AGRICULTURE TRIBUNE Monday, January 31, 2000, Chandigarh, India
 

Contribution of women in agriculture
By I.S Sharma
IN India, agriculture accounts for 32 per cent of the national product. About 70 per cent of the total working population of women are involved in agriculture. Statistical data demonstrate that there is a progressive increase in the number of women involved. In the rural scenario, there is hardly any agricultural activity where women are not found contributing except probably ploughing field. They have to do varied field operations like tilling, manuring, weeding, transplanting, harvesting, threshing and storing.

Advances in waterlogging, salinity control
By G.S. Dhillon

UNDER the aegis of the World Bank, a workshop was organised at Cairo in April, 1999, where experts from developed and developing countries deliberated to frame suitable recommendations for designing waterlogging and salinity control projects, based on the experience from similar works built and operated in different parts, particularly in the Nile delta and Indus plains.

Spreading horticultural knowhow
TO disseminate the latest technical knowhow among rural poor concerning horticulture and forestry, the Dr Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni (Solan), organised a two-day kisan mela on the university campus in the second week of January. The basic objective of the mela was to display the different activities of the university through exhibitions and to create a venue for farmers to buy fruit and forest plants, seeds of different vegetables, flowers, medicinal and aromatic plants and farm literature at one place.

Grow ginger free from rhizome rot
By C.M. Kumbhkarni

THE cultivation of ginger — an important cash crop of farmers in mid and low hills of Himachal Pradesh, is picking up again. A persistent decline in the production and area under ginger had occurred during the past two decades due to an outbreak of “yellow” disease and subsequent shift to off-season vegetables. According to Dr R.D. Sharma, Professor and Head, Department of Plant Pathology, Dr Yaswant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, the research on the management of rhizome rot done by scientists has given fruitful results, and encouraged the growers to restart its cultivation.


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Contribution of women in agriculture
By I.S Sharma

IN India, agriculture accounts for 32 per cent of the national product. About 70 per cent of the total working population of women are involved in agriculture. Statistical data demonstrate that there is a progressive increase in the number of women involved. In the rural scenario, there is hardly any agricultural activity where women are not found contributing except probably ploughing field. They have to do varied field operations like tilling, manuring, weeding, transplanting, harvesting, threshing and storing. They also have to look after dairy animals, poultry, fuel needs, food processing and drawing and storing of water. Activities within house are classified as house work and not considered as contribution to the economy and most of their work is invisible. The statistical data show that poor the family, the more it depends on the economic productivity of its women. The type and extent of agricultural activities in which women are engaged vary in different regions of the country. Broadly they are engaged in agricultural operations in three ways. They work as paid labourer, cultivators — doing labour in their own land as unpaid workers, and managers — by way of labour supervision, etc.

About 90 per cent of rural women are unskilled and 80 per cent are illiterate, which makes them vulnerable to exploitation. Low levels of nutrition and frequent pregnancies make them prone to poor health and thus limiting their productivity. Thus with the realisation of their role in the country’s economy which in mainly agro based, the government agencies have started many new science technology projects and other programmes for their uplift and welfare. Yet they are facing many problem.

Discrimination in wages: The remuneration and division of labour are highly sex based in the agriculture sector. Discrimination is manifested in the male and female earnings. Though the existing legislation do not permit discrimination in wages on the ground of sex, the daily earnings of women labourers are generally less than those of man in most parts of the country. Operations that fetch higher wages are male preserves, whereas work of arduous nature bringing in lower wages are done by women. The basic reasons for disparity in wages are seasonal nature of the demand for labour, the traditional classification of some jobs as the monopoly of women, unorganised nature of the farm labour, and poverty, illiteracy and ignorance regarding the laws.

Off-season problems: During off-season the women in agriculture have to struggle hard to find for alternative sources of income. The absence of alternative opportunities for employment in the rural sector is intensified by the decline of traditional handicrafts.

Besides some of the new technologies have displaced women from many traditional activities. Such women try to take up any work available to them e.g. road construction, forest produce collection, etc. At times they are subjected to verbal or sexual abuse or physical harassment.

Non-availability of loans: Financial institutions are hesitant to extend credit to them as they lack security. These women are unaware of the existing credit facilities or are physically unable to reach the banks or are unfamiliar with their policies and cumbersome procedures. Moreover, there is lack of women’s groups or cooperatives which may help such women in obtaining the required credit.

Child care: Usually, the children of women in agriculture do not get the full attention of the mothers as they are away from homes for most part of the day. They are brought up in unhygienic conditions leading to many physical, social and psychological problems, malnutrition, etc.

Transfer of technology: Most of the agricultural development programmes are planned even today by men for men. As and when technologies developed, they were focused towards male farmers, and the development and enhancement of capabilities of farm women are rarely the consideration. There is a clear bias in research on technology in favour of males.

Though the technical development during Green Revolution had resulted in a decrease in women involvement, the transfer of technology into women hands is an important approach to bring them back into the mainstream. The role of women in technical development in agriculture has only been receiving special attention recently. Agriculture, food processing, composting technology, mushroom technology, medicinal plants, sericulture, poultry, aquaculture, dairy and animal rearing are the main areas in which transfer of technology into women hands can raise the level of productivity.

Government’s role: Though many appropriate technologies and laws have been developed and created till now, but there implementation needs special attention. Various steps have been taken by the government to bring more and more women farmers into the mainstream. These are:

— Extension and training through various government agencies like the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) under the scheme “Training of rural youth for employment”

— Special programmes for women like the integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) and the Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) have been started. Besides, many new science and technology projects have been stated to uplift rural women status, which are sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology, the ICAR and the Ministry of Rural Development.

— A Central Scheme, Financial Assistance to Women Cooperation, has been started to bring about improvement in the socio-economic status of women by providing special protection in the agro-based commercial sector.

To sum up, women in agriculture have vast potential, intelligence and ability, which if trapped properly, may enable them to join the mainstream of agriculture development. The source of exploitation and disabilities of these women are rooted in their ignorance, helplessness, landlessness, lack of education and inequality of status. It is, therefore, necessary to equip these women with required information, knowledge and skills to enable them to do their work efficiently and became equal partners in agricultural production.


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Advances in waterlogging, salinity control
By G.S. Dhillon

UNDER the aegis of the World Bank, a workshop was organised at Cairo in April, 1999, where experts from developed and developing countries deliberated to frame suitable recommendations for designing waterlogging and salinity control projects, based on the experience from similar works built and operated in different parts, particularly in the Nile delta and Indus plains.

It was recognised that drainage alone could solve the waterlogging problem. It has to be combined with proper management of irrigation i.e. on-farm management. In this regards the case of Uzbekistan was cited where introduction of improved water management led to improved productivity and improvement in the quality of effluent water when it was combined with conventional drainage measures.

It was found that the waterlogging and salinity occurrence are unavoidable to some extent when irrigation is introduced to an arid zone, but its extent and severity can be controlled.

While tackling a drainage problem, the first task is to identify the critical areas needing early attention, in addition to establishing the origin of the problem. In areas with deep aquifers having high hydraulic conductivity, identification of priority areas and tackling them first will result in solving the waterlogged problem in the remaining areas. Thus, drainage implemented in a limited area can improve waterlogging over a large area.

Introduction of irrigation disturbs the existing salt and water balance which needs to be restored or preserved. Improved drainage needs be undertaken only when the other measures have proved ineffective. The other measures include the reduction of seepage losses from canals which would lower recharge to the ground water, thereby reducing influx of salts. In addition, improved on-farm water management will also reduce the salinity and waterlogging problems. Similarly, change in land use, cropping patterns and coverage of salinity affected areas with tolerant plants, shrubs and trees will reduce deep percolation losses. Provision of biological drainage and cutting off capillary saturation also merit consideration.

Landscape drainage measures, if taken, can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of both surface and sub-surface drainage built. In alluvial plains, a limited number of judiciously aligned depressions can avert the need for a wide blanket drainage cover.

In the case of surface drainage recommendations are based on the lessons learnt from working of drainage systems so of the Nile delta and the works built in Pakistani Punjab. It has been found that the surface drainage can provide a very cost-effective solution for watertable and salinity control. In many cases decisions were taken to reduce or even cancel construction of sub-surface drainage projects when the improved surface drainage system became available.

However, it was found that the improved surface drainage was effective as preventive measure and could not cure an area already waterlogged. So it is essential to build a surface drainage system at an early stage after introduction of irrigation to an area in an arid zone.

For improving the performance of a surface drainage system, it is essential that velocity of flow, even at the low flow stages, is self-cleaning and for that a slope of at least one metre per km needs to be provided. No obstruction be built in the drains to make use of drained water for irrigation.

Canal seepage is most often quoted as the main culprit causing waterlogging of the command area and lining of canals is advocated so as to counteract the seepage losses. In addition, interceptor drains are built in the vicinity of the seeping canals so as to arrest or intercept the seeping flow.

Canal lining is effective is reducing seepage losses and reduction of up to 68 per cent has been measured in the case of an effective lining. But lining measures are rather costly and should be undertaken if their cost can be justified considering the resultant benefits.

The rinterceptor drains have been found rarely effective in preventing waterlogging occurring due to seepage from a canal. Such systems are least effective with deep aquifer and flat topography, but may be effective to some extent when aquifer is shallow and the land sloping.

It has been found that laying of sub-surface drainage systems by use of trencher provides a clean and cost-effective mode. Instead of the gravel filters, the synthetic envelopes have been found to give better performance.

Reviewing of the works built so far and in operation for many years, the following design parameters have been recommended: — Depth of laterals now recommended has to be between 1.5 and 1.8 m instead of 2 m recommended earlier as deeper drains have been found to deprive root zone of moisture. — Drainage rate of 1.5 to 2.0 mm/d has been found to suffice intend of the earlier recommended rate of 3.5 mm/d (which was fixed as half of the rate used for design of systems in Europe and the Netherlands).

Water quality control of streams and other open water bodies has become a major concern in all irrigated basins in arid zones and this has greatly complicated the disposal of saline drainage water. Without proper disposal of drained water, the sustainability of irrigated land in arid zones cannot be ensured. So many basins face difficulty of controlling salinity levels of the rivers into which water is disposed of.

So special care is needed while designing the disposal works of a drainage system and many basins have been provided with special out falls to overcome the disposal problem.
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Spreading horticultural knowhow

TO disseminate the latest technical knowhow among rural poor concerning horticulture and forestry, the Dr Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni (Solan), organised a two-day kisan mela on the university campus in the second week of January. The basic objective of the mela was to display the different activities of the university through exhibitions and to create a venue for farmers to buy fruit and forest plants, seeds of different vegetables, flowers, medicinal and aromatic plants and farm literature at one place.

Inaugurating the kisan mela, Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, called upon the university scientists to develop cheap and eco-friendly technology suitable to different agro-climatic zones of the state. He said that there was an urgent need for improvement in the production as well as quality so that the horticulture industry in the state became competitive in quality and productivity.

He said that 34 species of fruits were being cultivated in the state and efforts were on to diversify the horticulture industry for its sustainable development and to make the state the "fruit bowl of the country".

Mr Narender Bragta, Horticulture Minister, declared that in order to chalk out strategies for the transfer of technology, the university and the Horticulture Department would organise a chain of training camps all over the state to educate the farming community. The problem like mango hopper, European red mite, premature apple leaf fall and other serious diseases and pest would be tackled on priority basis and the state government would provide all kind of help to boost research and extension activities in the state. He advised the farmers to develop a close link with the university to update their knowledge and solve the problems faced by them.

Prof R.P. Awasthi, Vice-Chancellor of the university, informed that for the diversification in horticulture, the university would establish four budwood orchards in the state. The improved budwood plant material would be imported to establish a walnut budwood orchard at Nauni, a peanut orchard at the HRS, Kandaghat, a hazelnut orchard at the RHRS, Bajaura (Kulu), and a pistachionut budwood bank orchard at the RHRS, Sharbo in Kinnaur district. He advised the orchardists to make judicious use of fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides.

Different fruit and forestry plants were the major attractions for the farmers. The farmers made a beeline to procure the plant material, seed of vegetables, flowers, medicinal and aromatic plants and different publications of the university, including processed material.

A technical question-answer session, talks by scientists on different disciplines, an exchange of views on emerging problems, a visit to the experimental farm of the university, an exhibition by the 16 departments of the university and the Horticulture Department, HPKVV, Palampur, the HP Agro-Industries and the HPMC were among the main attractions at the mela.

During the mela 281 entries of fruits, vegetables, flowers, mushroom, honey and processed food were received, of which 84 were selected for prizes.

The Chief Minister also laid the foundation stone of a 44-bed girls hostel and visited an exhibition. He also planted a sapling of a tree on the university campus. — TNS
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Grow ginger free from rhizome rot
By C.M. Kumbhkarni

THE cultivation of ginger — an important cash crop of farmers in mid and low hills of Himachal Pradesh, is picking up again.

A persistent decline in the production and area under ginger had occurred during the past two decades due to an outbreak of “yellow” disease and subsequent shift to off-season vegetables. According to Dr R.D. Sharma, Professor and Head, Department of Plant Pathology, Dr Yaswant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, the research on the management of rhizome rot done by scientists has given fruitful results, and encouraged the growers to restart its cultivation. An integrated disease management programme evolved by the university has been under implementation through adaptive and demonstration trials in the remote areas of the state, with special emphasis in Sirmaur district particularly, which is the main ginger growing area.

The ginger crop is grown in an area of 1680 ha. with a production of 20,000 MT in Sirmaur, Shimla, Kulu, Bilaspur and Mandi districts. Rhizome rot, which compelled a majority of the growers to abandon the cultivation of ginger, is a disease of complex nature.

Many factors have been identified by the researchers to be involved in the disease development. The pathogens of the disease are soil inhabitants. The pathogens either survive in the vascular system in the farm of fungal “mycelium”. The spread of the disease is through soil, rain, irrigation water, tools, etc, to the adjacent plants or fields, and also along the gradient of the field. Besides, rhizomes of ginger kept in storage pits for seed purpose are affected by numerous fungi, causing deterioration and subsequent heavy losses which affect availability of ginger at the planting time.

The integrated disease management programme includes cultural methods of disease control (rhizone selection, drainage, phytosanitation, etc.) and chemical methods like soil application of Thimet 10-G before planting of ginger and rhizome treatment with a mixture of Dithane M-45 (0.25 per cent and Bavistin (0.1 per cent) and Durmet (0.2 per cent) for 60 minutes. The use of Blitox-50 (0.3 per cent) in disease-infested patches has also been recommended. The rhizome treatment is compulsory before planting of ginger and after harvesting before storage in pits, according to Dr N.P. Dohru, scientist working on the disease.

The farmers who are adopting this strategy of the crop protection are getting 65 per cent higher yield than non-adopters. Since Sirmaur alone accounts for 74 per cent of total area, therefore, more emphasis was given to this district and the number of demonstration trails on the control of rhizome rot of ginger varied from 25 to 36 each year during 1995 to 1998 in Rajgarh, Sangrah and Sarahan blocks.

There is still some gap in the protection technology of ginger, especially storage conditions for which research is being undertaken in the Department of Mycology and Plant Pathology to explore new ventures in the management strategy through biological means.
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Dairy and poultry farming

Dairy:

— Dry bedding to animals helps save them from cold. Entry of very cold winds inside the shed should be minimised.

— Provide high energy concentrate. Increase cereals by 5-10 per cent in the concentrate.

— Do not apply milk for lubrication of teats during milking. To avoid cracking or fissuring of teats in cold dry weather clean the teats with warm water and apply ghee or butter.

— Feed well-chaffed berseem to avoid aphara (tympany).

— Immediate help of nearby veterinarian be sought if any animal shows lack of appetite, sluggishness or high temperature.

Poultry:

— Avoid the entry of cold wind inside the shed. If the curtains of the shed get wet due to rain, etc., provide dry curtains in shed, otherwise wet curtain will be harmful. The entry of air through wet curtain will increase coldness inside the shed.

— Damp/caked litter may be removed and can be added again after drying. Part of damp litter may be replaced but the entire old litter may not be taken out. New litter has very little capacity to absorb moisture.

— Poultry feed should have additional 5 per cent energy cereals. Birds require additional energy to overcome the stress of cold weather.

— Put dry grass or husk over the roof of the shed. It will help maintain higher temperature inside the poultry houses.

— Vaccinate the healthy chicks of 6-8 weeks with R2B Vaccine against Ranikhet disease.

— Provide vitamin supplement water to vaccinated chicks.

— Ensure proper brooder temperature to the young chicks according to their age. In case of electricity failure alternative source of heat should be provided.

— In the case of worm infestation in your birds, deworm the flock every month on the fixed date by giving any medicine such as Vermax, Safersol, Verban, Piperazine, etc.

Bee-keeping:

— Honey bee colonies should be least opened during winter. Under compelling situations the colonies should be examined during noon on some calm and sunny day.

— Extra cracks and crevices/holes in the hives should be plugged with mud. If the colonies are still under shade these should be shifted gradually to sun by moving about 3 feet daily.

— The surrounding of the colonies should be kept clean of grass/weeds. Under prolonged cloudy/misty/rainy spell, the colonies may fall short or honey stores. If so, the colonies should be given supplementary feeding of thick sugar syrup (2 parts sugar: 1 part water).

Fish-farming:

— Maintain water level of the pond to 4.5 to 5 to provide warm deeper layers of water during late night/early morning.

— Do not apply any organic manure or inorganic fertiliser if the colour of the pond water is grass-green.

— Apply quick lime @ 50 kg per acre to prevent the incidence of diseases during unfavourable winter temperature.

— Reduce feeding to a maintenance level of 500 g of feed per day per 1000 fish.

Progressive Farming, PAU
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