Assam officials visit WorldVeg activities in Odisha, India
In mid-2016, the World Bank approached the World Vegetable Center with a request to introduce improved vegetable production technologies in Assam. WorldVeg developed a project proposal “Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation” (APART) and presented it to Assam Rural Infrastructure and Agriculture Services (ARIAS), an agency under the government of Assam. To better understand the Center’s work, ARIAS members toured WorldVeg project locations in Odisha from 21-22 March 2017.
Representatives from ARIAS, Assam Agriculture University, and the Assam directorates of Agriculture and Horticulture studied project locations in Boudh and Puri districts of Odisha, where WorldVeg onion and mungbean are grown. WorldVeg Postharvest Specialist Arshad Pal introduced the group to local onion farmers in both locations, who enthusiastically spoke about producing onion in the kharif season—an idea proposed to them by the WorldVeg team. “We used to grow onion only in rabi,” said one farmer. “Now, we sell kharif onion at a higher price of INR 12-15 per kg.” The Assam visitors also met with officials from the Odisha Department of Horticulture to understand how the project benefits onion farmers.
On the second day, Arshad, Reetanjali and other WorldVeg Odisha staff brought the visitors to Puri district to meet mungbean and urdbean farmers. “We never paid any attention to the crop after broadcasting the seed,” said a farmer who is participating in the project. “We harvested whatever yielded, and it was as low as 0.5 tonnes per hectare. But the WorldVeg team introduced us to improved technologies that were totally new to us. We are contented with a better crop now.” The visiting team also joined a training session on mechanical weeding methods for mungbean and urdbean.
Story and photos: Arshad Pal & PVL Bharathi