IIT-ISM joins hands with BAU to empower farmers in Gopalpur village

Dhanbad: A team of professors from the Indian Institute of Technology, Indian School of Mines— IIT-ISM has spent the better part of the last year and a half in the outlying villages of Jamtara, working to improve the economic situation of the scheduled tribes living there through targeted interventions.

Farmers in the outlying Gopalpur village of Jamtara will now benefit from the combined efforts of this dedicated group and specialists from Ranchi’s Birsa Agricultural University in the areas of agricultural techniques, soil health, and crop management.

The training program was organized at the behest of the local Mukhiya, Suraj Hembram, and took place at the Gopalpur Panchayat Bhavan. This initiative is part of a Department of Science and Technology Project titled “Improving the economic well-being of scheduled tribe communities using game theoretic and operations research techniques.”

The training program commenced at approximately 11 a.m., with Professor BK Agarwal, an expert in soil chemistry from Birsa Agriculture University, and Professor MK Barnwal, specializing in Plant Pathology from the same institute, leading the sessions. They provided valuable insights into soil quality, texture, soil health cards, plant diseases, and strategies for enhancing crop yields.

The training also covered topics such as the use of fertilizers to improve crop productivity, the importance of seed quality, and income generation through effective cropping systems.

Professor Rashmi Singh, the Principal Investigator of the project, and Professor Niladri Das, the Co-Principal Investigator, spearheaded the IIT (ISM) team’s efforts during the training program. They were accompanied by a team of dedicated research scholars, including Sumita, Asha, Kalyani, Roushan, Asha Hembrom, Virendra Kisku, Md Shahnawaz, and Pritia, all contributing their expertise as part of the project team.

Professor Rashmi explained that the request for organizing this training program was made by the village’s Mukhiya during a previous workshop conducted by the IIT (ISM) team on October 27.

During that visit, the team observed that despite the presence of the river Ajay flowing through the village, the irrigation facilities were inadequate.

In response, the team addressed the villagers’ needs by providing knowledge about crops that thrive with minimal water requirements and introduced them to drip irrigation methods, which can significantly reduce water usage.

Suraj Hembram, Mukhiya of Gopalpur, expressed his gratitude for the training, emphasizing how it has greatly benefited the village farmers. He highlighted that the session not only covered topics related to soil quality, texture, and seed quality but also introduced the concept of soil health cards, which help determine the current state of soil health.

Professor Rashmi Singh emphasized that the project, initiated last year, has seen IIT-ISM conducting several workshops in various villages across Jamtara district. The primary objective is to encourage farmers to evolve into farm-based entrepreneurs, with the only major hurdle being the initial capital required to start entrepreneurial activities.

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