IPM cumin holds great potential to boost smallholder farmers’ income

DBT-SABC Biotech KISAN hub for western dry region kicks start Rabi 2020 mega farm demonstrations cum training program for smallholder seed spices farmers of Barmer

Barmer: DBT-SABC Biotech Kisan Hub for the Western dry region and the Spices Board of India organized an intensive training program “On farm training program of cumin growing farmers” at Barmer’s most backward village Asadi Sindhiyan on 31 Oct 2020. Around 100 farmers in cumin growing areas of Girab-Asadi-Jhinjhinyali, nearing the India-Pakistan border area were trained to adopt IPM based package of practices, use of biologicals & sticky traps to control insect pests such as aphids & thrips. Aggregators and exporters were invited to ensure buy-back at remunerative prices to farmer growing IPM based cumin in Barmer region of Western Rajasthan.
Barmer grows cumin on 1,71,482 hectares in 2019-20 or approx. 25% of total cumin area of 6,76,240 hectares in Rajasthan. In the recent year, Barmer has emerged as a major cultivator of cumin in India. Other districts growing cumin included Jodhpur at 1,68,050 hectares, Jalore at 1,27,564 hectares, Jaisalmer at 87,046 hectares, Nagaur at 72,815 hectares followed by Bikaner, Ajmer, Pali and Sirohi. Despite highest area under cumin cultivation, Barmer produces only 77,704 tons of cumin with an average yield of less than 500 kg per hectare – lowest in the Western region.
The Girab-Asadi-Jhinjhinyali, nearing India Pakistan border is an epicentre of cumin production in Barmer district of Rajasthan. Notably, the integrated pest management or IPM cumin is becoming popular among smallholder farmers which fetches almost 10% higher market prices and is being procured from farm gate by aggregators and exporters.
In order to intensify “IPM cumin” production system in Barmer, the DBT-SABC Biotech Kisan hub in collaboration with the Spice Board of India and ICAR-NRCSS have reached out to smallholder farmers of Barmer region with modern tools and techniques to increase quality cumin production.
“IPM cumin” is the future of cumin farming in Barmer. Farmers were struggling to manage insect pests such as aphids and thrips with current production practices. As a part of DBT-SABC biotech Kisan hub, we have introduced a new concept of managing pests with proper use of yellow and blue Sticky trips, biological and botanical, said Dr Bhagirath Choudhary of the DBT-SABC Biotech Kisan hub and Board member of APEDA, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Govt of India.
Dr Shrishail Kulloli of the Spices Board of India has laid emphasis on backward integration and buy back arrangement to increase price realization of IPM cumin produced from Barmer region. The Spices Board of India is proactively collaborating with DBT-SABC Biotech Kisan hub, ICAR-NRCSS and State Agriculture Department to increase farmers income in Barmer region, said Dr Shrishail Kulloli, Incharge of Rajasthan region of the Spices Board of India.
The DBT-SABC Biotech Kisan hub and the Spices Board of India have released the Hindi poster of IPM cumin production system with simple step-by-step methods, demonstrated the utility of yellow and sticky traps and timely use of biological and botanicals to deal with biotic stresses in cumin production. The DBT-SABC Biotech Kisan hub project also distributed sticky traps, biological and botanicals to farmers and planted farm demonstration to showcase IPM cumin production system at the field of farmer Suresh Kumar of Jhinjhinyali of Barmer district.
Others participating in the program including Sarpanch of Asadi Sindhiyan, ex-sarpanch of Jhinjhinyali, gram sevak and farmers of Asadi, Girab and Jhinjhinyali, representatives of South Asia Biotechnology Centre, Jodhpur and PJM Export, Sheo, Barmer.