Farmers in the tribal pockets of Dangs largely depend upon paddy for their consumption needs. Food security is a major issue because of small land holdings and low rice productivity. Efforts to push productivity frontiers need to start with the main staple crop. The current productivity level of paddy in Dangs is 0.6-1.0 MT per ha against the state average of 1.86 MT per ha. Thus there exists a vast scope to enhance productivity of Paddy crop to prolong the period of food security and enhance wellbeing in poorer households.
‘SRI’ is popularly known as System of Rice Intensification is a methodology/ process of crop cultivation in which all the agronomic principles related to crop production of the crop are put into practices. We are implementing UPL AKRSP SRI Project in partnership of AKRSP (I). In year 2012-2013 project was implemented with 270 farmers in 5 villages of Dang district. We are targeting to establish SRI technology with 1100 farmers in next 2 years to enhance paddy productivity and food security in Dang district of Gujarat. For the small and marginal farmers with average landholding up to 1.0 ha, deployment of even 50% of the available land for SRI means incremental yield of 250 to 300 Kg. of paddy at the household level. This would create 3-4 months of additional food security for the family. There will also be an increase in paddy straw availability for the cattle. UPL-AKRSP SRI Project was implemented in following five villages of Waghai cluster in District Ahwa.
Strategies to train the farmers
We started with training and discussion with farmers and covered more than 270 farmers under field training. We activities were performed under UPL AKRSP SRI Project
– Training women as they ultimately work in field; we have facilitated special training for women SHGs in different villages.
– Identified farmers who have irrigation facilities and who transplants early in their plots. Arranged exposure visit of other farmers to this plots.
– Focus was given on preparing raised bed nursery as against Adar system which is very common in Dangs. (Adar is a practice which farmers burn woods, leaves, and other plant residuals in nursery bed prior to broadcast the seed). It is a labour intensive practice and not good for environment).
– Capturing local photographs of SRI crop in sequence and using them during trainings so that farmers can see the plant growth and can clear their doubts.
– Visiting plots with agriculture volunteers on field guidance on line transplantation and distance maintenance. This year good rainfall helped a lot for timely transplantation.
– 50 kg of Vermi compost (Ahmedabad Khad) was provided to all farmers who have done SRI transplantation and we ensured all have applied same in their respective plots.
– Cono-weeder was provided to a group having 5-6 farmers for weeding purpose. Farmers were provide village level training for using Cono-weeder. Cono-weeder is provided to a group of 5-6. efficient control of weeds through use of Cono-weeder
– Focus on water management in SRI plots, , supplement of fertilizers and farmers’ awareness trainings.
– Village level meetings were organized to mobilize other farmers to adopt SRI. We also focused on farmers’ exposures and training on existing SRI plots.