Production Technologies Refined through NRRI led IVLP-TAR Brought Prosperity in the life of Rainfed Farmer
In eastern India, many rainfed rice farmers have small and marginal land holdings with meager resources. Rice is the staple food crop, grown under different land situations. These ecologies are depended mostly of rainfall and are therefore subject to both moisture deficit (upland) and excess (lowland to flood-prone) situations. The productivity of rice on these lands is generally poor and especially, under rainfed condition, it is distressingly low.
Nearly about 70% of the available agricultural production technologies are not adopted by the farmers due to various constraints, from biophysical to socio-economic conditions operating at the farm level. Most important reasons for low level of acceptance of the technologies are—that they are not economically viable, not operationally feasible, not stable, not matching with farmer’s needs and not compatible with existing farming systems.
Considering this conjuncture, the evaluation of the on-farm farmers’ participatory traits was conducted during 1999-2002 and refined some of the production technologies related to rainfed rice in respect of varieties and their response to method of stand establishment, weed management and nutrient management through Institute Village Linkage Programme in rainfed areas of Cuttack district, Odisha.
Sri Judhistir Behera from Berena village is having one area each of rainfed upland and lowland areas. With a total of 8 family members (3 working and 5 non-working), he takes up rice in those two acres of land. In a year, he used to get hardly 5-8 q of rice, which was not sufficient to feed his entire family members. In order to manage the entire family and gain better livelihood, he and his sons worked as casual labourers in other fields. Then, the core team members of IVLP encouraged him to take up rice cultivation in his 2 acres of land, by adopting the refined technologies. Of course, in the first year the team provided him technical advice and critical inputs required for various cultural interventions.
In his one acre of upland area, he cultivated Vandana variety, which matures in 90 days, having drought tolerance and weed smothering ability in the early days of growth. The seeds at the rate of 75 kg/ha were sown in the second week of June in rows (20 cm apart), behind the country plough. At the time of sowing he applied 2 t/ha FYM and 20 kg each of P2O5 and K2O/ha. Nitrogen @30 kg/ha was applied in two equal splits-half at 3 weeks after sowing and another half at 6 weeks after sowing. Weeds were managed by adopting integrated weed management package i.e. running finger weeder in between lines after 20 days and one hand weeding at 30 days after germination.
In lowland area, he took up semi-dwarf photosensitive variety Gayatri in kharif and hybrid PHB 71 in rabi, by utilizing spring water flowing by the side of his land. Better crop establishment was achieved by line transplanting and the application of 40-20-20 kg NPK/ha in rainfed lowlands and, 80-40-40 kg NPK/ha for dalua/summer rice.
Within a period of one year, Shri Behera could produce 40 q of rice (12 q from upland, 18 q from lowland during kharif and 20 q from dalua/summer season) from his two acres of land. In addition to rice he could also produce vegetables like tomato, poi, cucumber etc. in the upland area, after harvest of rice, which was sufficient for his family and helped him to earn some additional income too. By adopting this rice based cropping system of cultivation during the last two years, Shri Behera could sustain the same level of production besides generating year round employment opportunities for the entire family members. With better opportunities for livelihood, neither he nor his family members are going to others’ fields to work as casual labourers. In the Berena village, he is one of the many farmers who got benefited by the IVLP-TAR project, operating in rainfed areas of Cuttack district under NATP.