Krishi Vasant - a learning experience for SBI-CAIM

The Government of Maharashtra, in collaboration with the Government of India, organised Krishi Vasant 2014, to celebrate the contribution of farmers to the country's economy. A large number of farmers and other stakeholders from all over the country congregated at Nagpur for this event.  More than 650,000 farmers attended the five-day event.

This national fair focused on high-yielding varieties of crops, horticulture and floriculture, beekeeping, mushroom production, sericulture, medicinal and aromatic plants, seeds and planting material, farm mechanisation and plant protection, agro chemicals (fertilisers, micro nutrients, pesticides, plant growth regulators), irrigation and water management, storage, warehousing, cold store and cold chain, livestock and dairy farming, poultry and fisheries, and market and trade promotions. All agricultural components were made accessible under one roof, and there were more than 300 live demonstrations of different crops, animals, birds and fish, along with intensive interactions between scientists and farmers in many regional languages.

Eight hundred stalls displayed and disseminated new interventions in agriculture. The Trusts' Sukhi Baliraja Initiative (SBI) and the Maharashtra government's Convergence of Agricultural Interventions in Maharashtra (CAIM) considered the platform a great opportunity to showcase the good work done by the Trusts through SBI-CAIM, and to disseminate valuable information. Therefore, they set up a stall with a recharge pit model, flexes, leaflets and booklets about integrated pest management (IPM), rainwater harvesting , microfinance and marketing. Producer companies (PC) supported by SBI-CAIM also showcased their work through the Trusts' stall. The Producer Groups engaged in the production of tur dal and turmeric powder also displayed their products at the stall.

Approximately 30,000 farmers visited the SBI-CAIM stall. Most of them were curious about the recharge pit model and IPM techniques promoted by SBI-CAIM. They also wanted to know more about the functionality of PCs. This allowed SBI-CAIM to showcase the marketing activities carried out through the four PCs. The event, which was a huge learning experience for the SBI-CAIM team, established linkages between private players and PCs. Some of the players who expressed their interest were Indian Potash Ltd. for fertiliser supply, IFFCO for guar gum contract farming, ADM for soy bean purchase, National Collateral Management Services Ltd. for commodity storage facility and NCDEX Spot Exchange for online commodity sales. The most important outcome of this fair was the curiosity of the farmers about the new agricultural interventions.

Government departments and big private players interact directly with farmers on a daily basis but for SBI-CAIM, the interaction is limited to its beneficiaries. This fair opened the gates for interaction with farmers from across the country, and allowed the dissemination of diverse agricultural practices from all over.