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At the initiative of IIT Mandi, the Himachal Pradesh Government has constituted a joint Technical Working Group (TWG) of IIT Mandi and Department of Agriculture of H.P. to identify the technological needs of the farmers of the hilly region of the state.
The first meeting of the technology working group was held on 24th May, 2011 at IIT Mandi. Besides IIT Faculty and officers from HP State Govt. the meeting was also attended by eight farmers from Districts Mandi, Sundernagar and Kullu. Ms. Lakshmi Vaidyanathan, Head Rural Technology and Business Incubator of IIT Madras also participated in the meeting through teleconferencing The meeting started with a welcome note by Prof. T.A.Gonsalves, Director of the Institute who emphasised resolve of IIT Mandi to provide technological solutions to improve economy and quality of life of rural population of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. He laid stress on active participation of the faculty, students, different agencies of the states and also the end users, the farmers, in developing cheap and farmer friendly technologies. Dr. R.C. Sawhney , Chairman of the technology working group also extended a warm welcome to the members, faculty and also to the farmers and thanked them for sparing their time to discuss technological needs of the farmers. He shared with the participants the major objectives of TWG which are :-

-To identify research and development needs of the farmers, especially those of hilly areas of Himachal Pradesh -To develop post harvest technologies for value addition to the farm produce
-Adaptation of existing technologies for different terrain of the state
-To modernize the existing farm implements as per needs of the hilly terrain in view of new technological advances
which have occurred during the last decade.
-To develop engineering solution to enhance farm productivity.
-To develop next generation farmer friendly technologies for the hilly terrain.

The representatives from Directorate of Agriculture, Govt of Himachal Pradesh made a presentation on constraints in development of technologies related to the problems being faced by the state farmers in their day to day farming activities The farmers from different regions also shared their working problems with the participants and requested IIT Mandi to provide technological solutions to the unique problems for the small land holders of hilly terrain. They informed the gathering that the farm appliances available in the market have been developed mainly keeping in mind big land holders of the plan area and concerted efforts have not been made to address problems related to hill agriculture where land holding is very low.

After deliberations amongst the participants including Ms. Lakshmi Vaidyanathan who provided her inputs through teleconference, following areas were identified which need technological intervention:-

(i) Development of economically viable polyhouses equipped with intelligent monitoring system for temperature,
humidity and nutrient requirements
(ii) Farmer friendly Call Centers to advice the farmers for their day to day farming problems. Voicemail mobile
telephony system may be tried. The model working in the rural areas of Tamil Nadu may be tried in Himachal
(iii) An intelligent drip irrigation system with sensors for temperature, humidity and nutrient requirement should be
(iv) Low cost, cold storage system affordable at village level should be developed.
(v) Low cost solar dryers for value addition to farm produce should be developed.
(vi) Low cost onsite CO2 generators should be developed to enhance shelf life of the farm produce
(vii) Attempts should be made to develop post harvest technologies for value addition of apples and other farm produce
(viii) Rain harvesting and micro- irrigation technologies suited to the hilly terrain should be developed
(ix) Low cost vermicomposing pits should be designed to encourage organic farming
(x) Low cost packaging material from locally available waste material such as pine needles, rice husk, dry leaves or
local grass should be developed
(xi) Light weight farmer friendly tillers having functional capability at par with traditionally used tiller should be developed

To provide solution to the problems identified by TWG, we invite friends of IIT Mandi to share their expertise and join hands with IIT Mandi to meet local aspirations. These technologies developed for Himachal state farmers will be equally applicable for the hilly region of Jammu & Kashmir.

Dr. R. C. Sawhney
Chairman, Technology Working Group

(Public Relation Consultant)
Phone no. 9418053066

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 05/28/2011 02:13PM by chandan.
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