Friday 30 December 2011

Food Corporation of India decides to set up four storage structures in Tripura for increasing the food grains storage capacity.

   Recent media reports indicated that food corporation of India has decided to set up four storage structures in Tripura with total storage capacity of 45,000 metric tons. These storage structures have been decided to be set up in the following places:-
          Kumarghat North Tripura district
          Ambassa Dhalai district
          Jirania West Tripura district
          Santirbazar South Tripura district
   These proposed storage structures with individual storage capacity as noted below will increase the total storage capacity of food grain in the state as well as in all India level.
   Place of proposed storage structure Proposed capacity
         Kumarghat 5000 M.T
         Ambassa 5000 M.T
         Jirania 20000 M.T
         Santirbazar 15000 M.T
         Total 45000 M.T

     All these four storage structures are planned to be set in the periphery of the nearest railway line for availing the good transportation facility which until then had to depend mostly on trucks would definitely be a good time and money savers of the Government in the pursuit to the food grain transportation and storage in the designated storage structures.
   Proposed storage structures at Kumarghat, Ambasa and Jirania have already come under within the reach of railway line and the remaining storage structure (proposed) at Santirbazar would also come within the facility of railway line within the few years as works for extension of railway line towards south Tripura district extending up to Sabroom sub-division is stated to be in the progressive side.
    Now, the question is; how do these storage structures help the people of Tripura? Of course, there is no denying that it is through which the state Tripura receives food grain allocation of Government of India in subsidized rates as the case may be and meet the needs of the people of the state.
      But, Tripura, very recently made a mark of improvement in food grain production especially the rice and Tripura is also the recipient for ICAR awards in the north eastern states during the year 2010-11 for remarkable improvement in rice cultivation and production.
       Moreover, there are media reports that rice cultivation in Tripura has become a non-profitable activity due to lower prices and its subsequent affects on the total farm income of the real stake holder of the state.
      In this typical situation; what a farmer and general person can expect from the move of the Government of India in Food Corporation of India?
     The matter of the fact is; do the farmers of the state are capable enough to feed the storage of the food corporation of India in support price? This is the aspect Government would like to take up with the food corporation of India for betterment of the farmers of the state especially the rice farmers of the state
  Agritangkol dated 09.12.2011 at 11.29 P.M

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Promotion for food processing industries in India

    Recent news paper notification of the Ministry of food processing Industries, Government of India should draw the attention of the budding entrepreneurs of the country.
     The Ministry had already facilitated for set up of “scheme for technology up gradation/establishment/modernization of food processing industries” through financial aids under grants-in-aid for setting up of food processing industries in the country by the interested individual stake holder, self help group as the case may be.
     Financial grants for developing technical and civil works of the plant would be provided up to 25% of the total set up cost subject to maximum ceiling of rupees fifty lakhs in normal case in general areas and states. Enhanced grants to the tune of 33.33% of the total set up cost subject to maximum ceiling of rupees seventy five lakhs would be provided in the remote and hilly places like Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, north eastern states and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
    In the scheme, sectors like fruit and vegetable processing, consumer industry, dairy technology, grain milling, wine and beer manufacturing, meat and poultry processing and fish processing are considered for promotion with the considerable share of monetary assistance by the Ministry of food processing industry, Government of India.
     In Tripura, of course, this is the matter of all India level where there are only marginal food processing industries that bottlenecks the overall development of agriculture and allied sectors for employment generation and economic reliance.
    In my earlier post titled ‘agro-processing the growth engine of agriculture sector” some situation had been reflected about the gloom picture of food processing sectors in India.
    In Tripura, food processing sectors should be construed as sector that ever existed in the state. It is due to the fact that food processing especially the fruit and vegetable processing in the state is in minuscule level. Whatever is present on date that is NERAMAC is not functioning or closed most of the times in a year.
      Now, how to take this opportunity? And, who is finally paid off for the project to be set up? This is the opportunity for the entrepreneurs to take a stock and grab the start up promotion by the Government irrespective of places and regions because whoever sets up, it would finally pay off to the people of the state.
     Of course, there would be many interested ones to take a plunge on new venture but what he/she lacks is; how to get set go with the project? Opportunity do comes but how to harness this opportunity is another aspect.
     There was the news; once bamboo resource of the Tripura was considered to be suitable niche area for bamboo based paper industry. But, what happened finally was; many companies sent their men just to find out those resources available was not enough to sustain the bamboo based paper industry that required year long raw materials to function in continuity.
   Tripura in particular and India in general, food processing particularly fruit and vegetable processing is the need of the hour for fostering the aspiration of the people and their agriculture produces are marketed in the more vibrant manner for earning substantive income from the sectors.
     The Government in Industries and Commerce department of Tripura and other line department may require home works for preparing the blue print of resources available with a perspective plan for set up of fruit and vegetable processing industries in the state.
     First time entrepreneurs may require this detail for analyzing and finalizing after answering the questionnaire of industry/plant set up in suitable areas.
    The government of India in Ministry of food processing industries(mofpi) is giving special attention for the food processors, bankers and industry associations who are interested to set up food processing industry in north eastern states.
    The concerned state Government should also ensure the good things to happen in the state; this is the time for concerned department to organize state level meets to discuss the issue and settle the project to the suitable contenders if any for the greater cause.
  Bankers of the state should also give practical and pragmatic approach to the project and come forward for help to the interested individual or groups through loan in affordable interest rate thereby ensuring to set up food processing industry in the state.
    Agritangkol dated 09.12.2011 at 11.03 P.M

Monday 26 December 2011

Trust Deficit: Agriculture Sector

     How do general people perceive to the agriculture sector? Of course, it is very difficult to predict the exact and accurate answers, however the general tendency is; agriculture sector suffers from trust factor.    
   People tend to suspect the sector and considers non-viable and subsistence sector that we need to follow. We feel obligated to follow and practice this agriculture sector for our livelihood not beyond anything else. The sector does not have glamour and image.
      The simple negligence and ignorance to the sector is; even parents do not consider marrying off their daughter to a well to do farmers. Instead, a poor paid Government employee is considered worthy for a groom.
      This is the consideration with simple calculation of securing permanent source of income from the Government employment that parents consider safety and security for their daughter.
     Now the question is; why does agriculture sector is viewed as non-viable? What is the reason behind this trust deficit of agriculture sector?
    Actually, agriculture sector is not viewed and considered in business point of view. When the sector is not viewed in the business perspective, it should not scale in the business level of economic reliance.
   Therefore the mindset of subsistence agriculture without business insistence should change for overcoming this trust deficit of agriculture sector.
    Agritangkol dated 09.12.2011 at 05.30 P.M

Saturday 24 December 2011

Volatile Vegetable Market: Farmers Are in Crisis

     In my earlier post title “Meddling by middleman in Agriculture produce marketing” some ideas had been reflected as to how the actual producers get affected due to situation.

Vegetable production scenario of the state:-

    In Tripura, not all places are famed for vegetable cultivation and production. It is happening in handful of places in different districts and sub-division of the state as mentioned below:
        Sonamura west Tripura district
        Melaghar West Tripura district
        Udaipur South Tripura district
        Masli North Tripura district
        Pecharthal North Tripura districts
        Jolaibari South Tripura districts

     The above mentioned places are known to produce different types of winter vegetables which meet the over all demands of the state. Of course, in other places also more or less winter and summer vegetables are cultivated and produced but most prominently in the above mentioned places.
      Farmers of the above mentioned areas are already spontaneously motivated for vegetable cultivation due to long association, practices and trends. They require less external intervention for adoption of new vegetable varieties in their areas.

Present trends of vegetable market:-

      During last few weeks, there were some signs of relief on the face of vegetable buyers of Agartala area due to sudden or abrupt price decline in vegetable markets especially the vegetables like cauliflower and cabbage. But, what is the condition of the growers that vegetable growers who compelled sale their produce in cheap rate?
      Cauliflower and cabbage which were used to sold in rupees fifty and thirty per kilogram till one month ago could be available within range of rupees fifteen and ten per kilogram respectively on date.
    In some places, a whole cabbage and cauliflower weighing one and half kilograms and half kilograms could be available with rupees five and eight respectively.

Reason of vegetable market crash:-

      Media has been critical enough to blame the situation to the Government for encouraging the farmers to go for vegetable cultivation. However, this is not the topic of elaboration on blame game but a view points on vegetable cultivation in the state. Some assumes it is due to surplus production but it should not be the case.
     Well, in Tripura, vegetable production especially the vegetable crops like cauliflower, cabbage and different types of beans could not be considered as surplus production and present market crash should not also be construed as surplus production.
Now, the point that comes naturally is; where these farmers do markets their products. Is there any facility for inter state trans-shipment of vegetable produce of Tripura?
     Answer to the first question is; farmers’ sale their produce in their locality and some of their produce also transported to capital city and nearest district / sub-divisional head quarters for meeting the localized varied requirements.
    Answer to the latter question is; vegetables from Masli area under north Tripura district is said to be trans-shipped to the adjoining states.
     Now, what happens to the vegetable growing belts during the season is; growers try to ship their products in high market area but ends up in local market due to which there is heaping up of vegetable produce and products sold in lower prices and loss to the vegetable growers.
     The fact is vegetable produce is not distributed properly to the other areas where there are demands for the products. In Tripura, vegetable production is not uniform as already mentioned so there would definitely be requirement in different places.
     The products needs to be marketed and for good marketing to happen it has to be transported in different places for tapping the market opportunity. Now, there is requirement for good transportation facility in affordable rates. Transportation facilities are available but how to know the market conditions of the other areas? And, what is the source farmers should rely?
    This is a typical situation; who would judge the market trends? Is it market / merchant association or Government? This is the tricky situation because; merchant association would be looking after the welfare of the local businessman and try to maintain the profitable trends of different produce in their local market.
   The source of information should be authentic and reliable for facilitating good and profitable markets for different vegetable produce in different markets.
     Now the condition is; consumer is happy, but only occasionally media is drawing the attention. In the midst of all some voices and pictures are becoming blurred and it is none other than the farmers and growers who finally will pay heavy dividend for the market onslaught.
     Vegetable growers for that matter all the farmers should have the knowledge of decision making for taking the future course of action in the form of selecting suitable crops in particular season considering the previous trends and future prospects otherwise condition would repeat in infinite times.
   Agritangkol dated 09.12.2011 at 05.17 P.M

Thursday 22 December 2011

Revive Milch Cow Rearing: Milk is Becoming Rare in Tripura

     What are the items that would fetch perennial demands? This is the typical question some people would ask while gossiping. What about the milk? This is the item; people of all age groups would declare as their requirement next to staple items.
   What is the availability of milk in Tripura? Town dwellers will hesitantly reply it is manageable and rural folk would invariably reply, they hardly remember milk as an item they find in their menu.
    A resident of Agartala is accessible to skimmed milk in the packaged form and other powdered milk of the brand like Britania, Everyday and Amul etc and other milk products.
Whereas, villagers of 100miles away from capital is not accessible to skimmed milk except some processed milk products that could be found in the area adjacent to the block, sub-divisional head quarters or any busy business places. This is because milk has become a rare item now-a-days in rural areas.
    Why there is such rarity of milk in the state? Of course, reason may be many but first and foremost is the decline in milch cow and over all livestock population in the state which directly impacted on milk production.
   Of course, this not an empirical data however, it is the fact that in almost all parts of Tripura rearing of milch cow has declined drastically. In earlier days; places like Mirza, Tulamura, Rani of Kakrabon R.D. Block would foster lots of milch cow for their family needs and also side income through selling their milk to the nearest sweet shops but now the picture is completely different. The picture should not be opposite in other parts of the state too.
    What happened in olden days is; agriculture was fully depending on drought animal for farm operation, even non-farming population would also keeps milch cow for meeting the needs of milk but with the passage of time dependence on animal for farm operation has reduced drastically due to problem of drought animals and non-farming population also backtracked from rearing of milch cow due to lack of fodder in the area.
     Now, in almost all places leaving behind some areas, there is new trends for farm operation and farm operation like ploughing or tilling of lands are mostly carried out with the help of power tiller due to decline of livestock population which affected in decline of drought animals. This has had direct influence in milk production of the state.
     In Tripura, although the Animal Resource Development Department has been constantly pursuing to increase and popularize the animal resources in the state but no remarkable achievement at least as far as milch cow is concerned could be observed in the state.
    There was the trend in earlier days, farmers would go to the nearest animal sub-center or stockman sub-centre for artificial insemination of their local milch cow for obtaining good and high yielding breed of milch cow like Jersey but now-a-days this trend is not observed in the locality.
    In Tripura, activities for milk production is not considerable, villagers are not inclined for any move for furtherance of milk production activities. The reason may be; they either do not know the prospects of milk and its economic and health benefits or they have no interest to go for milch cow rearing in the situation where there is no sufficient fodder to feed the milch cow.
     Moreover, in Tripura, there are no major milk producing federations or society that would foster the growth of milk sector in the state. At present GOMTI which is at Agartala is the name synonymous for milk production and supply in the urban areas. In Tripura, there are only two milk co-operative societies one at Agartala that is GOMTI and another at Dharmanagar under North Tripura District.
    The policy maker, civic society should come out and work in the direction to improve the situation for enhancing the milk production of the state otherwise, there would be skewed development of different sectors.
    Skewed development of line department / sector will not give sustained development in over all sector of the state.
   To improve the milk production of the state, the followings activities are must:-
      • Encourage the farmers to rear milch cow in the state.
     • Ensure the supply of good and high yielding breeds of Milch to the farmers in affordable rates.
     • To go for community or cluster approach to implement the above
     • Providing of stock man sub-centre in every cluster with the facility of animal treatment and artificial insemination facility.
     • Identify suitable land for development of community Pasteur.
     • Popularizing the fallow land for fodder cultivation.
    • Arrangement of milk processing unit according to size of the cluster.
     • Ensuring the supply of milk and milk products to the markets.
      • A good binding force in the form of bye law to the cluster for running the cluster smoothly and profitably.
                                    Agritangkol dated 09.12.2011 at 05.20 P.M

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Rubber plantation in Tripura: A Ray of Hope for Revival of Apis dorsata, Apis cerana indica and Other Honey Producing Species.

     In my earlier post, some idea had been given about the disappearance or decline of Apis dorsata the giant honey bee and other species like Apis cerana indica and Apis melipona in Tripura.
     The decline of Apis dorsata, Apis cerana indica honey bee and also other species were the reason of depletion of forest coverage, un-scrupulous methods of honey extraction, usage of pesticides and also lack of forages in the form of cultivated nectar and pollen producing crops.
    Now, the once most abundant honey bee, the Apis dorsata and Apis cerana indica are rare and not to be seen like before however recent report that I gathered online throws a ray of hope for revival of honey bee population in the state.
   Now, it is no more debating topic that Rubber Plantation is also one of the reason of depletion of natural vegetation so is imbalance in the natural ecosystem.
Now, it is also no more debating topics that the things already happened cannot be easily undone or restored.
   Now the question is; how these species could be revived? This is the question that comes first. Online report indicated that Rubber Plantation which until now looked suspiciously for changing the natural ecosystem could be a source of revival olden glory.
   It was established fact that rubber plantation provides a source of subsidiary income through bee keeping and it has been around for many decades. Khadi and Village Industries Commission of Government of India is the concerned for pursuing this aspect.
    Now, of course, Rubber Board is also providing help to the concerned farmers or rubber growers in respect to establishment of apiary in the rubber plantation. The rubber tree particularly the “tip of the petiole where leaflet joins” ( are a good source of nectar so is for honey.
     This is the good news for the farmers and growers for their additional income and also good news for the people who are worried for natural imbalance and its subsequent affects on decline of different species in the state.
     Tripura is the second largest producer of natural rubber in the country naturally; there would be substantial acreage of rubber plantation in the state. Now the question is; how to harness this opportunity for both economical purpose as well as saving the endangered honey bee species in the state?
     In Tripura also there was some report in this regards but there is no substantial activities as on date. Rubber belts in the south district of Tripura like Rani-Mirza, Tulamura and the adjoining areas did not have any beekeeping activities in their rubber plantations. Even many rubber growers do not know that their rubber plantation could be a source of additional income through bee keeping.
     Rubber plantations which till now has been utilized for latex and timber could easily be a source for subsidiary activity by the people of the state for earning a substantive income through beekeeping. This aspect is yet to find its right place for exposure.
      Apis dorsata, the giant honey bee or rock bee which is wild cannot be tamed and domesticated for permanent source of income but the source that id rubber trees should be forth coming for the species to flourish in the state.
       Apis cerana indica which comparatively small in size could be hived and reared successfully for economic activity. Moreover, people of the state knew the procedure for keeping of Apis cerana indica honey bee.
     However, for any dramatic changes to happen, rigorous study should be conducted as indicated below:-
     • A detail study to find out the acceptability of the honey bees to the new forage i.e. Rubber petiole.
       • A detail study to find out the year long requirement of nectar and pollen from the Rubber trees as it is indicated that the flow of nectar is during the month of January to March.
      • Rubber is not ever green tree species; it sheds leaves during the month of February to March in every year and its affects on honey bee colony.
       • Movable system of beekeeping, a new system to be studied with different location based centre.
     Once, the study of the above is fruitful there should not be any back tracking, it should be popularized throughout the Rubber growing areas of the state.
                                    Agritangkol dated 08.12.2011 at 05.30 P.M

Sunday 18 December 2011

Challenges of Pineapple Cultivation in Tripura.

    In Tripura, pineapple is one of the major fruit crop in terms of area and production. Pineapple is prominently grown in North Tripura and West Tripura district in large scale therefore production is more in these two districts of Tripura.
   In Tripura, two varieties of Pineapple are available one, Queen another Kew. As far as size, yield and juice content, Kew is best however for table purpose, queen is good.
Queen variety is popular in West Tripura district in particular area of Sonamura Sub-division under West Tripura district. Kew is prominently the crop of the people of North district of Tripura as it is grown in large scale in the area like; Betcherra, Nalkata, Darchawii and Kailashahar.
   According to growers, 37500 numbers of pineapple suckers could be planted in a hectare of land. Production usually starts after two and half year of planting however, when the plantation reaches three years age then full production is expected.
    However, there are also recurring cost in terms of weeding and fruit harvesting which continues in every season and consumes huge labor wages to the growers. Of course, fertilization is another aspect people do not concerned about as because they do not go for any fertilization activities either organic or inorganic fertilizer. Thus Pineapple produced in Tripura could be termed as organic due such intrinsic factors.
    One hectare of pineapple plantation yields approximates 27000 numbers pineapple fruits which worth one lakh thirty five thousands at the rate of rupees five in average per fruits in Indian currency. When there is procurement by the NERAMAC and Dabur Company, growers can take home good profit from their plantation but if there is not then it bring loss to the farmers.
     As per the statistics available online, Pineapple production in Tripura is around 45000 metric tons, out of which Kew is contributing lion shares in production followed by the Queen variety.
    In Tripura, Pineapple fruit crop is facing the following challenge which affects the over all fruit sectors of the state:-
         1. Marketing problems,
         2. No fruit processing units
         3. No subsidiary sector
         4. Pressure of Rubber plantation,

     What ever may be the scale of production unless the products produced are facilitated to the consumer either in the fresh or processed forms then there would be problems of transformation of products into the productive purpose. In Tripura and elsewhere, there are huge demands for pineapple products that could either be in fresh or processed form. But, this huge demand is yet to be tapped.
    In Tripura, marketing problem is manly due to lack of proper utilization of the resource by the local fruit processing plant the NERAMAC. According to the growers of Nalkata area, NERAMAC plant is closed so no procurement by the plant.
    Until few years ago Dabur Company used to procure pineapple fruits from the Tripura particularly from north districts has stopped the interest to procure the products from the area. This in frequent procurement by the Dabur Company has created further marketing bottlenecks of the pineapple growers of the Tripura particularly the people of north district as told by the growers of Nalkata area on 01.12.2011.
    In Tripura, there are two seasons as far as production of pineapple is concerned. The main season is June to July where there is maximum production and secondary season or off season is during the month from October to December. Production during the off season is comparatively less compared to main season.
    Due to marketing constraints many growers of Betcherra area have converted their pineapple plantation into rubber plantation according to the growers. However, the growers who not wished to be named has also informed that pineapple still plays important role in their financial reliance as far as the Nalkata area is concerned.
    During main season, pineapple fruits piles up in the roadside for marketing by the retailers for fresh consumption but fresh consumption hardly meets the total production available in the season so, in many cases pineapple fruits are sold in cheaper rates or rots which ultimately results in loss to the growers.
    The need of the hour is to create a facility to utilize the resources available in the state and fruit processing plants should come up in the state and young people should be encouraged to set up agro-based venture for tapping these untapped resources. The existing fruit processing plant that is the NERAMAC plants should be revived and made fully functional for availing these precious resources and creating value added fruit products.

Friday 16 December 2011

Poisoning of Rivers and Streams Water for catching Fishes: Great risk to the Human Health

      There has been one important news used to flash out in the local news paper during the dry spell is an obnoxious method of catching fishes from the rivers and streams using poisonous substances by certain groups of unscrupulous people causing lots of ecological damage to the aquatic ecosystem of the area.
    Generally, fishes from the pond, lake, river and streams are caught by using traditional nylon nets by the fisherman and of course, in earlier times, some people also applied plants extracts for poisoning the streams water for catching of fishes.
   Using of plant extracts for catching of fishes in earlier days were also no doubt deleterious to the aquatic species but due to mild effect of such plant extracts appalling affects for which was not so apparent.
    But, now-a-days it has been reported that certain groups of people applies pesticide chemicals for catching of fishes from river and streams causing enormous damage to the different species of fishes and other aquatic species.
    Another dire task these unscrupulous people undertake is the time of their activities, it is generally in the dry season that is when the water level is down. Application of pesticides during this time is highly effective due to the fact that chemical concentration due to low level of water in the rivers and streams brings highly lethal affects to the fishes.
     Rivers like Manu and Deo of Dhalai and north Tripura districts are in the news of such unscrupulous activities. This has greatly impacted the aquatic ecosystem of Tripura, results of whch are as follows:-
      • Many fish species are under the threat of extinction
      • Water become polluted and non-suitable for use
       • It poses health risk to human health.
     • Many other aquatic species disappeared.
     • Fish yields from river and streams reduced drastically.
     • Drinking water treatment plant which comes up using river water has become risky for human consumption.
     This is the high time for the Government to intervene and people to come out for protecting the aquatic ecosystem. All the people whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian should come out and participate in the cause of greater interest. By doing so it would not only help the valuable aquatic species to flourish but also to save the human lives for forth coming danger that has been posing great risk to the human beings.
    Agritangkol dated 26.11.2011 at 10.00 A.M

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Mushroom Cultivation: Few Scenes and Scenario in Tripura.

Know the mushroom:-

     Mushroom, the fruiting body of fungus is widely known edible protein rich food. In terms of suitability for consumption, there are two types of mushroom; edible and non-edible. In edible mushroom, there are two types, one, wild edible mushroom and edible cultivated mushroom.
   In edible mushroom also there are two types, one, pleuratus and two, button type of mushroom. Of course, there are many more types of mushrooms that are available naturally.

Mushroom in Tripura:-

   In Tripura both wild and cultivated mushroom are available .Cultivated mushroom available in Tripura belongs to Pleuratus group. Of course, in the market another type of mushroom is also available and it is Button mushroom which is available in the processed form.
   In nature, the Button mushroom is not available in Tripura; some say it is for the fact button mushroom is grown using horse manures. In Tripura, wild edible mushrooms are found during the monsoon season in the forest areas.
    In addition to the edible mushrooms, there are many non-edible mushrooms that are available in Tripura and grows abundantly in the shoddy areas of forest. However, wild edible mushroom is seasonal as said; it is only during the monsoon season those wild edible mushrooms grows and are available in the market for sale.

Acceptability and popularity of mushroom in the state

   In Tripura, mushroom is accepted and liked by all, it is for that reason during monsoon season wild edible mushroom is sold in sky rocketing prices. Presently, in the market cultivated mushroom could not be said as available, it is very meager and production is carried out by handful of people of the state. Thus the produce availability in the market is very less posing lot of demands.
   Whatever is available in the market, mushroom is sold within a moment of its appearance in the marketing by the sales person. As said, it is the enthusiastic people/farmer who produces this cultivated mushroom otherwise getting cultivated mushroom in the state is matter of dream only.

Activities of the Agriculture Department:-

    The state department of agriculture has established many mushroom laboratories for production of mushroom spawn and supply to the mushroom growers of the state. In addition, training is also conducted to the farmers about the technical know how of the mushroom cultivation in the state.
   Agriculture department is the primary department for ensuring the spread of mushroom cultivation in the state.

Present scenario and scope of Mushroom cultivation:-

    In Tripura, looking to the acceptability and popularity for wild edible mushrooms and also the edible cultivated mushroom, it may perhaps be assumed that the mushroom cultivation is quite promising in the state. Any scalable production would definitely find good markets in Tripura due to huge demands by the people.
   However, the concept of mushroom cultivation and its popularization in the state is yet to turn up even after several years of persuasion by the agriculture department.
     Cultivated mushroom spawn is available in the mushroom laboratories of state agriculture department in almost all agriculture sub-division of the state. Although the techniques of mushroom cultivation is very easy and affordable but and adoption is the aspect that is yet to materialize in the state.
      But, why the concept is taking so long time should be examined in relation to the extension mechanisms that have been applied for imparting training and adoption mechanisms.
     Mushroom cultivation does not require huge investment and spaces, the only requirement being the fine rice straws, polyethylene bag, mushroom spawn and time watering.
      There is market demands, mushroom spawn is available in cheap and affordable rates, production procedures are easy to follow and implement but still mushroom cultivation is not in the right trajectory of adoption by the people of the state is matter of concern.
     This is the only practice that any one can take up on their own without requiring the tag of farmers but due to unknown reasons it is not yet adopted in the scale.
     Farmers, diversification is the mantra for increasing the farm income and economic self reliance and mushroom cultivation is undoubtedly one of the profitable diversification activities.
     Agriculture department, finding the clues for delaying the adoption by the farmers are the reasons to be studied and refined for acceptance and adoption by the farmers.
    Agritangkol dated 26.11.2011 at 10.00 A.M

Monday 12 December 2011

Vermi Compost: The Last Option of Organic Manures.

Vermi compost:-

   Vermi compost is the organic manure produced using earthworms in semi decomposed organic matters. Vermi compost is known to have rich nutrient contents and other elements compared to other organic manures like cow dung manures.
    It is a new way of producing value added organic manure for enriching the soil health for increasing the crop yields especially in the highly valued horticultural crops and other potted ornamental plants.
     It is quite economically feasible as the process does not involve heavy investment by the farmers to have vermi compost produced in his farm or backyard.
    Now-a-days, vermi compost is packed and sold in higher prices to the orchard owners. It can be produced commercially in large scale too as an activity to increase the farm income by the farmers.
    Now-a-days due to small scale production of vermi compost, its use is restricted and applied in the potted ornamental plants and highly value added horticultural crops for obtaining quality products by the farm owners.
    However, vermi compost can be used in all fields for enhancing the soil fertility thereby increasing the productivity of the crops.

Vermi compost production:-

     The requirement for vermi composting are shaded area, pits with well drained channel, decomposed bio-matter or organic matter, rice straws, cow dung slurry and finally the earth worms.
   Vermi compost can be produced in small place without much investment using locally avail material except the earth worms which can be obtained from the farm of agriculture department.
   Rice straw the locally available bio-matter can easily be used for production of vermi compost. Cow dung slurry may be applied in every layer of rice straw or other semi-decomposed bio-matter for easy decomposition by the earth worms.

Compelling situation to go for Vermi compost:-

     In the present context as far as Tripura state is concerned, vermi compost can be an effective alternative to the cow dung or other types of organic manures. This is because of decline in livestock population and its subsequent affects in reduction of cow dung manures.
     In Tripura, there is a declining trend of livestock population due to several factors like decline in Pasteur lands etc.
     Due to decline in livestock population in the state there is sharp decline in cow dung manure. This has affected severely in crop production as most of the crop fields could not be enriched with manures. Now most of the farmers had to go solo with chemical fertilizers and this has affected the soil health.
     Now the situation is quite compelling to find out suitable alternative for organic manure and vermi compost is the best option which can be easily taken up by farmers.

Present adaption scenario:-

   The state department of agriculture and horticulture is pursuing to spread the vermi compost in the state for adoption by the farming communities of the state.
    Different training and exposure trips have been conducted to create awareness and interest by the farming communities of the state.

Why vermi compost?

     This is the only last option available by the farmers to fill the void created due to decline in livestock population of the state. While the department of animal resource development department has been constantly persuading to increase the animal resource in the state but due to decline in over all Pasteur lands and conversion of many fallow lands into other cropping activities has pushed the livestock activities drastically.
   However, the vermi compost the next alternative of organic manure is yet to take off in the state. There has to be effective extension mechanism for persuading and draw the interest of the farming communities for the new concept.
   Agritangkol dated 25.11.2011 at 10.00 A.M

Saturday 10 December 2011

Squirrel, Pest of Coconut: Result of Change in Ecosystem.

    Pest is the word people would like to associate with insects and pathogens which inflicts damages to the crop plants and storage products etc.
   When a species known for its hormonal existence is cause of concern then there is certain thing that is to be examined in relation to present states of condition.
   Squirrel is known to forage on forest products like nuts, fruit and resins etc. Squirrel a small tree dweller used to be found abundantly in the forest and village areas of Tripura. It was never considered to be a reason of headache by the people until ten years ago.
   But, till recently it has posed to be a great menace by the coconut growers of the state. Coconut is the new victim of squirrel in Tripura. Squirrel attacks matured coconut causing huge damage to the growers.
   The emergence of squirrel as pest to the coconut in the village area is new to the villagers for they never had that experience that squirrel could be the nuisance for them. Earlier it is used to be in the town area that some news of attack or damage by the squirrel to the coconut was heard.
   Now the squirrel is causing widespread damage to the coconut growers in the villages. Whatever may be the size of coconut plantation but production level has come down drastically due to Squirrel.
   Villagers, farmers are finding difficulties to control or manage the problem of squirrel due to lack of effective control measure as the squirrel is tree dwellers it is very difficulty with cage system of trapping that used to be employed for managing the rat menace.
    Forest coverage depletion in the area is the main cause for emergence of squirrel and their attack on the homestead plants and crops.
     Depletion of natural forest and emergence of Rubber plantation has brought out many changes in terms of host plants of different insect and mammal, this has resulted in wipe out of many species and in the same time some species have emerged as pest to useful crops of the people.
    Species which could withhold the changes in the natural ecosystem and habitation have to find out and depend on alternate host plants for existence and it is crop plants that has come their rescue. Their dependence or sole dependence have resulted in significant economical loss to the crop plants and emerged as new crop pests.
    Natural imbalance, it is the case that has been happening constantly every where, people in the pursuit for betterment and comfort knowingly or unknowingly intervene and influence on the natural ecosystem. When ecosystem is disturbed, the whole systems get affected.
    The present scenario invites many more species to emerge as pest to the mankind and reasons for such emergence may be many but change of ecosystem and natural imbalance are surely the influencing factors that have been acting as compelling grounds.
    Squirrel is just one example only; it however sheds the light of other side of picture that is to be taken into consideration in our endeavor for better future. Continuance in suppression would bring more conflict with Mother Nature and result for which would be highly hostile for our future generation.
    Agritangkol dated 24.11.2011 at 09.30 A.M

Thursday 8 December 2011

Bird Flu the Avian Influenza: In the Closer Periphery of Attack.

     Recent media reports indicated that Bird Flu, the Avian Influenza has struck again in West Bengal, Assam and neighboring Bangladesh.
    In the middle of the September, 2011 there was mass killing of fowls in one district of West Bengal due to Bird Flu Virus but after couple of month’s times, it has again reappeared in these regions. This is indicative that the Bird Flu Virus remains in the regions and not disappeared.
   The State Government in Animal Resource Development Department has already restricted the movement of poultry products from West Bengal, Assam and porous Indo-Bangladesh border has been sealed to prevent the entry of poultry products from neighboring Bangladesh.
   It has become apparent that the deadly virus could not be controlled; it is only the temporarily managing the situation through culling of infected birds, vaccines etc. the Virus is stated to be acquiring more virulence with the evolution of new mutant strain.
   As the Bird Flu Virus has invaded the neighboring Bangladesh, so it has already reached to the closest periphery of one of the most sensitive zones as far as the Tripura state is concerned. Though, the entry of poultry product may be controlled or prevented, but there are many elements that can hardly be controlled directly by the manmade obstruction and intervention.
    The migratory birds which at this season are plenty in Tripura could be carrier of this deadly Virus for spread of Bird Flu Virus in this state.
    Now the best we can do is keeping vigilant the movement of the poultry products and migratory birds; in addition poultry farm owners have to be extra cautious for contamination through any external factors.
  Similarly, hens and ducks of villages should be strictly monitored to avoid any untoward incident that could take place in the absence of careful mind.
   Agritangkol dated: 22/11/2011 at 6.00P.M

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Coconut: It is not the Homestead Palm.


    Coconut is a widely known plantation crop of India and it is found in almost all parts of India. Coconut has historical significance and it is also known as Kalpataru, due to its wide usage starting from; kernel to coir, every part of the coconut is usable.
   Copra is one of the value added product obtained after drying up of excess water from the kernel. Copra yields more oil compare to non-dried or fresh kernel. Copra sales in higher prices compare to fresh nut. Tender coconut is famous for its rejuvenating water and it is quite popular during summer season.
  Coconut has lots of industrial usage especially in toiletry industries for hair oil and many other products. In addition, coconut oil is also used as edible oil in south India.
One of the subsidiary sectors that come up around coconut growing belts is Coir industry; states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu have well set up coir based industries utilizing the coconut by products.

Major Coconut growing belts of India

  In India, southern states have the distinction to produce maximum coconut due to large scale plantation of coconut. The farmers from states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are expert in growing Coconut in large and economic scale.
  In south India, coconut and areca nut plantation is inter cropped with cocoa another profitable crop very successfully for increasing the farm income.

Coconut cultivation in Tripura

   Tripura is suitable for coconut cultivation due to suitable climatic condition. For successful cultivation and growth of coconut palm, required rainfall and temperature prevails in the state.
     In Tripura coconut is highly acceptable and adored by all due to its different usages. Coconut palm could be found in almost all house holds of Tripura.
    It is unfortunate that coconut, one of the important profitable crops is not cultivated in large scale in Tripura. It is mystified in the homestead land only for meeting the family requirement.
    This trend has never given any economic viability to the growers and the crop remains in the subsistence mode.

Scope for expansion

     People of the state are well aware of the coconut and its importance. People of the state are also well aware of the techniques of coconut cultivation and maintenance of coconut palm.
   But, what they fail to realize its Economic viability and profitability from coconut plantation. The reason is simple; they never ever felt the need to go for large scale plantation and taste the economic viability and profitability. Moreover, the knowledge of inter crop may be developed in the mind of people of Tripura.
    The department of agriculture has been constantly pursuing to spread the coconut plantation in the state and in that drive they supply coconut seedlings to the farmers but coconut plantation is yet come up in unit scale in Tripura.
    Since the crop is cultivated in almost all homestead land of a family, there is no cry for demands. It is during the festival seasons; there are demands for coconut by the people of the state.
     Coconut could be the next wonder crop in Tripura and it needs to be the requirement being the right approach with right mindset. The right mind set is expected with good and exemplary works by the concerned department.
    People have the knowledge, they have to be shown the door of further progress and it is possible with effective training and exposure.

   Agritangkol dated 22.11.2011 at 7.00 P.M

Sunday 4 December 2011

Knowledge of Pesticides: Follow and Practice

     There is hardly anything new to mention that in every pesticide container/packets/pouch, details cover illustrating every aspects of toxicity of this particular chemical on human body and other animals have been written along with corrective measures to follow.
    In addition, a diamond shaped symbol with red, green etc is also prominently mentioned to express the level of toxicity of a particular pesticide, this is especially for illiterate handler and easy to identify by anyone.
   There is also mention of whether the particular pesticide belongs to systemic or contact pesticides. Do the farmers have the knowledge of these pesticides and their mode of actions?
    Have anybody wondered that the label on the cover of the pesticides packets, container denoting the user guideline and toxicity level of particular pesticides hardly been read or followed?
     This is something like Doctor prescribes medicines, we get it from medicines store and takes for relieve. There is no point of argument or consultation where healing is the question.
   Now coming back to the knowledge of pesticides; do the farmers ever felt the good and bad of particular pesticides?
  Farmers feel good when pesticides effectively kill or control the pest. Bad; it is when particular pesticides fail to deliver to the expectation of the farmers. In between of these, there is hardly anything that matters to the farmers.

   Mere knowledge of pesticides will not help; a drive for creating mass awareness to the farming community is must for maintaining safety and producing healthy farm produce.

Friday 2 December 2011

Agriculture Mechanization: Timely Intervention for Small Land Holding Farms.

     How does agriculture mechanization help small land holding farms? Of course, this question may be little inappropriate in the place where term itself is restricted to the power tiller only. Agriculture is labor intensive activities; it demands lots of un-skilled to highly skilled labors for powering the farming prosperity.
     Now the question is; where do we stand in manpower resource scale? Obviously, there are work forces in rural areas but still agriculture is passing in a critical situation of labor resource crunch.
   This is manly due to various populist schemes of the Government that many work forces who were otherwise dependent on agriculture activities have diverted to other schemes oriented activities.
   Now the most actively pursued and supported activity is the MGNREGA, this is the Act where unemployment in rural areas is taken care off. This is surely a holistic approach for the benefit of the rural unemployed masses but in search of one better option other erstwhile activity has remained in the stagnant condition.
    There is shortage of labors in agriculture activities, farmers often finds it difficult to complete the farming operation due to labor shortage. Of course, there is also another side of story; in high remuneration/wages, labor is available.
    But higher wages means higher investment which detracts farmer especially small land holding farm owner due to the question of farm profitability.
   In agriculture sector especially in Tripura context some activities are in the subsistence form like rice cultivation. Farming activities like vegetable cultivation is still profitable compare to rice. In Tripura, presently the most profitable farm activity is the Rubber which is proved to be highly profitable and labor intensive.
   Profitable farming endeavor however can sustain the farm operation with even higher wages rates but those in the subsistence form hardly leaves any scope of employing labor in higher wages rates.
   Now, how do we solve these labor shortages, wages rate and maintain small land holding farms in the present context?
  Can mechanization help in the present context? Let us see the case of rice harvesting manually and rice harvesting through harvester mounted in the power tiller.
    From the own statement of rice farmers, it can be stated that the using of power tiller mounted rice harvester is less time consuming, affordable and wages saving.
  Similarly, power tiller operated rice threshing is easy and time compared to traditional system of threshing using bullock or through manual beating.
   Now-a-days due to decline in drought animals in the state, land preparation is being done through power tiller, threshing is also taken care off using power tiller and in some places rice harvesting is being carried out through machine. That means there is some kind of mechanization that is already in place.

    It is the observation that there should be some kind of mechanization in some way or other form to sustain the farming sector otherwise it would very difficult by some farmers to cope up the pressure of labor shortages, labor wages and continue the farming activities.

Wednesday 30 November 2011


Jackfruit Then:-

    Jackfruit is the name widely known in Tripura because of its popularity and availability since long time. In Tripura, there are different types of Jackfruit like soft pulp, hard pulp and small sized to large sized with unique flavor, taste and reducing sugar content.
     Jackfruit being the summer fruit comes up during the month of May to July and sometime extends up to August.
Usage of Jackfruit:-

     Both ripened and tender fruit are used in the state. Tender fruit is used as vegetable delicacy and ripened fruits are consumed in fresh. There is a saying that every part of the jackfruit is useful due to its various usages starting from fresh ripened fruit to timber of the Jackfruit plant. Even the left over part of the fruit i.e., the pericarp is also used as animal feed.
     One of the important bye products of the ripened Jackfruit is the seed which of good nutritive value with good starch content. A mid sized fruit gives about 500 Grams of Jackfruit seeds.
Present scenario of Jackfruit:-

     There was a time; Jackfruit was considered to be one of the cheapest fruit in the state. A fruit used to be sold in mere two to five rupees however; this has changed over times due to declining trends of Jackfruit plantation in the state.
Jackfruit Value Addition:-

    The department of agriculture is pursuing to produce value added items from Jackfruit like Pickle, Beverage and Juice etc. In the present market, it is full with Pineapple, Orange, Apple and Litchi juice; a good and value added jackfruit product would fill the vacuum of canned juice demands in the market.
    The state Government is supporting the entrepreneurship in this sector. Entrepreneur of the state can take up the venture with diversified agriculture product based activities that would be much appreciated in the state by ensuring employment and income avenues.

Monday 28 November 2011

Cotton the Crop of Misery: Bypassing Should be the Option

    Cotton farmers of Andhra Pradesh have been facing the onslaught of several factors like biotic, a-biotic and many other natural calamities.
   Recent media reports indicated that within one month more than 90 farmers of Andhra Pradesh have taken ultimate steps by ending their lives due to these unforeseeable forces.
    Media reports further indicated that it was the Cotton crop which was the reason of misery and dismay.
    The reason of their succumbing to the ultimate was due to insect pest damage on Cotton crops, depth crisis and crops loss due to flood (during last year) and many other natural calamities.
    This is not the first case of farmers taking their own lives, since many years, cotton farmers of Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere had taken this ultimate step due to cotton ( in maximum case) crop failures.
    It is not that sufficient steps had not been taken by the Government and concerned department, there had been many initiatives to arrest the most unfortunate trends but everything seems resulting very fewer.
     The time has come to think otherwise and take alternative approach to solve this burning problem. Cotton is not food crop; it is cash crop, if in a given area cotton is susceptible to a pests and diseases and also sensitive to other a-biotic factors then it should be replaced with other suitable crops.

    Let us come out from the un-realistic obsession and longings to particular crops. If particular crops are susceptible to particular pests and external intervention also does not bring fruitful results then changing the host plants (crops) is the alternative.