Agri University for farmers w/o age, qualification bar
The country's first and only private open agriculture university, which began functioning here in January this year, has opened its doors for farmers offering them courses without any age bar and qualification restriction.
"Our syllabus and curriculm are entirely different than other universities and are innovative. We are conducting classes on out-demonstration farms near here in Katol and the response is good," chancellor of Arvind Agricultural (Open and Virtual) University, Dr Mukund Gaikwad said.
The Arvind Agriculture Open and Virtual University will use high-technology involving experts of various agro-produce in the world for sharing their experiences and teaching farmers directly here in virtual classrooms, he said.
The widely travelled chancellor said it will tie up with leading agriculture universities for knowledge transfer and field visits.
He said that marketing, one of the basic bottlenecks in agriculture, is being addressed by the university.
"This summer we have started with exporting 700 tonnes of mango from Western Maharashtra. Now, plans are afoot to help Vidarbha farmers by exporting vegetables from this region. As a pilot project we have been growing vegetables at our demonstration field at Wadvihira in Katol (Nagpur rural). We plan to export 500 tonnes of vegetables," he said.
"Farmers of Vidarbha need to take up innovative measures like diversifying to vegetables and pulses besides cash crops like cotton and soyabean to increase their income. Only if they do this, the economic distress that has led to the suicide crisis can be resolved," Gaikwad said.
Arvind University aims at a paradigm shift in farm education by offering tailor-made courses and thats why we have chalked out 50 courses that would range from a daylong workshop to four-year Ratna without any bar for age or qualification, he added.