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CHES (ICAR-IIHR), Bhubaneswar, organised workshop on Social and Economic Empowerment through Dedicated Seed production clusters for vegetable crops in Odisha

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Availability of quality seed and planting material is essential pre-requisite for successful conventional and commercial vegetable farming. Benefits of cost effective, high yielding disease resistant and varieties with specific desirable characters, developed by public sector have not been fully penetrated to most of the farmers. With an intension to channelize  the supply of these seeds at the grass root level by involving vegetable growers, unemployed rural youth and farm women to ignite their ambitions to become seed producers through a seed village system, Central Horticultural Experiment Station (ICAR-IIHR), Bhubaneswar, organised a workshop on 13th June 2019, at  IMAGE, Siripur, Bhubaneswar. The workshop was organised under the MIDH sponsored project entitled SEEDS: Social and Economic Empowerment through Dedicated Seed production clusters for vegetable crops in Odisha”. The major objective of the workshop was to identify potential areas and farmer beneficiaries for commercial seed production of major vegetable crops. The workshop was inaugurated by Chief Guest Dr. B. K. Upadhyay, IAS, Director, Directorate of Horticulture, Govt of Odisha in presence of Dr. P.K. Roul, Dean, Extension Education, OUAT, Bhubaneswar, Dr. M.R. Dinesh, Director, ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bengaluru, Dr. G. C. Acharya, Head, CHES(ICAR-IIHR), Bhubaneswar and Dr. P. Srinivas, Principal Scientist and Principal investigator of the project.

During the inaugural session, Dr. G. C. Acharya, Head, welcomed the dignitaries, officers and representatives of different governmental and non governmental agencies, farmers and other participants arrived from different parts of the State. He also briefed about the technological achievements of the CHES (ICAR-IIHR), Bhubaneswar for the benefit of the diverse group of participants in the workshop. Dr. P. Srinivas, Principal Scientist and PI of the project, highlighted the major objectives, strategies, operational details and projected outcome of the MIDH-SEEDs project. Addressing the gathering Dr. M.R. Dinesh, Director, ICAR-IIHR and Organising Chairman of the workshop encouraged the farmers of Odisha to take up commercial seed production of important crops. He also shared the success stories of seed production efforts taken by ICAR-IIHR at Karnataka. Guest of honour Dr. P.K. Roul, Dean, Extension Education, OUAT, appreciated the orientation of the project towards social and economic empowerment of farming community. He suggested the organisers to include the local non-descript popular varieties of vegetable crops in the preview of the MIDH-SEEDs project.  In his address Chief Guest Dr. B.K. Upadhyay, IAS, Director, Directorate of Horticulture, Govt of Odisha informed the gathering that the project was sanctioned based on need of the state vegetable growers and considering the dire requirement of self sufficiency of quality vegetable seeds in the Odisha State. He exuded confidence that the success of the project would pave way for the prosperity of the beneficiary farmers. Dr. P. Naresh, Scientist and Co-Organising Secretary of the workshop offered vote of thanks to all dignitaries and participants.

 During the Technical session chaired by Dr. M.R. Dinesh, and Co-Chaired by Dr. G. C. Acharya, four technical presentations were made. Dr. H.S. Yogeesha, Principal Scientist, ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru educated the audience about the scientific terminologies, methodologies and agro-ecological considerations for successful vegetable seed production in Odisha. Dr. T.H. Singh, Principal Scientist, ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru, described the comparative cost benefit concepts and calculations involved in commercial vegetable seed production vis a vis commercial vegetable cultivation. He also presented a wide array of open pollinated and hybrids vegetable varieties developed by ICAR-IIHR with their complete profiles. Dr. G.S. Sahu, Head, Department of Vegetable Science, OUAT, enlightened the gathering on the technicalities of commercial seed production. He advised the organisers to be cautious while introducing new hitherto non-evaluated varieties in the State. Sri Sanjay Mishra MD, HTPL, Bhubaneswar gave his brief presentation on market channelizing of vegetable produced and seeds in local and other markets outside the state.

Scientists of ICAR-IIHR, Deputy Directors of State directorate of horticulture, officials of Krishi Vigyan Kendras, SHGs, FPOs, farmers and more than 25 NGOs participated in the workshop and deliberated on the modalities of vegetable seed production in Odisha under the MIDH-SEEDs project. Representatives of NGOs interested to engage their farmer beneficiaries in vegetable seed production activities for their social and economic empowerment, progressive farmers and entrepreneurs working in the field of vegetable seed production and marketing offered to take up commercial seed production of several vegetable crops in different districts of Odisha with participation of more than 500 farmers. Co-PIs of the project Dr. P. Naresh, Dr. Meenu Kumari and Dr. Smaranika Mishra compiled the state wide data on the survey of seed production areas and potential seed producing areas in Odisha. Organising Secretary of the Workshop Dr. P. Srinivas, co-ordinated the proceedings of the different sessions while Co-Organising Chairman, Dr. G. C. Acharya gave conclusive remarks at the end.