Agricultural Technology Meet – 2016

Technology Week Celebrations of ATMA is being conducted jointly by Agricultural Technology Management Agency, Thiruvanathapuram and ICAR-CTCRI at Sreekariyam during 19th December to 21st December 2016. The programme was inaugurated by Hon’ble Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran, Devaswom, Tourism and Co- Operation, Government of Kerala today. In his address, he remarked that agriculture in the state is undergoing a revival phase in recent times, which is evident from the feedbacks received from farmers. He also exhorted the farmers to adopt modern technologies and techniques available with the research institutions that would enhance the yield of their crops. He reiterated the need for farmers to learn new methods for diversification in agriculture and value addition to farm products to double the farm income. The presidential address was delivered by Dr. James George, Director, ICAR-CTCRI. The councilor Shri Alathara Anil Kumar and ATMA coordinator Mrs. Mini K Rajan also spoke at the occasion. The celebration included seminars, interactive sessions and exhibitions by various organizations. Around 200 farmers, ATMA functionaries and scientists participated in the inaugural function.


“Reinventing tuber crops consumption forms to match emerging needs of fast growing youth population is the need of the hour” is the message delivered by Dr. G. Gopakumar, Vice Chancellor, Central University of Kerala, Kasargode at the Tuber Crops Day Celebrations organised by Indian Society for Root Crops (ISRC) at ICAR- Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (ICAR-CTCRI). While inaugurating the programme, Dr Gopakumar recalled on how tuber crops helped to combat food insecurity in Kerala during the first quarter of 20th Century and played a significant role in preventing starvation in the Gods own country. Dr Gopakumar indicated that the urbanisation has significantly changed the food habits of Keralites, and called upon the vibrant youth of Kerala to create startups on innovative tuber crops food technologies to meet the emerging needs. Dr. James George, Director, ICAR-CTCRI, in his presidential address informed that the Institute has contributed significantly for the tuber crops development in the state and has developed 53 improved tuber crops varieties in the last 53 years. Besides, he indicated that a wide spectrum of tuber crops technologies are developed at ICAR-CTCRI for diversified stakeholders– from high starch varieties for farmers to viable healthy food products like gluten-free pasta for small-scale entrepreneurs. Shri. Alathara Anil, Councillor,Thiruvananthapuram Corporation appreciated the Institute for its research work on tuber crops for the past few decades. Dr. CA Jayaprakas, President – ISRC has welcomed the gathering and Dr. V S Santosh Mithra, Secretary has proposed vote of thanks. Two farmers Shri. Khalid,Malapuram and Shri. Subramanian, Perumbavoor, who excelled in tuber crops cultivation, processing and commercialisation were recognised as Best Farmers during this event and they were awarded. About 100 farmers from different parts of Kerala took part in the programme. Tuber Crops Day is a state programme celebrated each year in connection with the Thrikarthika Day to promote tuber crops cultivation and consumption in the state.

NCTTC - 2016

Indian subcontinent which represents one of the greatest emporia of natural wealth and biodiversity is inhabited by more than 53.8 million tribal people. The diversity in the nature provides them with variety in the diet and contributes to household food security. Root and tuber crops being cheap and rich sources of energy capable of alleviating hunger was integrated with the food habits of the tribal population of India since time immemorial. Although there is wide geographical diversity in the tuber crops of India, their occurrence and spread mostly depend on the localized climate and growth environment. Historically, tribal and rural people have adapted themselves to identifying and collecting wild tubers from forests which suit their dietary needs and developed a range of diverse processing methods. Some of the wild species have since been domesticated by certain progressive tribes, while other tribes still depend on the collection and consumption from the wild habitats. India holds rich genetic diversity in tropical root and tuber crops particularly aroids, yams and several minor tuber crops. Most of the tuber crops such as cassava, sweet potatoes, yams and aroids provide beyond calories, nutrition also by virtue of their high content of vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals. Nevertheless, malnutrition is a growing curse among the tribal population of India. While more than 53% of the tribal children are stunted, infant mortality sprouting from poor maternal nutrition is also on the increase. Addressing such issues necessitate large scale awareness on the tribal food habits, the nutritional status of the communities and possible interventions that could convince them on the importance of nutritious food. In this context, tropical tuber crops owing to their specific advantages such as ability to grow in poor or marginal soils and climate resilient nature coupled with the nutritional benefits of both roots and leaves of selected crops like sweet potato or taro, assume significance. Information on the indigenous knowledge on the utilization pattern of tuber crops by the tribal people, despite being documented by some researchers, remain scattered. Besides, a wealth of information has been generated over the years on the improved varieties, management practices and value addition by the research organizations and universities of India. This National Conference is intended to bring together the research efforts on tuber crops which would permit an appraisal and selection of the best technologies for the tribal welfare programmes in India. It would also provide an opportunity to chalk out strategies to enhance the living standards of the tribal communities. The conference is also visualised as an eye-opener for the policy makers to introduce feasible technologies in the tribal belts and to popularise nutritious processed foods from tuber crops in the noon meal programme of tribal children, which could also help ensure larger participation in schools and kindle their interest towards education. A Tribal Upliftment Strategic Plan for India is expected to be the major outcome of this conference.

Read more →

Visit of Sri. Radha Mohan Singh, Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare to ICAR-CTCRI, Thiruvananthapuram on September 29, 2016

A Sri. Radha Mohan Singh, Hon’ble Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare visited ICAR-Central Tuber Crops Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on 29 September 2016. The hon’ble minister reached the campus in the afternoon and laid the foundation stone of the newly proposed Farmers Facilitation Centre. The Farmers Facilitation Centre is intended to be a single window where all the needs of the farmers who visit the Institute will be met. Later while addressing farmers, scientists and other employees of the Institute, Sri. Radha Mohan Singh said that the union Government had increased the fund allocation for frontline demonstration and other agricultural extension activities and for agriculture education in Kerala state. He emphasized the importance of such activities in spreading the technologies developed at research stations immediately to farmers. The honourable minister also stressed the importance of developing and spreading water saving technologies such as micro irrigation and drip irrigation, production of quality planting materials and value addition of agricultural produce which will ultimately bring more income to the farmers. He also stressed the importance of mobile based advisories to farmers and said that farmers must be kept informed of the new technologies with the help of such ICT based tools. He also stressed the importance of research programmes which are aimed at thwarting climate change related catastrophes. The minister released Annual Report 2015-16 (Hindi) and a Technical Folder on Techniques for Organic Production of Tropical Tuber Crops on this occasion.

Model Training Course

The Model Training Course entitled “Root and tuber crops based integrated farming system: A way forward to address climate change and livelihood improvement” was organized at ICAR-CTCRI, Regional Centre, Bhubaneswar during 19-26 September, 2016. The course was sponsored by the Directorate of Extension, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Govt. of India, New Delhi. The training programme was conducted with the objectives; to provide advance training to the state agricultural officers and scientists of ICAR/SAUs/KVKs and improve their skills in the area of Root and Tuber Crops Based Integrated Farming System (IFS); to show the trainees live demonstrations/ experiments on IFS to improved resource-use efficiency, and to provide an opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas/ knowledge sharing between the academics and with the experts/resource persons who have made notable contributions in this area.

Integrated Farming System (IFS) is a multi-disciplinary whole-farm approach for solving the problems of small and marginal farmers. This approach aims at increasing income and employment from small-holdings by integrating various farm enterprises and recycling crop residues and by-products within the farm itself. Under the gradual shrinking of land holding, it is required to integrate enterprises like fishery, poultry, duck rearing, apiary, field and horticultural crops, protected cultivation, mushroom cultivation, dairy, value addition and product development etc. within the bio-physical and socio-economic environment of the farmers to make farming more profitable and dependable. Further tuber crops are climate resilient and they bring assured income to the farmers. Tuber crops serve as food, feed and raw material for industries. Keeping this in view, the course contents were plannned accordingly, to share knowledge on the latest development in root and tuber crops based IFS and sensitize the extension functionaries of state departments and scientists of KVKs/ICAR.

Nineteen officials from State Departments and Scientists from KVKs/ICAR Institutes in the areas of Agricultural Sciences from six states viz., Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, New Delhi and Odisha participated in the programme. The course was organized by Dr. M. Nedunchezhiyan, Principal Scientist & Course Director and Mr. V.V. Bansode and Dr. V.B.S. Chauhan, Scientists & Course Coordinators. Certificate of Participation was distributed to the participants by Dr. A. Mukherjee, Head, ICAR-CTCRI, Regional Centre, Bhubaneswar.

53rd Foundation Day of ICAR-CTCRI

The 53rd foundation day of ICAR- CTCRI was celebrated cordially at the Sreekariyam campus of the institute. The function was inagurated by the State Agriculture Minister Shri. V. S. Sunil Kumar . Minister for Electricity and Devaswom, Shri. Kadakampally Surendran was the chief guest of honour. Trivandrum Corporation Cheruvaikkal ward Counsilor Shri. Alathara Anil Kumar, All India Radio Programme Executive(Vayalum Veedum) Shri. Muraleedharan Thazhakkara, former directors of the institute and scientists were also presented the function.

In the function, Dr. M. N. Sheela, Principal Scientist, delivered the welcome address, Dr. James George, Direcotr(Acting), delivered the presidential address and Dr. James George, Principal Scientist, delivered the vote of thanks.

In his speech, Shri. Kadakampally Surendran appreciated the excellent research and development activities conducted by the institute for the past 53 years. Besides, he demanded the State Agriculture Ministry to take necessary actions to popularize the activities of the institute. Research should be rooted on demands, said the Agriculture Minister , Shri. V. S. Sunil Kumar in his inagural address and promised all support of the state Government to the institute for the same. Rather than popularising the newly invented high yielding varities, the institute should take necessary steps to protect the traditional varieties having high medicinal values, pointed the minster. Public supermarkets will be opened at Thrissur, Calicut and Trivandrum for popularising the value added products developed by the research institutes of the centre and the state. He also released the annual research highlights and e-crop folder of the institute.

Farmers from various districts participated in the function and also had a two hour long interactive session with the scientists of the institute. Mr. Saji( Best tuber crop farmers of the years) from Kollam and Shri. Murali Thazhakkara( Programme Executive, AIR, Vayalum Veedum) were honoured in the function.