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Vocational training programme for rural youths

R. Rajaram

On operating and maintaining tractors and power tillers

PUDUKOTTAI: Farm machineries have become an integral part in agricultural operations today, increasing the productivity of land and labour besides improving the quality of farm operations. The unavailability of labour and the drive to enhance productivity has prompted the farming community to rely on farm machines realising its benefits in increasing work output with lesser effort.

Prominent among them is the popular tractor, a major source of farm power nowadays in rural areas. Tractors are fast replacing bullocks in rural India, with farmers depending mainly on them to till land and perform other farm-related activities.

Though the farm tractor vehicle population has risen over the years there is a shortage of technically sound professional drivers and operators to operate the farm tractors and power tillers in rural areas. Further, there is also a lack of technical skill in villages required for the periodic maintenance of these machines forcing farmers to head to urban areas in search of mechanics or even sell their tractors when left with no other option.

Hands-on training

Realising this problem faced by agriculturists, the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) at Vamban in Pudukottai district thought it fit to organise a hands-on vocational training programme for rural youths on "operating and maintaining tractors and power tillers." The month-long training programme, which is currently underway, will conclude on December 23.

This is the first time that the KVK is organising a training programme on operation and maintenance of farm machines with the rural youth as the target.

During the course of the hands-on training the select participants would be provided technical knowledge of tractors, power tillers and their components, its maintenance, servicing of components, and dismantling and assembling of components, besides operation of tractors and tillers with matching implements.

The training (theoretical and practical) is being imparted to 15 persons by two agricultural engineers attached with the KVK at Vamban.

The crash course programme has been fully sponsored by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. There is an evaluation done every week to ascertain the knowledge gained by the participating youth.

As part of the programme, the participants would be taken to the Farm Machinery Workshop at TNAU in Coimbatore where the trainees would be exposed to hands-on training in dismantling and assembling of components.

The training is of `driving by doing' type rather than `learning by doing' as followed in other techniques in agriculture, said Dr. SP. Ramanathan, Associate Professor and Head, KVK, Vamban. The trainees would be taught to drive the vehicles and to operate them in field conditions.

`Critical training'

It is a `critical training,' which would not only enable the participants to operate and maintain the machines in the rural areas but also create self-employment opportunities for them, he added. KVK plans to conduct a similar programme for another batch in January going by the good response to this programme.

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