Explore regional advantages to increase income of Spiti farmers

The 4th Scientific Advisory Committee(SAC) meeting of Krishi Vigyan Kendra(KVK) Lahaul and Spiti-II at Tabo was organised on October 29. The meeting was chaired by Prof. Rajeshwar Singh Chandel, Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni who attended the meeting online. Dr. Inder Dev, UHF Director of Extension Education along with members from the different line departments, progressive farmers and scientists attended the meeting. Dr. Rajesh Rana, Principal Scientist, ICAR-ATARI Zone-I participated virtually. 

Dr. RS Sephia, Incharge of KVK Tabo welcomed the SAC members and presented an activity report of the KVK carried out last year and the annual action plan for the upcoming year. He highlighted the work done by the KVK and its impact on the farming community of Spiti Valley.  

Addressing the members, Prof Chandel lauded the work of the KVK in promoting apple cultivation and other agricultural activities which has brought economic prosperity to the farmers in the region. Lauding the initiative of the farmers of villages like Hurling who are voluntarily working towards making their farming chemical-free. He said the use of chemicals in farming was very limited in the Spiti valley and therefore efforts must be made by the KVK to develop models on natural farming by integrating traditional crops of the area. He urged the KVK staff to work on post-harvest of local coarse grains like barley and wheat.

Director Extension Education stressed on the need to collaboratively work with the farmers and the line departments to promote local knowledge and solutions in agriculture and horticulture. He also assured the members about the technical support of the university and the KVK to the Farmer Producer Company registered in Hurling Village. Dr. Rajesh Rana was of the view that the good quality and highly nutritive produce of the region was a big advantage that must be utilized by executing branding strategies and ensuring volumes through local FPOs.

Emphasizing the important role of women in farming activities, women empowerment through long-term sustainability programmes and activities under the Vibrant Village programme of the GoI was also suggested. Members advocated the cultivation of local medicinal plants and millets to promote crop diversity to tackle apple monoculture. 

In a separate event, a farmer-scientist interaction was also held at the KVK Tabo in which over 50 farmers from different areas participated. Technical input on various farming activities was given to the participants by the scientists. Field visits to fields of progressive farmers in Hurling and Lidang were also held.