Koppal: The agricultural university proposed in Gangavathi taluk in Koppal district has raised hopes of better times among the farming community in Kalyana Karnataka. With agriculture minister BC Patil striking a positive note of setting up the varsity in Koppal, farmers and stakeholders in the education sector in Kalyana Karnataka, a region that has just the one agricultural university in Raichur district.
Gangavathi, known as the ‘Rice Bowl’ of Karnataka, is an ideal place for the setting up of an agriculture university, and farmers and other stakeholders are expecting research into varieties of paddy helping improve harvest and yield. There is also hope technology playing a larger role in agriculture in the region once the varsity becomes a reality.
President of Karatagi Rice Millers’ Association N Srinivasa said that, while there would be no direct benefits that the agrarian community would derive from the varsity, its presence in the region would have much impact, albeit tangentially. “For example, the Sona 5204 breed of rice is original but many other strains of rice have been derived from this particular type of grain. Consumers, however, do not find these other varieties very suitable for cooking. Such feedback often results in farmers incurring losses. If researchers at the varsity can focus on such issues, it would help maintain uniformity, which will, in turn, help increase demand both nationally and globally,” Srinivasa said.
Scientist at Agricultural Research Station in Kalaburagi Mallikarjun Kanganal, who has previously worked in Koppal, said, “The district currently houses a Krishi Vignan Kendra and Parry Research Station in Gangavathi. But there is no scope for education in agriculture in the district. Students either have to go to Raichur or Dharwad, both of which are 180 to 200km far off. An agricultural university in Koppal will help expand the scope of education for the next generation. In Koppal, barring Gangavathi, the remaining three taluks are rain-fed. Once the varsity is set up, it will house 30 to 40 scientists. The varsity will help boost education, agriculture and economy,” said Kangnagal, pointing to the need for more agricultural varsities in Kalyana Karnataka.
Former gram panchayat member in Danappur Shafi Hebbal Makandar lamented farmers in the region being taken advantage of by merchants and representatives from fertiliser companies. “Intervention from experts in agriculture will help them stay informed. Since most of the region is rain-fed and only partially irrigated, this is an ideal place for the setting up of an agriculture university,” he added.
Basavaraj Karishetti, a teacher and farmer in Marali village, rued the stagnation of the agricultural sector in Kalyana Karnataka. “The quality of soil in declining. New research and technology will energise the sector and the eminence of the ‘Rice Bowl’ will grow further,” said Karishetti, hoping that there would be no delay in the setting up of the varsity since the Koppal district in-charge minister BC Patil was also the agriculture minister.