After 16 months, training prog for farmers resumes

KOLKATA: After a gap of 16 months, West Bengal State Agricultural Marketing Board (WBSAMB) has started its farmers' training programme in virtual mode from August. The training programme of the Board had come to a halt since March 2020.

"We are providing training to 40 farmers (Monday to Friday) in two batches – during morning and evening in virtual mode. The farmers' are joining through their smartphones and things are working well," a senior Board official said.

Earlier when the training was conducted in physical mode, 30 farmers joined the programme at a time. "We have developed the network to increase the number of trainees in virtual mode and this will gradually make up for the loss that was forced due to COVID,"added the official.

He maintained that field level monitoring for providing post training assistance to the farmers after completion of their training was ensured by the Board so that the beneficiaries face no difficulty.

The Board was however able to start training of its own personnel in different parts of the state through virtual mode from January which went on till March.

However, the general elections and then the spurt in COVID cases stalled the training completely. The Board officials are also trained so that they are equipped to train the farmers.

The training programme is offered by the Board at Netaji Subhash Agricultural Marketing Training Institute (NSTIAM) at Baidyabati in Hooghly. It is to motivate the next generation farmers towards market-driven production mechanisms to increase the unit share of the produce in the consumer's price.

The training involves imparting knowledge on scientific preservation, post harvest management and value addition through practical orientation.

Since 2011, the Board has trained 9540 farmers and around 6200 were trained in the last five years. During the fiscal 2019-20, 2341 trainees were trained in 103 batches.

At least 15 different types of training were conducted with the introduction of four new types of training.

It has been the highest in any financial year in the history of NSTIAM.

The average income of the farmers trained during the period from April'19 to Mar'20, has been Rs 8,689 per month.

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