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'SEM programmes should also reach middle level farmers'

By Staff
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Mysore, Feb 24 (UNI) Eminent Sericulture expert Prof Dwarakinath today gave a call for Sericulture Extension Management (SEM) programmes to reach middle level farmers along with the elite ones in the country.

Inaugurating a two-day national seminar on SEM, organised by the Central Sericultural Training and Research Institute (CSTRI) here, he said that while the elite farmers in rural communities were resourceful and far sighted, the middle level ryots were mostly inward looking and risk-shy. The ''imitiation learning'' resorted to by middle level farmers would often be practical, but not total.

The expert said these new technologies have to be adopted in combination and systematically as such strategic extension efforts were very much needed to introduce new sericulture technologies to the elite and middle level farmers. It was also necessary in an established system of working with farming communities to bring about occupational improvements, leading to betterment of livelihood. The process involved building upon local and traditional knowledge resources by combining largely science-based, external knowledge and generating alternative farming practices through participatory technology development activities, he explained.

Central Silk Board Chief Executive Officer Dr H Basker, speaking on the occasion, said the Board proposed to set up a centre in villages to provide more information to sericulture farmers on increasing production and adopting new technologies. However, the cost incurred should be borne by the farmers themselves. More Non-Governmental Organisations with private participation should be involved in the extension programmes.

He called upon the extension officers to provide information not only to elite farmers, but also to their middle and small level counterparts. Sericulture extension was primarily public-funded and faced constraints such as inadequate manpower, rising costs and inadequate availability of resources. There was an urgent need to re-orient the extension approaches to make it more effective.

CSTRI Director Dr S B Dandin, in his speech, said all efforts were on to re-examine the existing technology transfer system and suggest suitable reforms to make it more effective to realise the target of doubling silk production to 30,000 metric tonnes by 2012.

Over 250 delegates and farmers from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and other parts of the country were taking part in the seminar.

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