Dr Abhilaksh Likhi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, visited the Indo-Dutch, Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Vegetables at Baramati, District Pune, Maharashtra and interacted with the farmers. The main objective of setting of the CoE is to establish a demonstration hub for vegetable production and transfer of technologies to the extension workers and farmers in the region through their training and capacity building. These techniques include protected cultivation, hydroponics, improved seeds and quality planting material, fertigation, Integrated Nutrient Management (INM), Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), etc.
The CoE facilitates the training of various level of officers, NGOs, private entrepreneurs and paves a way to develop value chain, promote employment generation and market intelligence to maximise income of farmers.
A total of seven Centres of Excellence (CoEs) of Indo-Dutch collaboration have been approved so far in four states. Out of them, two are completed in the state of Maharashtra and five are at various stages of completion. Beside these seven CoEs, there are three private centres as well. All these centres are operational in the states of Maharashtra, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala and Karnataka with a specific focus on horticulture crops, fruits, vegetables, potatoes and flowers.
Dr Likhi also visited the Dutch Green house at CoE, KVK Baramati which aims to maximise the crop production from less resources like water, pesticides, manpower etc., which not only adds value to the entrepreneurs but also increases the quality of the produce being residue free. The main focus of this green-house is on demonstrating technologies under protected cultivation. The additional secretary also reviewed the activities of the centre at Baramati wherein detailed presentations were made by the ten centres and agri start-ups working in the region. It focused on innovations and technologies being used by them to cut down the transaction costs and create better market linkages for farmers growing fruits and vegetables. Dr. Likhi directed all the stakeholders to ensure that the technological demonstrations being practiced in the seven CoEs should be widely disseminated in the villages surrounding the centres to extend its benefits to the small and marginal farmers for practicing profitable agriculture