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Enthusiasm sets tone during first international short course:

Protected agriculture gains popularity in India

While currently still modest, India has a lot of potential to advance its protected agriculture industry. This also became clear during a recent Greenhouse Technical Management course that was given in Pune to an enthusiastic group of students last week.



A group of 35 attendees traveled from all over India, Singapore, China, UAE, Japan and Zimbabwe to attend the course that was tutored by Australian greenhouse consultants Graeme Smith and Rick Donnan. Together with their Indian host Uday Mathapati of Delish Veggies, they prepared a 5 day event that was packed with in-depth training to understand the theoretical and practical elements of modern greenhouse protected cropping and hydroponic production techniques.



The training began with a traditional Lamp Lighting Ceremony. "The oil represents negative human tendencies, the wick is the human ego and the flame is the knowledge that drains the oil or innate tendencies as it burns and destroys the wick. This according to Indian spiritualists, represents the cosmic force or divine light and leads to abundance and prosperity in Indian horticulture through enhanced knowledge. A great array of typical tasty Indian foods and drinks were provided for lunch, morning and afternoon tea with an excellent presentation that was ably delivered by our Indian host training partner, Mr Uday Mathapati of ‘Delish Veggies’ who worked for many months on this project to ensure its success. We are very much appreciative of this support by Uday and his team."

Theory workbook

A lot of theory was covered in the presentations of Graeme and Rick. Each of the 35 students received a workbook of over 200 pages and a supplementary booklet of 30 full size pages of charts and diagrams on the discussed topics. 

The training week also included field trips to two greenhouse operations outside of Pune. "Here the students underwent practical training by measuring plant temperature and light transmission characteristics in the greenhouse to demonstrate impacts on plant growth rates, quality, photosynthesis and transpiration rates", explained Graeme.



The consultant furthermore commented that the event was a very welcome addition to the current offer of horticultural studies.

"We had a room full of an enthusiastic and appreciative audience who are typically used to poor quality training. They were surprised to receive such high quality information that they asked if we could extend the course by a day or two. Some of them even indicated that they wanted to come to the next event as they enjoyed it so much."

Formation of national representative group

While still small, the Indian protected cropping industry is showing strong signs that it is on the cusp of rapid advancement and development. Graeme explained that this is "due to common drivers of climate, weather, water, food security and safety, product quality and reliability of supply".

Therefore a night workshop was held to discuss ways to encourage the formation of a national representative group to support all industry players. "To improve their growing skills, grow their impact and influence in the market system and work cooperatively in building a bigger and stronger industry."



Next opportunity for training course

For those who missed the first edition of this training course there is good news, because the organizers are thinking about returning to India with their training course in the future, but a date and location has not been set yet. "We had a great time delivering the course, made many new friends and were satisfied to witness the thirst for knowledge to improve by all participants and cannot wait until the next opportunity to train in India.

For those who are interested in the training courses, you might be interested to gather more information on a similar series of training courses that Graeme Smith Consulting will deliver in Australia in 2017. Please contact Greame Smith Consulting at graeme@graemesmithconsulting.com  for more information.

Publication date: 3/13/2017

 


 

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