason which could have pushed local Ber to the position of disappearance.
       Now, if Taste & size maters that could be easily rectified for better performance had there been genuine inclination or interest to the local Ber. People of the state already knew the grafting technique of local Ber. They knew how to produce quality Ber from the existing local Ber through grafting technique but strangely as mentioned, it not being the case now.
       So, here at Tripura, the first reason of hypothetical barrier do not suit, it is the second hypothetical reason that is people reluctance to the local Ber and all fruit crops in general that appropriately fits.
Resource rich doesn’t confer the term Resource worthy; this is how you utilize the existing resources for benefitting human lives which is most forthcoming.
       Preservation, conservation and utilization of resources are the pre-defined dos that people of the state should realize.
       The problem is; people of the state do not consider the local Ber as one of the economic crop probably they may be having different choice of option. The result is; we are depending on outside supply for meeting our need.
       “Farmers of Bijapur and Raichur of Karnataka grow Ber in the arid or semi arid region and earn good income from the Bear crop. Any one from Tripura would probably laugh on listening to this story but it is the fact. May be the differentiation between our farmer and Karnataka farmers may be their early realization to the fact”.
                       The one liner should be “Our existing resources should be nurtured”
                                        Agritangkol dated 09.02.2012 at 4.40 P.M

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Date Palm; It is Declining in Tripura

       Two decades ago the scenes of rustic rural villages of Tripura were quite different from today. There have been many changes in the rural life and rural activities due to fusion of many trends and techniques of today.
       While, some changes had given the light to the rural population for furtherance and some had really changed in a way that has become a reason of concern of the day.
     Out of many changes that has taken or shaped in other wise is proliferation and flourishing and diminishing of certain useful crops or species in the rural areas.
       Here, the date palm, the famously known for sugar alternative nicely fits to the changes that has become a cause of concern of the day.
       In those days, especially in the plain areas of the state, date palm tree used to be found in and around the pond and also in the backyard. People of course, do not give any nursing to the date palm tree but safe guard the date palm for it is useful tree for date palm juice.
       The activity relating to the date palm usually starts from the month of October or other wise during fall winter and it continues up to the month of March in every year.

What is the activity?

       It is of course many will say silly and common thing and others who are to see and feel would say amazing. We all know our sweet is sourced from the sugarcane, sugar beet etc but the sweet yielding tree that is date palm is not known by all especially people of the temperate countries.
       What the date palm yield is of course ‘many’; it would be in one liner. Because as we go by product produced from the juice of the date palm, we get product like tuak, a hardened and concentrated sweet ball and another is semi liquid or otherwise, a thick liquid before making tuak.
     The usage of date palm juice (processed) is like use is in different types of dessert preparation which otherwise is used as an alternative to the usual sugar produced out of sugarcane.
       However, the flavor of aroma of date palm sweet product is next to comparable. In addition, people also consumes in raw form immediately after the collection of date palm juice in the morning hour.
     It was quite popular and commands the same demands in today’s market condition too. The use of this date palm sugar is woven in the fabric of the social ceremony to the occasional usage by the people of the state.

Method of juice tapping

       The process of course, very simple and quite common to the people that is to say that it is known by almost every one as far as techniques or methods of date palm juice extraction or juice tapping is concerned.
      Juice tapping usually starts from the tree which is of five to six years old and height of four to five feet from the ground level. However, age is not criteria; it is some times the diameter and height of the tree that people take into consideration for selecting the tapping sized date palm.
       On the fall winter of every season people associated with tapping of date palm starts cleaning the frond of the date palm at the top keeping certain rows of frond intact. The cleaning is made in circle around the date palm at the top of the tree and cleaned out portion (in one side) is selected for further scaling through the specialized sickle.
       Once the scaling is made in a certain depth, it is kept as it is for another one week without any operation in between until the scaled out portion is further deepened and tapping nose is fitted within the earmarked portion.
      The tapping nose is fitted in such a way that the juice secreted are collected in the side canal from where it is further pushed to the earthen container fitted in every collection time.
       The time of tapping starts at the afternoon time or evening hour and juice is collected in the morning of next day. In every tapping time, a layer in the particular portion is scaled in thin layer for ensuring the secretion of juice and this is made in every alternate day for tapping of the juice.
       What is the next step in action? Once the juice is collected, it is further accumulated in the big container. The container with juice is heated slowly to such time till the juice is concentrated in such form which could easily be solidified in the desired form and size.
       Here, of course the timing of the collection of juice is also important that is to say that the juice has to be collected in the early morning hour and, any deviation in the timings will affect on the quality of the juice collected.
     It is due to the contamination of different germs that could act as and when day temperature rises with the time.
       Another prevalent cause of spoiling of the date palm juice is due to the cloudy weather, during cloudy weather, the juice gets spoiled due to micro organisms’ activity in the congenial weather condition.
What is the marketing aspect of date palm sweet?
       It is seasonal, it is limited and it fetches good market price which is well above the usual sugar available in the market. But is purely seasonal, within a couple of months of winter season, market is empty means no date palm products.

Importance of date palm in the farmers’ perspective

       The fact is no farmer or household is considering for plantation of date palm tree like any other plantation crops , it is only the accidental that most of the date palm tree comes up in the farmers field which are used for tapping for juice purpose.
     Of course, villagers are in habit of planting of date palm tree surrounding the pond, reason for planting of date palm surrounding the pond is not known but it is presumed that it acts as natural barrier some times due to its thorny leaves.
       If the date palm is considered, it can not be considered as most profitable venture due to the fact that it is not tried in scaleable size but the fact is also that it is not bad to have little side income from the homestead date palm tree by the people of the state.
       This is not only the complementary to the sugar during this particular time but also gives considerable income through selling of date palm juice products in the markets.

Present scenario of date palm in Tripura

       There has been rapid changes in every sphere of activities in the rural areas but the question is; was that change progressive one or otherwise? Of course, simply changing the pattern in the date palm scenario may not be construed as otherwise but the fact is how the established date palm diminishes over the period of time?
       Date palm which, if not in the scaleable level but was in the prominence of rural condition is no more forthcoming and it is in fact changing rapidly wiping the last sign of date palm in several regions of the state. It is not that the date palm products are not available in the market but how available the tree is in its root place is the main question.
     The fact is it is disappearing slowly in the state, in many areas of the state where there was prominent date palm centric activities two decades ago have no sign of such activism.
       The new generation may be unfortunate to even to take a sight of real date palm tree in the locality which their forefather had played with.
       While changes are always welcomed but the fact the change should be progressive and harmonious in the given environment.
                                    Agritangkol dated 08.02.2012 at 6.20 P.M

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Local Mango Shortage Inevitable in Tripura

       In Tripura “SARASWATI PUJA”, The Goddess of knowledge has many influences in the mind of people (in majority cases) of the state.
       In the offering to the “SARASWATI PUJA” one of the item is mango inflorescence which is must to have in the ceremonial offering to the Goddess.
       One of the milestones, this festival indicates is ITS co-incidence of mango flowering. “SARASWATI PUJA” is celebrated in the month of Magha (in Bengali calendar year). This is the time mango plant starts flowering in every year or season (exception being gap in case of certain mango varieties).
       Preceding to the “SARASWATI PUJA” mango flowering of course starts but luxurious flowering usually observed immediately or few days after the ‘PUJA’. But this is not the case this time around which is really grimy to the mango orchard owners of the state.
       Of course, flowering of mango depends on various factors but strangely during this season, there has been very slower progression towards mango flowering.
       What is assumed is; in previous year at the particular period/time, there was rain to enhance the soil moisture content but at present, there is no sign of rain.
       Another factor people assume is; this time there is lots of fluctuation in temperature over a period of time. The trend is: after the Christmas or at best after “POUSH SANKRANTI” (middle of January), day temperature slowly increases but as mentioned, now-a-days, there is lot of temperature fluctuation.
       What could be the exact reason for such delayed flowering or prolonged dormancy is not known or clarified. However, this would surely affect the mango crop in the state.
       The state is already depending on outside supply, this time dependency on outside supply would surmount, if the condition does not improve within few days time.
       The season brings un-easy scenes to the people who cannot afford to purchase the quality mango from outside but to rely on local mango.
       What farmer should do or can do is of course the matter of technicalities to be prescribed by the professionals. But as a general farmer, what he / she can do is; see the moisture level of the soil, if needed increase the soil moisture level in and around the mango tree for enhancing the flowering.
    Agritangkol dated 07.02.2012 at 6.00 P.M

Egg Scenario and its Future in Tripura


       Egg in the state is one such item that has got the perennial demands so is economic potentiality. Egg is perennial in demand or requirement because, it is perhaps one such item that is preferred by almost all people (leaving meager percentage) of the state. However, per capita consumption of egg in the state is not up to the mark compare to other state.
       This shortfall in per capita consumption of egg in the state is due to demand and supply situation that is to say that the egg requirement of the state is mostly fulfilled through outside state supply.
     This situation sometimes creates bottlenecks in terms of price escalation on the commodity as the case may be.

Egg availability in the state Tripura:

       At present, egg availability in the state depends on the out side supply of poultry egg from other states. In absence of organized egg producers in the state, dependency on out side state become imminent and it is out side supply that constitutes lion share in terms total eggs marketed in the state.
       In the state, production of egg is not enough due to the fact that there are no visible private player or layer farm owners or people involved in egg production. It is only in the Government farm that certain quantities of egg from the layer or improved breeds are produced but the quantity is less than sufficient to the total requirement of the state.
       In addition, local egg produced from the local hen and duck is also very paltry due to decline in number of local hen and duck in the rural areas.
     It is due to such production variation and its consequent affect on supply that the price of the local egg of hen and duck is excessively high in the market compare to the poultry egg brought from the out side state.

Opportunity Ahead:

       The local egg market is very promising and expected to continue; in every month hundred thousands of poultry eggs are brought here for meeting the local demands whereas, as mentioned local supply is not noteworthy.
       While, in the state, there is very note worthy improvement in case of people venturing in broiler farm but the astonishing fact is; people are yet to plunge in the rearing of layer birds for egg production.
       In case of broiler farm, it is almost in every block level although scale of the farm may not be in economical level but it has reached to the fur flung areas and taken the roots in Tripura. This is only the times before it reaches in the level playing fields in the state.
       Whereas, the story of layer farms in the state is a matter of concern and to be examined carefully. The demands and supply position of egg in the state is favorable for the youth of the state to take a plunge in the egg production for tapping this economic opportunity.
      It would surely benefit the youth of the state in economic improvement through the organized venture in egg production.

Why egg production in the state is economical is presented in simple terms:-

        Egg economy in the state
1 Total population of the state(Approx): 3600000
2 If egg is preferred by 95 per cent(Approx) of the population then the daily egg requirement is: 3420000
3 If per capita(approx) consumption of egg per day is: 342000
4 As per row no-3, monthly egg requirement will be: 10260000
5 As per row no-4, yearly egg requirement will be: 123120000
6 If egg(layer) is sold at the rate of rupees four per egg than the total involvement will be(in rupees): 492480000
        This is only the assumption but in actual it would surely differ and it would be escalated in actual terms. From this illustration, it clearly indicates the good economic scenario which youth of the state can tap.
       The Government is in a drive to increase the egg production in the state and there is also easy access for financial help for such activities in the state. The point is; youth of the state should realize the opportunity and act in to harness this opportunity.
     Agritangkol dated 07.02.2012 at 2.05 P.M

Monday 6 February 2012

Rice Seed Replacement: What is the Awareness Level of Farmers?


            What do you know about rice seed replacement? If this question is posed to our farmers, the inevitable and expected answer would be ‘we do not know’ and, if questioned; do you feel like need for purchase of seed materials from outside? The answer would be; no, we produce our own rice seed for next season.
           This is the awareness revel of our farmers, of course, it would be inappropriate to say or presume that they do not go for outside seed agency for seed material but the fact is; they go for seed materials to neighboring /fellow farmers when he/she exhaust the seed stock for next season but seed is purchased from the farmers of same group of awareness level.
            Similarly, when Government department supply seed materials either free or subsidized rate, farmers gets the pure or improved varieties of rice seed materials so is introduction of new variety/cultivation of pure breed/variety but later on same trends continues as far as production or procurement of certified rice seed is concerned.
       This is the general trends and condition of farmers in respect of rice seed replacement with pure and certified seed or new improved varieties of rice seed with old and existing rice variety in the state.
           The matter of the fact is; “Rice farmers (in most cases) of the state keep certain quantities of rice during the particular season with an objective to use in the next season. At best, they segregate the particular lot of harvested rice before thrashing and pull out the unwanted rice variety.
        The problem is; farmer grows different varieties which subsequently results in mixing up of undesired variety with desired variety in the next rice crop. In addition, contamination at field level is also not ruled and due to ratoon in the rice field”.

Problem with rice seed replacement

           The main problem out of many possible elements in the way is farmers’ awareness with the concept. Review of age old system and replacing of rice seed with pure and certified rice seed is still to find a prominent place in the mind of the farmers.
         Farmers do not know the benefit of using of pure rice seed or certified rice seed and its subsequent effect on total rice production in the unit area. 
          Farmers do not feel like need for replacing of rice seed material with pure rice seed due to various factors or reasons like farmers awareness and farmers’ unnecessary longing on old varieties and system etc.

Awareness Campaign:

           The first and foremost necessity to pursue the matter is creating awareness amongst the farmer. This has to be supported with real sight seeing in the exposure visit for showing the differential production after use of pure seed or certified rice seed instead of mixed up / contaminated of rice seed in the existing system.
             Here, the extension officials have lot to do in creating the awareness amongst the farming community of the state.
          ‘ Farmers awareness will have twin results one, increase in production and seed industry which is in its infancy stage will achieve in economic scale’.
    Agritangkol dated 06.02.2012 at 6.20 P.M