Bio-interventions for Sustainable Livelihood Generation

End-to-end Demonstration on Cultivation & Processing of Aromatic Crops

The end-to-end demonstration project for sustainable livelihood generation through cultivation and processing of aromatic crops was taken up by PSCST in Dhar block of Pathankot district in Kandi area  with the support of Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India. The project was initiated in collaboration with Kelkar’s Science Research Centre, Regional Research Station of PAU and Unati Cooperative Marketing-cum-Processing Society and got completed in September, 2016. The work activities carried out under the project were as below:

  • Extension of Cultivation at Farmers’ fields
    The cultivation of selected elite varieties of aromatic crops viz. Lemongrass (Cymbopogonflexuosus),Citronella (Cymbopogonwinterianus) & Palmarosa (Cymbopogonmartinii) was carried out at approx 27 acre area (21 acres survived) at farmers’ fields in villages Phaguli, Jungath & Durang Khad of Dhar Block. The total area brought under cultivation under aromatic crops in phased manner was 53 acres under the project.

  • Monitoring of established Aromatic Crop Fields: 
    The regular on-site monitoring was carried out for successful establishment of aromatic crops at farmers’ fields in villages Bhangoori, Roug, Dhar Khurad, Jungath, Bhabbar, Phaguli, Durang Khad. Farmers were provided complete hand-holding on cultivation and harvesting operations viz. field preparation, transplantation of aromatic slips, farm chemical inputs (time & method), spacing, irrigation, deweeding, gap filling, bio-resource harvesting, drying, collection and transportation to unit site for distillation. 

  • Standardization of Agro-technologies under local agro-climatic conditions
    The agronomic research trials to optimize technologies for cultivation of five aromatic crops viz. Lemongrass (C. flexuosus); Citronella (C. winterianus), Palmarosa (C. martinii), Patchouli (Pogostemoncablin) & Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) under local climatic conditions were completed by RRS of PAU at Gurdaspur based on the protocols standardized by KSRC. 

  • Setting up of Steam Distillation Unit for large scale distillation of Essential Oil
    Besides two farm scale distillation units set up earlier in villages Roug & Jungath, third farm distillation unit (Steam Distillation) was set up in village Phaguliat adopted farmer’s field for processing aromatic crops for extraction of essential oil. The unit was made operational under the technical guidance & supervision of experts from KSRC, Mumbai. The farmers were trained on various operational aspects of distillation like loading & unloading of biomass in reactor vessel, maintenance of temperature & steam pressure in reactor vessel & water level in boiler, harvesting of essential oil etc.  Adopted farmers were able to process about 215 & 295 liters of essential oil for which, the marketing was provided through Unati Cooperative Marketing-cum-Processing Society. 

  • Capacity Building Programs& outreach to local Community
    Eight awareness programs and 23 Hands-on training programs were conducted to sensitize farmers of the region on potential and economic benefits of aromatic crop cultivation as well as demonstration of land preparation, application of farm inputs, nursery raising etc. respectively for adopted farmers. 


Mulberry Sericulture

The scientific & systematic mulberry sericulture technology is being promoted in Dhar block of District Pathankot in collaboration with Central Silk Board and Department of Sericulture, Govt. of Punjab. This initiative has been taken under SARTHI (Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Transformation Holistic Initiative) program supported by DST, GOI. The work activities taken up include:

  • Selection of Project-site & Beneficiaries: Scouting of villages of Dhar Block was conducted and 16 villages from 3 Clusters viz. Bhatwan, Sarti & Langera were adopted.  Awareness programs were organized in these villages to sensitize farmers on viability & economic benefits of mulberry sericulture. 50 farmers from these villages keen to take up sericulture as entrepreneurial activity were adopted.

  • Hands-on-Training Programs: Adopted farmers were trained on complete technology operations viz. rearing of chawki silkworms & adult larvae, cocoon production, its harvesting and drying.  

  • Establishment of Mulberry Plantation: Mulberry plantation (high yield varieties) was established on bunds/border of agricultural fields (0.5 acre each) of adopted beneficiaries. The support was provided in terms of planting material (300 mulberry saplings per farmer) and start-up tool kit. The farmers were trained on cultivation & management operations of mulberry plantation.

  • Seed Procurement, Distribution, Rearing of silk-worms and Marketing: The quality commercial seeds (bivoltine F1 hybrid variety) sourced from National Silkworm Seed Organization, Dehradun were reared at chawki rearing centers of Sericulture Department at Bhatwan and Sarti. The worms were distributed to 50 adopted farmers (50 -100 dfls per farmer) for undertaking adult silkworm rearing.  The marketing linkages were provided for cocoon produced by the adopted farmers. The entire process was monitored in collaboration with Sericulture Department.


Natural Vinegar Production

Since, Natural Vinegar prepared from fruits has immense potential due to nutritive and medicinal properties compared to synthetic vinegar, its production technology from grapes & sugarcane was developed and scaled up under a previous initiative taken by PSCST in collaboration with Department of Microbiology, Punjab Agriculture University. The following activities were taken up under SARTHI program to promote the technology as part-time entrepreneurial activity amongst rural women/marginal farmers:

  • Organization of Awareness Programs: Ten awareness programs on potential benefits and economics of natural vinegar production were organized in villages Haibowal, Sihwan, Handwal, Ojewal, Sekhowal, Behdariya, Fatehpur, Nila Nloya, Ramghar of Distt. Hoshiarpur and Nurpur Bedi of Distt. Ropar.  About 500 beneficiaries were sensitized in these programs.  

  • Technology Demonstration: 9 Hands-on training programs on complete technology protocol viz. preparation of starter microbial cultures, inoculum & solution preparations, technology protocol for two step fermentation process, handling of hydrometer, harvesting & recovery of vinegar, bottling, pasteurization etc. was organized for farming community, members self help groups who showed willingness to adopt the technology. The starter culture sets were provided to these beneficiaries for initiating the production at domestic level.

  • Technology Refinement: Research & development studies pertaining to optimization of technology for production of natural vinegar from other locally available resources of Kandi area viz. amla and guava are underway at PAU, Ludhiana. Further, studies on development of cost effective fermentors for use during vinegar production is also underway.


Value-addition of local bioresources using low cost poly-house solar dryer

The kandi area has abundance of natural bioresources which are currently being dried conventionally in open sun by local population. The poly house solar drying, an upcoming scientific approach, is being promoted over open sun drying as it is efficient process which can lead to better quality of produce. The works carried out include:

  • Survey of bioresource abundance in kandi area: Scouting of all the villages (77 No.)  of Talwara block was conducted and survey on structured proforma carried out for assessment of available bioresources in these areas. 

  •  Setting up of poly house demonstration unit in adopted cluster: A demonstration unit of Forced Circulation Poly House Dryer has been set up at Talwara as per technical design & specification finalized in consultation with School of Energy Studies for Agriculture, PAU.

  • Capacity Building & Awareness Program: 5 awareness programs were organized in different villages of Talwara block, about 200 beneficiaries sensitized regarding drying of natural bio-resources using solar dryer.

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