Much has already been documented on the agricultural reforms in Northeast India while at the same time discovering the hidden agricultural potential of the region. From entrepreneurs to business firms and explorers alike, agriculture, as well as the rich biodiversity of Northeast India, has remained the subject of widespread interest and discussions.
Zizira’s explorers recently came across Krishi Vigyan Kendra, an organization in Shillong, working extensively for the benefit of farmers and with no time to waste we gave them a visit!
A Brief Insight on Krishi Vigyan Kendra
Recommended by the Education Commission (1964-66) and spearheaded by Indian Council of Agricultural Research in 1973, the idea of establishing a Farm Science Centre (Krishi Vigyan Kendra) was conceptualized. The first KVK was set up in 1974, at Puducherry (earlier Pondicherry), under the administrative control of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. After receiving encouraging results and with the growing demand for more of such centres, 12 more KVKs were approved by the governing body of the council in 1979. As of today, India has a total of 642 KVKs.
Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Shillong
The need for a farming assistance platform in Meghalaya led to the establishment of KVK, East Khasi Hills. KVK Shillong deals with the on-farm demonstration of numerous local plants. The experimental farms at KVK are aimed at innovative farming solutions by following the principle of “Teaching by Doing” and “Learning by Doing”.
With their team of experts, KVK Shillong also travels to remote locations to provide training to farmers and to familiarize them with the latest in farming technology.
Zizira at KVK Shillong
Zizira’s team of two visited KVK on the 9th of March 2016. We were greeted by Mrs. Iadahunlang Kharkongor, Program Coordinator, who introduced us to the rest of the team. We were overjoyed when we discovered that the ideals and vision of KVK were no different from those of Zizira! And when we shared Zizira’s vision, they were more than happy to provide us with guidance and assistance. We also learned that one key function that KVK has been managing and operating was the live updates through SMS to farmers on current market trends and crop prices.
This exercise helps keep the farmers up to date about what prices their produce will fetch, thereby reducing their dependency on market volatility.
Can Zizira and KVK Work Together to Help Farmers?
KVK is more than willing to work with us in opening up the market for the farmers of the state. Zizira and KVK Shillong are determined to improve the lives of the farmers by working on long term and sustainable marketing solutions.
Asked about the economic condition of the farmers, Mrs. Kharkongor said, “The farmers are easily exploited and their returns are only enough to sustain them hand-to-mouth. Lack of proper storage facility, little or no control and awareness about market conditions in remote areas are a few of the many hurdles faced by farmers. Farmers here use low cost phones which at times do not support the messaging facilities from KVK and hence creates a gap in the service “.
We returned from the visit well informed and carrying high hopes for a better future by collaborating with meaningful organizations like KVK. Our vision is one where Northeast India farmers are self-reliant and able to provide for and sustain their family.
Do you know of similar organizations which are working for the benefit of farmers? Let us know!