Junagam is one of the eight villages in the Hazira belt of Surat district in Gujarat. Eighty percent of the villagers undertake vegetable cultivation and dairy farming. The farmers use the best vegetable seeds available in the market. However, there is usually a knowledge gap on various aspects such as sowing, application of fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation that results in low yield and production loss.
This is where Essar Foundation and Essar Steel Hazira’s horticulture team stepped in. The team conducted an awareness program on advanced cultivation techniques in the village. Mr Madhavjibhai Savalia from Krishi Kranti Kendra
, a Valsad-based NGO involved in the agriculture sector, was the resource person. Around 65 local vegetable farmers, most of them women, attended the program.
Integrated pest management techniques like bio traps and sticky pads were discussed. Other topics covered included selection of improved seeds, land development for vegetable cultivation, schedule for application of fertilizers and pesticides, and the use of micronutrients to induce flowering and fruiting in vegetables.
Mr Savalia answered the participants' queries on plant diseases, types of pesticides and application of fertilizers. The farmers were also given improved varieties of cucumber and cowpea seeds as well as sticky pads. Essar plans to take this program to other villages in the future.