The State of Uttrakhand comprises of two Divisions, Kumaon and Garhwal having 13 districts. The entire region is mountainous, except for a few valleys and tarai area in Nainital, Dehradun and Hardwar districts. The region on account of its topography, peculiar geographical feature and special problems forms a distinct socio-economic region as compared to the plains. Economically and industrially, the region is quite backward. Though, the whole economy of the region is based on agriculture, the total cultivable land is only 14 per cent of the total geographical area of the region. The hill region is rich in natural resources particularly in forests, minerals and surface water.
Ironically, the hill population is today no longer able to sustain itself at the level of self-sufficiency that was present over a hundred years ago. The support area is very much smaller and of poorer quality. The human and livestock population is larger, cultivation more widespread; fields are more fragmented and are on marginal lands, overgrazing persists as also over cutting of forests for fuel wood, fodder and timber. Reduction in the density of forest cover and overgrazing has led to soil erosion of unprecedented proportions. The land has not only depleted its productivity but has fragmented into smaller holdings. Land and water resources are becoming even scarce.
To develop scientifically improved technology for the improvement of agro-socio-economic conditions of the hill people the necessary research and development programs must be carried out in the hill region itself. This way the outcome of such work will be best suited to the agro-climatic condition of the hills. The establishment of Hill Campus at Ranicahuri in district Tehri Garhwal is the net outcome of this genuine thinking on the part of the State Government and G. B. Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar.
The College of Forestry and Hill Agriculture at Ranichauri was established on the basis of MOU between the Government of India and Government of Uttar Pradesh in 1972 (formally inaugurated in 1976). It has the major responsibility of generating technology in agriculture and allied fields for hilly areas. It also carries out programmes of human resource development, multidisciplinary researches and technology transfer suitable for hilly areas. The Campus became fully operational in 1983 after getting equipped with scientific manpower, and ever since significant strides have been made in crop production, crop improvement, plant protection, horticulture, vegetable science, forestry, animal science, medicinal and aromatic plant and various other associated disciplines.The Mandate:
Infrastructure at the Hill Campus:
Campus library supports education, research and extension activities at the Campus by way of its collection of useful books and journals, and technically processing them for its readership.
Campus library with its total collections of more than 12500 documents and Electronic Resources intimately supports Education, Research and Extension activities of the college.
Presently the collection stands at 8200 books, 985 special publications, over110 news letters, 2465 bound journals, 115 e-resources and important databases of research on Agriculture, Forestry and allied disciplines. The library subscribes to 105 journals in print and subscribes to prominent databases like CAB Abstract, Hort CD and Indian Forester. At the same time the library provides Current Awareness Service, Data base search of e-journals, Semester Loan facility for faculty member, Rental Book Scheme for students, Reprographic service and Press clipping on activities of G.B. Pant University. Besides, the library also provides access to DELNET (Developing Library Network) and J-Gate an electronic gateway for accessing e-journals with the help of university library.
The discipline equipped with modern equipment including automatic weather station undertakes work on crop weather relationships, characterization of climate and moisture conservation practices. Hill zone of U. P. has been characterized to be dry during post-monsoon season. Its frontal region receives more rainfall than the mid- and interior regions, on annual basis. Complete meteorological data for the past 15 years has been computerized and water balance calculations made. Crop weather relationship in different crops are in progress. Crop weather calendar for three vegetable crops have been developed. The discipline is connected through VSAT to supercomputer at Delhi and agrometeorological advisory bulletins are issued regularly.Agriculture Economics
The discipline draws its commitment to analyze investment, income and employment pattern in hill farming, and yield gap and constraint analysis in major hill crops. Economic analysis of high yielding varieties in different crops, apple production, off-season vegetables and mushroom production in hills is aimed. Commercial cultivation of crops with traditional practices, in general, was not found to be profitable with traditional practices. Socio-economic evaluation of Jagdhar village in the region has revealed 70% illiteracy with a higher female population than that of males. About 73.8% of the holdings were up to 1 ha which occupied only 46.4% of the total village area. The largest crop area was under wheat (28.6%) followed by rice (25.8 %). The average productivity of crops was quite low. Mushroom cultivation in the region was found to be climatically and economically feasible.Agricultural Engineering
Agriculture engineering extends its role in developing location specific technologies in the field of soil and water conservation and management, irrigation and drainage, hydrology etc., for diverse hill farming situations. It is deemed to fabricate efficient, durable and strong agricultural tools and implements for hill farmers. An ecologically sound and economically viable vegetative/ biological method has been successfully tested to stabilize and reclaim the landslide area,along the roadsides and towards posterior of houses. The method, which is cheaper than the conventional retaining stone walls, involves cutting and shaping the affected area at about 60 from horizontal, and subsequently placing grass sods on wet surface. As the availability of water for supplemental irrigation is a serious problem for hill farmers cheap and feasible method of rain-water harvesting and storage has been devised. Various efficient agricultural tools and implements have as well been designed and fabricated to cater to the local needs.Agronomy
The discipline is entrusted with the responsibility of developing suitable agrotechnology for rainfed conditions, identifying economic cropping sequences, and combating noxious weeds of the region. Considering the yield and rainfall pattern agronomic practices, including weed management for various rabi and kharif crops have been standardized. Work under two ICAR funded research projects, viz. study on the control of Oxalis sp. in U. P. hills, and integrated approach for optimizing the packages of practices for improving the yield level of uncommon pulses in U. P. hills has been completed and useful technologies evolved. The noxious weed Oxalis latifolia, can be best controlled by pre-emergence application of oxadizon (0.5kg/ha) in all the pulses, maize, rainfed rice, buckwheat and potato, and as pre-transplant application in all the transplanted vegetables and other crops. Similarly, Eupatorium adenophorum and Parthenium hysterophorus could best be controlled through the application of glycophosphate (0.5%).Animal Science
Surveying livestock status and determining nutritional status and prevalence of various diseases is on the prime agenda of the discipline. At the same time factors influencing poultry farming and angora rabbit rearing, and nutritional evaluation of local fodder species and methods on enriching animal feed are being worked out. Further information are synthesized on the contributions the draught animals make to hill agriculture. Over the years productivity of hill livestock has been assessed and problems identified. Infertility has been found to be major problem in hill livestock. Nineteen clinical camps have been organized to overcome the problem in addition to malnutrition and parasite control. Among angora rabbit breeds Soviet Chinchilla produced the largest litter size. Ibermectin and Fusox medicines were found most effective against coccidiosis in Angora rabbits. Mortality rates in broiler rabbit ranged from 19-26 per cent. Draught animals perform several secondary functions ranging from direct, visible contributions in terms of supplying physical items to less visible gains such as employment, income generation, farmers' security and companionship, sustaining livelihoods, and sustainability of farming system.Entomology
The discipline orients its services to the development of integrated pest control measures including cultural, chemical and biological control for eradication of white grub. Nevertheless, development of low cost and effective plant protection measures against important insect-pests of major hill crops is amongst the primary responsibilities. As one of the coordinating centers of AICRP on white -grub, the discipline has identified predominant species of white grub, their host range and different endemic pockets in the region. The recommendations for effective control of white grub have been formulated. Currently, biological control of the nefarious pest is being practiced and popularized.Forestry
Forests are one of the priceless natural resource in the Himalayan region. Research is primarily focused on evaluation of forest plant species for fuel, fodder and timber value, and standardization of nursery management techniques in different forest species. Further, determination of species composition, dry matter yield of some grazing land vegetation and their seasonal yield is carried out. Subsidiary research on standardization of optimum time of seed collection, effect of seed and plant parameters on germination rate, seedling survival in relation to environmental parameters in some forest species is also focused.Horticulture
The discipline, now a department, offers M.Sc.degree in Horticulture. Research priorities include identification of superior genotypes of temperate fruits, their genetic improvement, standardizing orchard management practices including high density orchards. Technology for commercial floriculture has also been developed. Promising fruit varieties of apple, peach, pear, apricot, plum and almond have been identified and recommended for commercial cultivation. New varieties that have been developed are: Apple, PRS-1; Pear, PRN 8103/1; Apricot, PRKH-1, PRKH-2; Plum, NPS-1; PRA, 8305/4; and Gladioli, PRG-1, PRG-2, PRG-3, PRG-4. Further, production technologies for inducing earliness in peaches and apple, improving storage in pear, and controlling gummosis in almond have been generated. Utility of local mulch material in improving the productivity and quality of different temperate fruits has been ascertained.Medicinal and Aromatic Plants
Medicinal and Aromatic plants are the rich wealth of Himalayan region. Research is focused on collection, evaluation and maintenance of important medicinal and aromatic plants of the region, standardization of their propagation and nursery management techniques. Efforts have also been at determining optimum time of oil recovery in lemon grass and evaluating oil yielding potential of different rose species. It has been discovered that natural reserves of the precious herbs are fast diminishing. Some of the endangered species from the region are: Atees, Jatamansi, Salam misri, Dolu or Arak, Somlata, Mirang, Mahamaida, Salam punja, and Pathar long. Nevertheless, suitable nursery raising practices of some of the important medicinal and aromatic plants have been standardized.Plant Breeding
Research is carried out on important hill crops including small millets and under utilized crops. The work involves collection and evaluation of genetic resources, development of high yielding, early maturing varieties for different agro-ecological situations, testing of segregating populations and advanced breeding material under international, national and zonal programs, popularization of varieties through front line demonstration and mini kits, and breeder seed production of improved varieties. New crops are introduced based on their potential. So far more than 10,000 germplasm lines have been evaluated for different characters and six varieties have been released: one each in foxtail millet (PRK1) and buckwheat (PRB1), and two each in grain amaranth (PRA1, PRA2) and rice bean (PRR1, PRR2). Based on zonal and multi location testing under hill conditions 10 varieties developed by the University at Pantnagar have been recommended.Plant Pathology
The discipline conducts basic and applied research on the prevalent plant disease problems of the region. It also render its services as an in-built component of various disciplines of crop, fruit and vegetable research. Amongst the areas which are being focused are: identification of the economically important disease problems of the region and devising their management strategies, screening for disease resistance, disease forecasting and monitoring, integrated disease management and pathogen population analysis. Apple scab disease was first recorded in U.P. hills in 1984, and spray schedule for the effective management of disease have been prescribed under an All India Coordinated Research Project on apple scab.
Emphasis is being made on developing need-based disease management strategy through disease forecasting, and reducing the use of chemicals by introducing bio-control strategies. Definite schedules for controlling diseases in cereals, fruits and vegetables have been evolved and/or tested. A cheap method for the mass production of bioagents under IPM has been evolved. Lately, molecular maker technology has been coupled with conventional plant pathology for effective management of menacing plant diseases.Plant Physiology
The discipline renders basic support to crop science research through screening of germplasm of hill crops particularly small millets for acid soils, aluminium toxicity, high photosynthetic efficiency, and thermosensitivity. While screening ragi genotypes for higher yield, yield attributing characteristics and higher photosynthesis, significant differences were observed between entries in photosynthesis rate, transpiration rate, stomal conductivity, and internal carbon dioxide concentration. It has been found that canopy temperature could be used as an indicator to identify segregating material with draught avoidance.Seed Science & Technology
The relatively new multidisciplinary department offers M.Sc. degree in seed science & technology. Research is focused on developing and standardizing seed production and seed health testing techniques in temperate fruits, vegetables and forest tree species. Special emphasis is being placed on developing maturity indices for harvesting best possible quality seeds of important timber species of the region. A summer school on 'Recent Advances in Forest Tree Seed Technology' is being organizedSoil Science
Soils in the region are highly heterogeneous with problems of acidity, low organic matter, low micro- and macro-elements, and insufficient microorganisms accounting for low soil fertility. The discipline is engaged in developing measures for soil and water conservation, amelioration of problem soils, pine litter degradation for utilization as manure, long term fertility management through cultural and biological management , and efficient utilization of phosphatic sources. As a significant achievement, nitrogen use efficiency of prilled urea has been improved by coating with 10% wt/wt or wt/vol coaltar, kerosine oil, chulu oil in crops like maize, fingermillet, and wheat. Seed inoculation of Aspergillus awamuri improved P use efficiency (11%) in fingermillet-wheat crop sequence with added 60kg ha-1 P2O5. Pine litter compost has been prepared with added (0.5%) inorganic and organic materials like urea, DAP, lime, biogas slurry, lime+urea+molasses and also litter degrading white rot basidiomycete (isolate PLF-8).Tissue culture
The technique of plant organ, tissue and cell culture is being used for the mass propagation of temperate nut fruits, forestry plants which are difficult to be propagated through conventional methods. Methods have been standardized for the in vitro propagation of chestnut, oak, strawberry and also chrysanthemum. A rapid single step method for in vitro propagation of cauliflower has been evolved. It was possible to have a clonal cauliflower plant population growing in field within 3 months of culture initiation. It is aimed to extend tissue culture coupled with shoot tip culture method to commercially propagate plants and free them from viruses.Vegetable Science
The department besides offering M.Sc. degree prioritizes its research on collection, evaluation and maintenance of germplasm of vegetable crops with emphasis on off-spring vegetables. Standardization of packages of practices for important vegetable crops like potato, peas, cauliflower, cabbage, carrot etc. are researched. Zonal and national breeding entries are tested for their suitability to various agroclimates, and methods of seed production technology in temperate vegetables are evolved. Over the years, collection and evaluation of germplasm and varietal testing of major vegetable crops has been accomplished. Nucleus seed of major vegetable is also produced commercially. Hybrids developed in cabbage and capsicum have been proved much superior over the standard cultivars in the two vegetable crops.
Research Projects in Operation:
All India Coordinated Research Projects
National Agriculture Technical Projects (NATP):
Department of Science & Technology Projects (DST):
The college offers a four-year Bachelor's degree programme in Forestry to generate trained technical manpower in forest resource management and environmental protection. The distinguishing feature of the degree programme are nursery management, planting techniques for better survival and growth of different forest species, management of silvicultural and agroforestry systems, utilization of different area of 188 ha is at the disposal of the college that is being used by the students for gaining practical experience on forest management.
Besides imparting theoretical knowledge, the students are exposed to the problems of forest improvement and use of forest products by arranging study tours to different reserve forests and forest based industries. Presently, undergraduate program in Forestry with annual intake of 18 students and specialization in Forest Management and Utilization is being run.
In addition the college offers two year Master's degree programmes in Horticulture, Seed Science & Technology and Vegetable Science.
The curricula of the degree and post-graduate programme mainly concentrate on sound scientific knowledge followed by practical training. Plans for initiating post-graduate degree programme in Watershed Management are under active consideration of the University/ State Government.
Till date 132 students have passed out B.Sc (Forestry) degree programme. In Post graduation,
92 students completed their degree.
Post Graduate Level Courses:
The Campus works in close collaboration with State extension departments and NGOs for transfer of technology. Training to farmers, farm women and developmental agencies, and demonstrations at farmers' field are primarily conducted through Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK). Kisan mela, Kisan diwas, exhibitions, seminars, gosthies, etc., are also organized from time to time.
Farm literature is necessarily developed and distributed. A biannual farm magazine 'Pahari Kheti-Bari' focused exclusively to Hill Agriculture is also published from the Campus.
A help line service for the benefit of the hill farmers has also been established.
The KVK at the campus organizes vocational training programs in agriculture and allied enterprises, on-farm testing in crop production, horticulture, livestock production and fisheries, frontline demonstrations on major cereal crops, oilseeds and pulses and other enterprises related to agriculture, and in-service training to field level extension officials.
The KVK also implements the pilot project on Technology Assessment and Refinement through Institution-Village Linkage (IVLP). Representatives from 750 villages have been trained on various agricultural skills under Scientist- Farmer Interaction programme. Series of demonstrations such as front line demonstration in oilseeds, demonstrations under lab-to-land program, wheat varietal demonstrations, vegetable production potential demonstrations, etc., have been conducted and the farm families of the nearby villages benefited were no less than 200. While the farmers witnessed an appreciable 42-55% yield increase in oilseed and wheat simply by replacing the local cultivars, vegetable production was even more enthusing. Naturally, quantitative preference is edging out flavor in vegetable production - overriding the belief that cultivation of vegetable crops is much troublesome and equally expensive.
A biannual feature at the Campus, the kharif and rabi ZREAC meetings is held to review the progress of research and extension at zonal level and to formulate research and extension program for the next season. In the meetings, scientists engaged in different research stations/ institutes in U.P. hills, extension personnel including SMSs of the university in the zone, senior scientists from the main campus, representatives of the developmental departments, social workers and progressive farmers participate.Plant Disease Clinic
Plant disease diagnostic clinic exists as a part of the plant pathology laboratory. The institution of the plant disease clinic arose from a perceived need for an organized, systematic, and professional effort to assist in the identification of plant disease problems being faced by the farmers, and government and non-government department personnel of the region. Free service is rendered in the identification of the plant disease situations and offering recommendations for their management. Samples are received in person as well as by post.Computer Center-cum-ARIS Cell
The college has a computer center equipped with most modern Pentium computers, scanners, printers including coloured printing facilities and most recent software. Facility for e-mail exists.Farmer Advisory Service
National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, New Delhi provides three day forecast for the region. Based on weather forecast agro advisory bulletins are prepared for farmers.