Teaching farmers

A unique course in Karnataka seeks to educate farmers about farming technology

Published: Wednesday 15 July 1998

Under a unique two-year distance education programme drawn up by the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bangalore, farmers in Karnataka, from June 1 will have an opportunity to enhance their knowledge about farming as well as learn about new farming technology. It is for the first time that any agricultural university in India has sought to offer a two-year distance education programme with a regular curriculum, semester system of education, and a pronounced practical orientation.

Farmers -- both who have passed the matriculation and those who had failed -- are eligible to apply. The programme is also open to dairy farmers, poultry farmers, or farmers engaged in fisheries or sericulture. The programme is expected to benefit a large number of school dropouts who have taken up agriculture as a profession. According to G K Veeresh, vice-chancellor, UAS, over 50 per cent of the school dropouts are found in villages, and a proportion of them might feel themselves disadvantaged for not having pursued higher education. It is this segment that the course seeks to address.

The course includes study of a variety of farming topics including sericulture, horticulture, forestry, mixed farming, dry farming, hill agriculture, fisheries, poultry farming and dairy farming. In addition, inputs on soil and weather conditions in coastal areas, rainfall fluctuations, and cultivation patterns of plantation crops have been included in the syllabus.

n raghavan ,bangalore.

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