Management and Propagation of Fruits Plants Training for Extension Staff

Integrated Horticulture Promotion Project (JICA) based at ARDC, Bajo conducted two days hand-on-training for the Agriculture extension staffs of West-Central region on 2nd and 3rd March, 2017. The main objective of training was to enhance the propagation and orchard management skills and capacity of the field staffs. The training was attended by 12 extension staff of Punakha, Wangdue, Dagana and Gasa dzongkhags with the expectation that the knowledge and skills gained from the training will be put into action, ultimately contributing in rural household income through generating horticulture cultivation in the villages.

The mode of training was a mix of both in-house lectures and more on practical in the field provided by JICA experts and assisted by horticulture sector. In the morning session of the first day, the JICA experts briefed on the importance of proper planning, site selection and management while establishing orchard to maximize the quality harvest benefit. The participants were also given insights on the important of citrus greening diseases (HLB) and choices of specific varieties according to altitude to avoid disease prevalence. In the afternoon, the participants visited the on-station field activities in the center and explored on handling grafting tools, various grafting/budding techniques of deciduous fruit tree such as walnut and kiwi, training and pruning of the young pear fruit plants.

Subsequently, in the second day, the participants were provided hands-on-training in the field on top-working, training and pruning of fruit trees. To make the training program realistic, the participants were trained to do top-working on apple trees which was planted long time back but failed to bear fruits. As per the experts’ observation, the failure was mainly due to choice of wrong variety and improper planning. The participants were also taught on pruning techniques and training of older pear trees along with the parameters that need to be considered while pruning and training. The participants have also learnt to identify and select the viable buds such as the fruit bud and flush bud while pruning.

The participants realized that the two days training was timely, very informative and practical. The training had definitely contributed in enhancing the knowledge and skills of Extension Staff which will ultimately support the livelihood of rural communities since horticulture product are major cash income source of the farmers in the region.