Enhancing Quality Living and Integrated Development through Diversified Farm Management in Mahakaushal Region (Phase-I&II)
Mandla district is predominantly tribal with large populations of Gonds and Baigas who are known for their traditional cultivation practices almost away from modern appropriate technologies and market. The agriculture development of the district is constrained by the small size of its land holding and therefore, the only approach to agriculture development of the region rests on productivity enhancement of these land holdings. The issues of farm sector allied activities also need to be addressed in order to meet the objective of agriculture development. There is a need to augment support and extension services for agriculture with the diversification of agricultural practices. With this broad objective in mind the proposal of SDTT supported Mahakaushal region prepared to address farming related livelihoods issues of farmers of Mandla district. Farmer Field School based agriculture development/ extension approach combined with the public-private-community participation approach makes the strategy for wide spread adoption and spread of agricultural innovations in the tribal dominated backward region.
The basic emphasis is on development of scientific and technical facilities and linking the community to them for strengthening livelihood opportunities.
- Creating awareness among farmers for agricultural development, mobilize benefiting farmers for collective action and choice of cost-effective activities in crop production,
- Provide technical support (extension services) focusing more on system-wide improvements
- Development of informal/ formal training centre for enhancement of productivity and understanding about various factor related with productivity.
- Developing a team of progressive farmers, youth and women for developing a methodology for better crop management by adopting FFS principles. The team will organise number of crop demonstrations on aspects like
The First phase of the programme was implemented in 20 villages of 13 Panchayats of Ghughari block covering a population of over eighteen thousand with 15 thousand hectares land. The process started with selection of 19 master and 20 extension farmers who have good knowledge of farming activities, who in turn act as CRPs and have organized FFS on crops like; Paddy, Maize, Wheat, Gram, Pulses (Arhar) and Vegetables (Chilly & Tomato). Technology Demonstrations adopted are- SRI, Line Sowing, improved & hybrid verities, Seed treatment, IPM through organic, etc. Training of Trainers (TOT) are organized on basic field course, group organization and regular systems evolved for inputs on critical stages of new crop varieties. One central and village level FFS, extension and masters farmer are trained at central FFS, Trained farmers starts FFS at respective village twice in a month.
Outcomes of Phase-I: CARD had conducted 40 FFSs covering 1135 demonstrations for 750 farmers in 20 villages, and covered over 3000 demonstrations of SRI in paddy during the Kharif season, also constructed two farm ponds and one stop dams. During this period CARD had also progressed in its initiatives of integrated development of tribal communities. Its initiative of empowering 500 women groups under Tejaswani moved conclusively in 100 villages of Ghughari and Mandla blocks. CARD also started new watershed initiatives in 20 more villages in Ghughari and Bijadandi blocks with Integrated Micro Planning (IMP) and River Revival schemes based on NREGA watershed concept.
Beginning of Phase-II: The objective of Phase-II was to disseminate the learning’s and approaches generated in during Phase-I in the adjoining areas. The second phase started from May, 2013 based on the results of our demonstrations through the FFS on SRI technology in paddy, which have been astonishing, and the process has now been adopted very well by nearly all the tribal farmers in Ghughari, one of the most backward areas of Mandla district. A few of them have earned very good profit and want to repeat in future also. They are now our willing partners in FFS and other agriculture technology transfer activities. Rather other farmers who are not our direct beneficiaries are also willing to partner us in future. It seems as if they were craving for proper knowledge and resources leading to development and prosperity. We now have to ensure that the whole region and not a particular cluster start enhanced earnings from agriculture, so that we move towards our vision of a journey towards empowered communities and sustained habitats.
Summary of Program Findings: In all 7582 demonstrations were organized for kharif crops; maximum for paddy (4801) and maize (1128). New varieties were introduced. The impact is clearly seen in the comparative table with output of control plots. The output in the demonstration plot is more than double in paddy, and more than the control plot crops by atleast a fourth in case of all other crops. The total demonstrations during rabi were 2126, almost half being for wheat, followed by vegetables and mixed cropping. Kodo and gram were also covered with sizable number of beneficiaries. The output in the demonstration plot is double then the control plot in wheat, and slightly more than the control plot crops in case of soybeans and gram. In case of kodon it has reduced output in the demonstration plots compared to control plot. For vegetables it was a new case as the beneficiaries has for the first time grown vegetables. The targets have largely been achieved with slight variation in output. Only in the case of micro plans the team was asked to stop the activity after 10 micro plans were completed, because it was realized that the output was not of much use.
Overall Achievement: Overall achievement of the project output and objectives are satisfactory. We feel very good relation with trust. Significant achievement are here under
- In all 40 FFS, 8791 demos, completed including convergence.
- 66 VLCs actively participate for promotion of all programs.
- Over 3000 farmers adopted SRI/ line sowing / transplanting method of paddy production.
- More than 3000 Farmers better understanding POP of crops; importance of quality seed/ difference between grain & seed, Seed Treatment, etc.
- More than 5000 farmers (including SHG Federation members) covered under the program.
- About 60-70 % production increased by adopting SRI method and in Rabi season wheat & Gram.
- Around a thousand Farmers learnt about proper compost production.
- Around Rs. 22 Lakh convergence from other Donors.
Conclusions & Recommendations :The proposal “Enhancing Quality Living and Integrated Development through Diversified Farm Management in Mahakaushal Region” was submitted by CARD originally as an independent proposal for integrated agriculture based development for increased production and enhanced quality of living. But later on it was developed as per SDTT priority programme as an integrated network project combined for 5 agencies; PRADAN, ASA, FES, CARD and NEWSYD. The programme was shaped in to crop demonstration and promotion of organic cropping in the region. It has to a great extent achieved those objectives by setting up trends for SRI method of cultivation, line sowing, seed treatment promotion and use of vermin compost and organic pesticides and insecticides, etc. Now thousands of farmers have adopted practicing these improved agricultural practices as a result of SDTT and MKSP programmes. In addition a few water harvesting activities were also taken up which have come up very well. Special mention is of completion of a stop dam left under construction under the MGNREGA and a community lift irrigation scheme. Both the activities have left a mark to remember.
But the project could not address many other issues which were proposed in the initial proposal. Fruit production and milk production are very limited in project area, which cause low income. Livestock production performance very poor in project area and some activity for livestock productivity enhancement needed. The NTFP is an integral part of tribal household income and that too remained untouched. In the tribal region agriculture is only one aspect of livelihood and unless we cover farming system integrated approach overall development remains limited. The trust may look for integrated farming system approach in such areas in future.