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ICAR-IIHR maximises revolving fund scheme to produce tech inputs, seeds
Saturday, 15 February, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Indian Council of Agricultural Research-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (ICAR-IIHR) capitalises on the revolving fund scheme to produce technological inputs and products like seeds and planting materials.

The revolving fund scheme starts with the basic seed money to the tune of Rs 2 lakh given by ICAR. It encourages a participatory approach for production of seeds and planting materials by farmers at the village level.

“Under the scheme, we were able to produce about five tonne of seeds of the institute’s  in-house varieties of horticulture produce through the farmers. The fund ensures the availability of seeds and planting material to farmers and other stakeholders,” Dr M R Dinesh, director, ICAR-IIHR, told F&B News.

“Whenever there was a huge demand for the seeds, we were unable to meet the  requirements. So we started involving the farmers, and through them, we are having about 20 tonne seed capacity. More farmers are now showing interest in supporting us,” he added.

The institute replicated the same for fruit crop nurseries. The planting material is provided to nurseries to develop the graft, and IIHR scientists regularly extend the guidance on planting processes and provide solutions if problems are encountered.

“Now any marginal farmer can take on this to help ICAR-IIHR to sustain the seed and planting material chain. The best part is that with the revolving fund the farmer can enable the seed production. As an institute, we are giving the seeds or the planting material and buy back the same too, which ensures the farmer earns an income for this  livelihood. Hence, it is a win-win situation for both,” said Dr Dinesh.

The institute is home to a collection of fruits and vegetables. There is access to well-preserved 9,000 geno types of different crops and any horticulturist could approach IIHR for the same. There is information on the chemical profiling and DNA finger printing of these varieties.

“For instance, IIHR has jackfruit varieties, Siddha and Sankara, named after the farmers who managed the fruit cultivation by producing the seeds which helped to multiply the planting material,” said Dr Dinesh.

“When each sapling is sold, 75 per cent of the cost is given to the farmer and 25 per cent to IIHR. We hand-hold the farmer for a year and teach him the methods of grafting and planting technique,” he added.

“Now, the owner of the Siddha jackfruit variety earns around Rs 8 lakh from one tree, as against his earlier income of Rs 8,000 from the same. Therefore, the need of the hour is to link the biodiversity with livelihood security which automatically ensures  conservation of rare varieties,” he said.
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