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Agriculture Productivity Enhancement

Principles of System of Root Intensification method of crop cultivation (SRI Vidhi Kheti)

As the rural natural resources are declining, the rural livelihood is under threat. Adding to the worry is the declining land resources and of productivity lands other factors of production. On account of unabated population, rural life is at stake. Therefore a holistic approach is needed for increasing productivity in a different ways, because response to green revolution technology is confronting diminishing return.
The cutting-edge technology targeted the crop life above ground, and the mainstream R&D ignored the precious aspects of below ground activities. One of the bypassed factors is the root system and microbial life.
Root means centre of core of life (as crop has life)/also the common meaning of root which is the mouth of the plant. The entire method is based on providing conducive environment to all parts of plant in special attention to its roots to grow to its full potential. All agronomic principles and practices are integrated with the specific crop at its critical stages(provided by nature and not by educated mass only) are the primary considerations towards promotion of System of Root Intensification method of Crop cultivation.
The entire method of SRI consists of following considerations as experienced by farmers/practitioners. Every seed/planting material/rhizomes/tubers/leaves are source of living creature that is plant.

  • The soul in the heart of these planting material needs to be honored and owned by practitioners /promoters/farmers also scientists the same way the human beings treat and conduct with animal kingdom and themselves.
  • The sharp grading of seeds should be done after its procurement from the source. It means that only bold and healthy seeds/planting material should be considered while taking up System of Root Intensification method of crop cultivation.
  • Since root is the main mouth of the plant the seed or planting material should get proper space, aeration, nutrition, moisture, microbial population, etc to grow close to its potential. The more the growth of roots and its consortium more nutrition and other items /factors it can take up and transfer to the plant for robust production. The size of the pit varies from crop to crop and plant to plant depending upon its nature and physiology.
  • The package of practices should be integrated with phyllocron of all possible crops. Young age seedlings/Sprouted seeds should be used.Priming of seeds/Beej Sodhan alongwith treatment should be integral part of Package of practices.
  • The land is the mother of most of living beings including plants. These need to be healthy and sustainable source of nutrient hence natural and organic nutrient management should be essentially integrated in the package of System of Root intensification method of crop cultivation. Like the nursery beds may be treated with Beejamrit and Neemastra.
  • Horizontal growth spaces should be appropriated with seeing its potential in local agro climatic, genotypic characters, and soil and water conditions.
  • The plant in the field right it from its planting material procurement ,nursery raising and till harvesting should be in organic/emotional relationship with its promoters/ practitioners .It happens when the promoters /farmers/scientists/others regularly visit and take care for whole life period of the plant.
  • The enhancement of microbial population should be maintained to help every part of plant (stem, leaves, branches also) for its genetic expression.
  • The plant should be transplanted/sown at shallow depth. This facilitates roots for proper uptake of nutrient and moisture which guides roots for early expansion of its rhizosphere in the soil.
  •  The inter-cultivation cum weeding should be done at critical periods to ensure aeration, availability of nutrients in natural forms such as Jeevamrit, Ghanjeevamrit and tonics made from natural extracts, moisture as this activity enhances tillering /branching ability of the main crops.Depending upon the crop/plant type the earthening up should be done to provide support and better environment around roots and shoots.
  • The prunning of leaves and early branches should also be integrated as per type of crops.For example in Sugarcane the dry leaves should be discarded as it restricts thickening of canesett.
  • In tuber crops eyes/nodes should be extracted and used for direct sowing after initial treatments.The seedlings may also be used as per nature and type of crops.
  • Without compromising with food security and cash surplus to small and marginal communities in initial peiod high doses of natural/organic manures, pesticides, Plant Growth regulators and fertilizers should be used.

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SRI Vidhi Kheti in different Crops:
SRI-Paddy
SRI-Other Crops

  • SRI-Wheat
  • SRI-Vegetables
  • SRI-Rapeseed

SRI-Millets
SRI-Green Gram

How We Started

INCLUSIVE GOVERANCE OF INNOVATION:
After acquiring good experience in working with village institutions in Sidhi district Madhya Pradesh, our Executive Director, Mr. Anil Kumar Verma(then TEAM LEADER, PRADAN, GAYA) focused on working in Gaya in Bihar to pilot System of Rice Intensification with women farmers associated with Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion Society in 2007. He was stunned to hear the rejection of SRI by the communities. With a aim to consistently persuading the effort With a mission, he moved from villages to villages in BodhGaya block of Gaya district in Bihar. The farmers in general and older farmers in particular were found opposing and a rumor floated as if he was a seed supplier looking for market and thereby befooling simple villagers and in particular village women. Under the circumstance, the challenge was to meet the mission. By intensifying the effort to achieve the mission he organized public meetings with women and men in village Shekhwara in BodhGaya block. he found that on meeting day more people joins in discussion. After initial discussion with villagers a documentary on SRI was displayed among the people. Even this did not satisfy, on the contrary, the people commented as “ey hamlog ko burbak bana raha hai, humlog kai pirhi se kheti karte aa rahe hain humlogon ko bewakuph banane ki jarurat nahin hai” (This man has come to befool us, we have been doing paddy cultivation since many generations, these foolish things are not required in villages. let us not get befooled). However, a woman named Kunti Devi came to him and pity on me to tell “hum apan jameen debawa bhaiya tu okara mein lagaw” (I will give you land for this,go ahead). Getting the ray of positive light, he built upon that and demonstrated high performing SRI on her plot. Though she had tremendous pressure from fellow villagers to retransplant thinking how this poor mahadalit lady will feed her family as she had that much of land only for normal paddy, he kept building her confidence all through the period. This started changing the public opinion. When tillers started coming out in 12-15 days the resistance started reducing. Those who were opposing also started supporting us.
Large numbers of women from other villages were brought for exposure visit and having interaction with Shrimati Kunti Devi and counting the number of tillers they also got excited. Thus attracted 128 women into the pilot System of Rice Intensification, 103 in Gaya district and 25 in Nalanda district. A large number of major stakeholders(government officials/administrators/ATMA/KVKs/MLA) were exposed to this pilots and excited experiences had enriched the environment. When crops matured KVK scientists and departmental top officials joined together in crop cutting and yield estimation. By harvesting higher yields at all places as they measured made them confident. Thus the message spread around to attract the higher levels officials.
The block and district level workshops in Gaya and Nalanda districts convinced and lead to the success story as recognized by the officials and other stakeholders. The Joint Director, Agriculture, Magadh Divison himself conducted crop cutting and yield estimation of 12.5ton/hectare. The Programme Co-ordinators of local KVKs in Gaya and Nalanda with a team of Scientists and ATMA officials conducted series of crop cutting and yield estimation in both the districts.
The cluster adhivesan (get-together of SRI farmers in a SRI cluster) sent message of SRI very fast among communities at large and rural communities in particular. The higher yielders among SRI farmers were awarded in these events. The local government started engaging our services and farmers in different kisan melas organized departmentally. The campaign, exposures, wall writings, Cluster adhivesans, SRI-songs, SRI-role plays, SRI Jhanki on republic day made thema of SRI very strong.

maturedcrop1 maturedcrop2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig1:Matured crop of SRI-Paddy and a woman in her SRI-Paddy nursery in Gaya

The impact of pilot of System of Rice Intensification was so high that next year against a target of 2000 farmers, 5146 farmers adopted SRI in their fields. The Chief Executive Officer, BRLPS, Patna and the District Agriculture officer of Nalanda took greater interest in SRI and themselves visited SRI fields several times. The local district magistrates and commissioners went to villages of SRI project several times and applauded farmers and PRADAN for such innovations among small and marginal farmers which was directly linked to addressing food security of these communities. In next year that is in 2008-09 ATMA, Nalanda provided experimental fund to PRADAN. In continuation, With support from BRLPS,Patna and ATMA, Nalanda System of Wheat Intensification was demonstrated in Gaya and Nalanda with 278 farmers.After experiencing Paddy there was almost zero or very little resistance in accepting wheat through this method.The low seed requirement and high yield excited the people on one hand though labour required in sowing of seeds was a constraint. The growth of the crop were so exciting that labour issues got forgotten. In this also large number of farmers/local government officials/top government officials/scientists from ICAR visited the SWI plots.In the mean time seeing success in other crops too we started calling the method as system of Root Intensification method of crop cultivation and relooked in to the principles and other insights of providing space for roots. The Agriculture Technology Management Agency, Nalanda among government agency endorsed SRI as System of Root Intensification and quoted this word in their publications. SRI is also a mythological respectable word in Indian hence socially and technically the word SRI suited to people and government most.Sri Vidhi became common name among rural community and policy makers of state government of Bihar.

intesification1 intesification2

 

 

 

 

Fig2: Intensification of roots in wheat Fig3:SRI-Wheat(top) and non SRI bottom

big left

 

 

 

Fig4: Big panicles under SRI-wheat Fig5: Left(non SRI-Wheat and right (SRI-Wheat)

In the meantime SDTT, Mumbai also commissioned a study of SRI-Paddy and the team included Dr. V.P.Singh ex Agricultural scientist at IARI,New Delhi, Dr. Pradeep Borah from Assam Agricultural University and Mr. Shivshankar from CWS, Hyderabad. The findings of the study were eye opening and the team was excited to meet various stakeholders in Gaya and had similar exciting experience from all over.
A state level workshop on SRI-Paddy was organized at Patna, the state capital of Bihar, n 2008-09, was inaugurated by the then Agriculture minister,Bihar Dr(Mrs) Renu Kumari Kuswaha. She learned about the experience of SRI farmers particularly women. In early 2009 the chief minister, government of Bihar called a big meeting of farmers of state and named that as Kisan Mahapanchayat (Big farmers collective), where 2500 farmers from all over state participated. The chief minister along with council of ministers and top officials of the state were present. The name of Shrimati Barati Devi(A farmer who got 18.1 ton/hec and had drawn attention of many stakeholders) was prominently highlighted and she was given 2 minutes to share her experience of SRI.When she started saying about her yield in local measurement unit, the chief minister was stunned to hear from a village woman.He asked organizers to allow them for more sharing.She shared entire process in half an hour time.Farmers from all over state of Bihar were quite excited to hear the experience.The entire ministry of rural development and agriculture got excited.

brinjal tomato

 

 

 

Fig6:SRI-Tomato in early stage Fig7:SRI-Brinjal in early stage

 

chilli

 

 

 

Fig8:SRI-chilli at early stage

How We Do

Thema Building on SRI method of life and livelihoods

PRAN as a public Charitable Trust build capacity of large local cadres in various regions to take low cost and resource conservation technique to large number of farmers across India.

Capacity Building of grass root organizations on SRI
To spread knowhow about SRI, the PRAN trains stakeholders including staffs and farmers associated with different organizations. We run five days training programmes for grassroots organizations in situ and farmers on SRI method of crop cultivation as well as fertilizer and pesticides preparation for promotion of SRI method of farming system. The training includes motivational and technical components. Linking Principles of development as well as principles and practices of SRI method of cultivation of various crops is important components of training. Practical demonstration on preparing local fertilizers and pesticides in villages is also a part of this training. Three days in-house and two days field training are imparted to the participants. Many farmers and grass root workers from different civil societies are benefitted from the training modules.

Local Cadre Building
PRAN gives special focus on building local cadres. For this the best practicing and socially prominent persons (male and female) identified by community are given rigorous training in four phases. In these 4 phases 75% training is imparted on motivational aspects and the rest 25% on technical aspects of SRI. This includes principles of development, principles of SRI method of crop cultivation, package of practices of SRI method of various crops, land measurement, positive attitudes and human behavior. The training is spread up to 6 months. Out of 100 such participants only 40 to 50 complete all the phases. Those who complete all the phases become eligible to be Village Resource Persons. We identified more than 550 farmers to be trained as VRPs and after cumulative 1,969 days of training and evaluation, 381 persons graduated as VRPs.

Dissemination of SRI knowledge
PRAN rendered services in various Kisan Melas Organised by department of agriculture and agricultural universities. Institute generates various materials on SRI in local languages of Hindi and English to various stakeholders targeting government and civil societies in state of Bihar and elsewhere, in villages and block headquarters PRAN distributes various pamphlets relating to SRI method of crop cultivation and organic products for fertilizer and pesticides preparation using the principle of local product using local resources.. Various research institutes also get in touch with us and ask for SRI package of practices.

Awareness Events: New modus operandi
This year we were extensively engaged in capacity building of farmers through various events. First of all we spread awareness among farmers in new villages through ricksaw Yatra, women promoters so that they can start SRI. In awareness events a group of 3-4 women in uniform of yellow sari go to a hamlet with big fur and pamphlets of SRI with prior information These yellow Sari SRI farmers hang the fur on a wall or tree, sit below and start singing SRI-song. They start singing with a few but after listening to the songs the other women also join the SRI cultural event. After one song these yellow sari women discuss on experience and principles of SRI. Again they sing a different SRI song there after they share the SRI methods in other crops. The audiences both women and men watching and listening to these women feel excited and ask for help from them in the coming season. The SRI vidhi songs which are the majorly used tools for campaigning are actually the step wise PoP of various crops and benefits from them. Therefore the awareness spreading events are in themselves capacity building measures for farmers. Another kind of awareness building event is Jhanki on Republic Day parade in District Head Quarters.
Workshops:
Every year we organize State Level Workshop where large number of stakeholders like farmers, government authorities, ministers, agricultural scientists participated.
State Level Workshop (After Clicking, more details)
District Level workshop (After Clicking, More Details)

SRI cluster Adhivesan
We organize SRI Vidhi cluster Adhivesan in our working districts. Public representatives, SRI farmers and officials participated in these events. Between 200 and 500 women farmers participated in each Adhivesan.

SRI Vidhi Jhanki on Republic Day
On every Republic Day farmers, VRPs display innovations in agriculture in Gandhi Maidan, Gaya. We are happy that there is a public recognition of the effort, every year we are ranked among first three Jhanki. Jhanki display of all of our innovations in agriculture draws attention of minister, higher officials and public in general. All SRI implements, fertilizers, pesticides, solar irrigation model are part of our Jhanki.