System of Crop Intensification Method Proves More Profitable for Marginal Farmers of Rayagad, Odisha
Smt. Alamati Praska, is an inhabitant of Chichimi village, located in Sikarpai gram panchayat of K.Singpur block of Rayagada district of Odisha. She is a 40 year old widow and lives with 2 other family members. She owns 3 acres of upland and her primary occupation is agriculture. She had been farming for the past 20 years, using the limited indigenous knowledge. She usually cultivates paddy, millets, pulses (black gram, pigeon pea) and vegetables in the uplands, sand mixed red soil.
Local communities in the dry region of the Rayagada district predominantly practice low productive, rain-fed agriculture. The district has very poor irrigation facilities and infrastructure, and crop productivity is also very low. The situation in districts like Rayagada is even worse with approximately 87% of the tribes is in below the poverty line.
About Our Intervention
In the above scenario Nirman with help of NFI – THF project intervened at Chichimi village in the year 2016 to restore the eroding indigenous farming practices and crop varieties through promotion of mixed, bio-diverse, improved crop production techniques such as the system of rice intensification (SRI) and system of crop intensification (SCI) and sustainable agriculture practices. As a part of the intervention, series of awareness and training camps for small and marginal farmers on sustainable agriculture practices were organised. During one of the awareness cum training camps, Smt. Praska learnt about the SRI and millet-based mixed farming systems. She continued participation in the following on-field training-cum-demonstration program, in which she underwent the observation-cum-on-hand-practice which provided her both the theoretical and practical knowledge of the different components of SRI. She has learned also about the organic manure and farmyard manure preparation techniques at the training sessions. As the follow up activities the household level crop planning activity was also conducted.
Impact of the Project
Prior to the intervention, Smt. Praska, cultivated only few varieties of vegetables during the kharif season, but this year, 2016 she added finger millets and pigeon pea to the kharif vegetable crop. She cultivated finger millet (Ragi) in 0.5 acres of land, applying the knowledge she acquired on crop improvement techniques through the training programmes. During the current cropping season, she has done seed treatment of the finger millets before raising the nursery, transplanted the seedlings on the main field through line sowing method, performed timely weeding and applied also organic manure with support of the community resource person, appointed by Nirman. She had been provided with the mandva weeder for weed management and also a 20 liters plastic container under THF-NFI project support for the preparation of liquid manure. Previously she harvested only 2 qunitals of finger millet from 0.5 acres land but this year she harvested 4 quintals from the same land. With increase in harvest she has earned an additional income of INR 3000/- from her 0.5 acres land this year.
Smt. Praska says-“if small and marginal farmers’ could cultivate crops by applying the proper methods, then they are never left vulnerable or struggle for survival. The income returns from millets grown in combination with pulses (pigeon pea) fills pleasure in my family, which will provide economic strength to my family.”