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State Symposium Uttarakhand 2008
 

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    State Symposium Uttarakhand 2008 State Symposium Uttarakhand 2008 Document Transcript

    • State Level Workshop on “Promoting SRI Paddy Cultivation for Achieving Food Security in Uttarakhand” December 11, 2008 Hotel Great Value, Rajpur Road, DehradunBackground People’s Science Institute (PSI), Dehra Doon is popularizing the System of RiceIntensification (SRI) method on mountain farms of Uttarakhand for the last three years. Startingwith 22 farmers in 2006, in 2008 about 9,000 farmers adopted this method in all the 13 districtsof the state. At the completion of the activities of the kharif season of 2008, PSI organized a one-day State Level Workshop on “Promoting SRI Paddy Cultivation for Achieving Food Security inUttarakhand” at Hotel Great Value, Rajpur Road, Dehra Doon on December 11, 2008. Theobjective of this workshop was not only to share the experiences but also to evolve a strategy forup scaling SRI across the state. At the workshop, PSI, its partners and SRI farmers fromUttarakhand shared their field experiences. Besides, officials from other states briefed about thestrategies they have adopted for SRI promotion in their respective states. National and international level experts, government officials from rural, agricultural, andirrigation departments, agricultural university and Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs),representatives from various NGOs, and farmers attended the workshop. The schedule of theworkshop and list of participants present at the workshop are given as Annexures I and II. The minutes of the State Level Workshop on “Promoting SRI Paddy Cultivation forAchieving Food Security in Uttarakhand” are presented here.Introduction The workshop began with the arrival of Chief Secretary, Uttarakhand, Mr. Indu KumarPandey, the Chief Guest. In the introductory welcome session, Ms. Amita Sharma, ProgrammeAssistant, PSI, welcomed the Chief Guest at the Workshop. She also welcomed the otherparticipants to the workshop including Mr. N.S. Napalchayal, Additional Chief Secretary andForest and Rural Development Commissioner (FRDC); Professor Norman T. Uphoff,Programme Leader for Sustainable Rice Systems, Cornell International Institute for Food, 1
    • Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD), New York; Uttarakhandi SRI farmers; representativesof partner organizations; agricultural scientists and experts as well as officials from other states.She also introduced the theme and purpose of the workshop along with a short description of theworkshop objectives and schedule.PSI’s Experiences on SRI Immediately after the introductory welcome session, a film on SRI titled “SRI Vidhi:Kisano Key Liye Vardaan” produced by PSI, was screened. The film broadcasted proceduralaspects of SRI and benefits obtained by different SRI farmers of Uttarakhand. The film was followed by a presentation on “Upscaling SRI in Uttarakhand’: PSI’sexperiences” by Mr. Debashish Sen, Director, Center for Participatory Watershed Development(CPWD). In the presentation, Mr. Sen briefed about PSI’s experiences with SRI farmers inUttarakhand since 2006. In the initial years, PSI undertook trials and demonstrations and foundSRI to be very effective in enhancing paddy productivity for addressing food security andlivelihood needs of the farming families, and hence it further embarked on a mission to promotethe widespread use of SRI in the mountain farms of the state. He said that in 2008, PSIformulated a practical strategy for popularizing and promoting SRI among at least 10,000farmers in Uttarakhand and sought funds from Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, Mumbai. The AgricultureDirectorate, Government of Uttarakhand (GoU) also came forward to support the above cause. In 2008 kharif, PSI conducted training workshops for 11,377 farmers with the help oftrained master trainers from 30 partner organizations. Of these, 8,996 adopted SRI in 181 ha ofpaddy lands across all the districts of the state. Crop cutting exercises conducted in the presenceof outside agricultural experts to compare SRI fields with the conventional methods showed anaverage increase of 65 per cent and 41 per cent in grain and straw yields respectively. Debashishsaid that SRI farmers have expressed immense satisfaction with the perceived benefits of savingseed, water, physical labour and increased grain and straw yields. Giving an outline of the paddy scenario in Uttarakhand such as total cultivable area,productivity and the state’s position in paddy producing states in the country, he emphasized thatupscaling of SRI in the state could play a major role in fulfilling the foodgrain requirements ofthe projected population of the state. 2
    • Farmers’ Experiences on SRI PSI’s presentation was followed by sharing of experiences by Uttarakhandi farmers andPSI’s partner organizations. The farmers who spoke on the occasion include Mr. RikeshwarPrasad, a farmer from Doni (Megadhar), Tehri Garhwal and Ms. Meena Devi of village Pathuli,Rudraprayag. Mr. Rikeshwar Prasad spoke about the various benefits of SRI method such as seedsaving, water saving, less disease occurrence, less lodging, better grain quality, increase grainand straw yield etc. In 2006, when he adopted SRI method in half a nali of land, the yielddoubled from 25 kg to almost 50 kg. He has subsequently adapted SRI in 4 nalis of land.According to him, in 2008 about 1044 farmers in his block had planted paddy using the SRImethod. He said that now he had completely stopped using chemical fertilizers and applies onlyorganic manure preparations such as Panchgavya, Amrit Ghol and Matka Khad. He said that theSRI method ought to be followed by all the paddy growing states to help double foodgrainproduction. He, however, said that the government should provide support in terms of improvedequipment and quality manure to motivate the farming communities to adopt SRI. Sharing her experiences at the workshop, Ms. Meena Devi of village Pathuli(Rudraprayag) said that initially 10-12 women of her village were mobilized to carry out thisactivity, who have now gradually increased the area under SRI to almost 15 nalis over a periodof three years. Initially, people expressed their skepticism at the appearance of the freshlytransplanted fields with 10-12 days’ old seedlings. However, following the weeder operationsand application of organic manure, a large number of tillers were produced changing the mindsetof the farmers. She termed the method as “highly productive, time-saving, water-saving, andseed saving”. She further said that at present there is no government support system for farmers,especially poor and marginal farmers who are practicing SRI. She made a special request to thegovernment officials for not only providing seeds and organic preparations but also to help fix apremium price for the SRI produce to actively promote SRI across the state. Other farmers and representatives of partner organizations expressed their satisfactionand further made commitments to upscale SRI and enhance its spread to the nook and corner ofthe state in the coming seasons. 3
    • Experiences from Other Countries In the next session, a presentation on “Experiences from other countries” was given byProfessor Norman T. Uphoff, Programme Leader for Sustainable Rice Systems, CornellInternational Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD), New York. ProfessorUphoff at first congratulated PSI for successfully conducting research on application of the SRImethod on other crops such as wheat, mandua and rajma in Uttarakhand. He clarified that SRIwas not a technique but “a set of few ideas”. Prof. Uphoff briefly explained the six principles ofSRI and their benefits. He also compared the Green Revolution and SRI method. According tohim, the Green Revolution focused on genetic potential and external inputs. It had financial andenvironmental costs and now the productivity levels are almost stagnant. In SRI, the focus is oncreating a healthy environment (involving plants, soil, water and nutrients) for a betterphenotype. He emphasised that better roots results into successful plants. Prof. Uphoff informed the workshop participants about the international experiences ofSRI promotion. He said that currently SRI has been adopted in as many as 34 countriesworldwide and narrated the experiences from Nepal, North Korea, Burkina Faso, Timbuktu(Mali), Zambia, Cuba, China, Indonesia, Japan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan,Iraq and Iran. He said that the governments in these countries have also started taking activeinterest in promoting SRI there. He said that in India, SRI method is being followed in altogether220 districts out of a total of 564 paddy districts in the country and the state governmentsparticularly need to assist in upscaling efforts to spread SRI method to the nook and corner of thedifferent states. At the end of his presentation, Prof. Uphoff said that farmers should be encouraged tocontinuously innovate and adapt SRI.Viewpoints of Officials The session “Experiences from other countries”, was followed by the Chief Guest’saddress. Chief Secretary Mr. Indu Kumar Pandey, said that it had been a learning experience forhim, to know about a new method of paddy cultivation, i.e., System of Rice Intensification(SRI). He said that the discussions that had been organized in the interest of Uttarakhand’s foodsecurity were highly appreciable. He said that the farmers have shared a direct first-handexperience at the workshop and the SRI experiment had been a successful one. He said that like 4
    • all good things, SRI needs to be propagated extensively to cover as many farmers as possible. Inthis endeavour there can be no better method than agriculture exposure and it is here that theexisting SRI farmers should play an active role and shoulder responsibility in guidingneighbourhood farmers who are new to SRI. He said that after having successfully experimentedSRI, the Uttarakhand farmers now need to collectively work towards its extension to increase thecoverage area under SRI in the state. He said that under SRI cultivation, the consumption ofwater and other inputs is less than with other practices, and hence it is extremely suitable forsmall and marginal land holdings. He also suggested application of SRI method on other crops. Mr. Pandey said that paddy productivity level in Uttarakhand is very low. With SRI,productivity level of about 5-6 tons per hectare has so far been achieved as compared to paddyyields of 11 tons per hectare witnessed in other states. Through the SRI method, it might takesome time before the figure of 10 tons per hectare is achieved but farmers in Uttarakhand whohave made a beginning can and should surely make efforts to raise their paddy productivitylevels to about 6 - 7 tons per hectare. Mr. Pandey said that it was only through cropintensification that problems of low productivity in farming in the state can be combated. Mr. Pandey further said that measures such as SRI were required especially in view of thegradual decline in the cultivable land in the hill state due to growing pressures of urbanizationand industrialization. He said there is an impending need for the farmers to adopt interventionsthat can enhance the productivity and are easily adaptable. He said that equipments need to bemodified so that women could easily use them. He said that the Pantnagar AgriculturalUniversity in the state would be asked to conduct the required experiments to improve the SRImethod and equipment and the principle of “lab-to-land” would be applied to ensure transfer ofimproved practices to the farmers in the state. Mr. Pandey’s address was followed by an address by Mr. N.S. Napalchayal, AdditionalChief Secretary and Forest and Rural Development Commissioner (FRDC). In his address, Mr.Napalchayal complimented PSI’s endeavour in promoting and popularizing SRI in the mountainfarms of Uttarakhand. He said that the workshop sessions had provided in-depth informationabout the SRI method and its experiences from other countries. He said that SRI and itsapplication to other crops such as wheat has a great potential in Uttarakhand. The researchinstitutions and Agriculture University in the state should undertake further research to improve 5
    • the method. The agriculture department should be able to provide seed and equipments to thefarmers. Hence convergence of SRI with other government programmes and schemes isdesirable and would be pursued. The farmers themselves need to innovate and should thereforebe encouraged. Mr. Napalchayal said that the state should move forward from “SRI Vidhi” toSRI Vriddhi”. He invited PSI for a collaborative effort with Uttarakhand Institute of RuralDevelopment (UIRD) for conducting SRI training sessions in order to promote the SRIprogramme in the state of Uttarakhand, At the end of the session, Dr. Ravi Chopra, Director, PSI said that the Institute’sexperiments in undertaking intensification in wheat (System of Wheat Intensification-SWI)were the first of their kind and the results hold good promise for the future. Dr. Chopra said thatsimilarly, PSI’s experiments in intensification of other crops show that their productivity can bedoubled. He said that if farmers get proper institutional and financial support, then cropintensification can make Uttarakhand a food-secure state. On the occasion, he also thanked allthe workshop participants including Professor Uphoff and his wife, Mr. Kishan Rao, the officialsfrom other states, PSI’s partner organizations and farmers for extending tremendous help andassistance for the programme. Dr. Chopra’s address was followed by a Tea break.Experiences from Other States The post-tea session on “Experiences from other states”, at the workshop, invitedspeakers from other states for narrating experiences of extending SRI practices in their respectivestates. Officials from other states like Tripura and Bihar briefed the participants about thestrategies they have evolved to promote SRI in their states. Mr. Anil Kumar Verma of PRADAN briefed about how SRI is being promoted as animportant livelihood activity under the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Programme, in the state. TheSRI programme is being promoted with the help of skilled extension workers under whom thereare village resource persons for guiding the farmers. The village resource persons undergotraining in three phases. The Bihar government has set a target of covering 1 lakh hectare underSRI. At present there are about 2500 farmers who have adopted SRI in their farmlands.Innovative practices such as mobile nurseries, integration with Dhaincha crop, etc. are also beingtried out for promoting SRI in the state. 6
    • The second speaker of the session was Dr. Baharul Islam Majumdar, Senior Agronomist,State Agricultural Research Station, Agartala (Tripura), who has been the chief architect of thesuccess of extending SRI in the entire state of Tripura. He briefly explained the steps adopted bythe state government to work along with Panchayati Raj Institutions for large scale adoption ofSRI in Tripura. The SRI initiative got started in Tripura with the objective of meeting the state’sfoodgrain shortfall. Staring with 44 farmers in 2002-03, the area coverage under SRI has gone upfrom 8.8 ha to 50,000 ha (2,50,000 farmers) in 2008-09. The programme is being undertaken as amass movement with emphasis on awareness cum training programmes and incentives for SRIfarmers. An incentive of Rs. 4,500/ha is being provided to SRI farmers (for a minimum area of0.2 ha) for seed, fertilizers, organic manure, bio-fertilizers, nursery materials and contingencyexpenditure. He also mentioned that with expansion of SRI, the average yield level is reducingwhich needs to be monitored and attended to. Mr. Majumdar said that the Tripura state government had now set a target to bring atleast 20 per cent of the total cultivable area under paddy under SRI by 2008-09. He said that theOrissa government has also set a target of establishing one SRI demonstration village in everydistrict of the state. He said that similar targets need to be established by Utt arakhand, on similarlines as in the principally SRI states such as Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Orissa. At the end of the session, Mr. D.K. Jain, Ex. Chief Engineer, Irrigation from Roorkeeshared his SRI experiments with sugarcane and paddy crops. Dr. P. S. Bisht, ProfessorAgronomy, GB Pant University of Agriculture, Pantnagar, U.Singh Nagar also shared the resultsof the experiments being conducted by the University on SRI.The Way Forward During the last session of the workshop “Policy and Programme Implications: OpenDiscussions”, discussions were initiated on setting up targets for upscaling SRI in the state anddeveloping mechanisms for achieving the same. During the discussions, farmers, voluntaryorganizations, subject matter specialists and government officials deliberated on various policyand programme implications. The workshop delegates brought the participants’ attention to the future scenario ofprojected population rise and the consequent paddy demand for the year 2050. In 2050, about250 million tons of paddy would be required to meet the demand of a projected population of 7
    • about 1.6 billion people. Going by the present annual paddy production trend of about 145million tons, an additional production of about 2.5 million tons of paddy every year will have tobe brought about to effectively meet the demand at 2050 level. Debashish pointed out thatUttarakhand ranked 15th in terms of paddy productivity among the paddy growing states of thecountry. In view of the plans of the Centre as well as the Uttarakhand state government to raisethe productivity in the years to come, SRI method has assumed added importance. Mostparticipants laid emphasis on setting of a target in Uttarakhand as has been done in the case ofTripura, if the objective of upscaling SRI in the state is to be achieved. Participants furthersuggested strategies for scaling up SRI and also discussed future plans for extension of thesystem across the state. Mr. Nautiyal from NABARD, Dehradun said that the area coverage under SRI needs tobe increased for which extensive demonstrations needed to be carried out. He suggested thatNABARD’s scheme for ‘capacity building for transfer of technology’ could be used for thepurpose. He further proposed that two villages that have been adapted by NABARD in eachdistrict of the state will now be taken up for demonstration of SRI. Mr. Sadan Misra, Himalaya Trust, Bageshwar emphasized that extensive informationdissemination and training was required for upscaling of SRI. He suggested that there should beone master trainer for every 2-3 villages. The master trainer should preferably be a woman SHGmember, who would be able to mobilize the other members. Other representatives from partnerorganizations of PSI, e.g. HIFEED, PNVS, GRASS, HWS etc. emphasized on the need ofproviding timely training and field support to the SRI farmers. Therefore, they suggested ofenhancing the number of master trainers to about one master trainer for every 50-100 farmers. Mr. Sadan Misra recommended application of SRI method on vegetables and pulses. Mr.Avtar Singh Negi, MVDA, Tehri Garhwal suggested that unirrigated/rainfed areas should also beconsidered for SRI promotion and trials should be done on crops like wheat, mustard andsoyabean. Mr. Prahlad Koshiyari, KSS, shared his experiences with trials on rajma and manduawith 40-50 per cent increase in grain yields. He further recommended application of SRI methodon similar crops. Mr. B.P. Bamola, GMVS, Chamoli said that the agriculture department had to play a pro-active role in promoting SRI now when its success has been successfully demonstrated. He also 8
    • suggested that alternatives for manure like Panchgavya, Amritghol and Matka Khad should besought for as lot of farmers face difficulties in procuring the ingredients for the recommendedmanures. Mr. Ramesh Pahari, Journalist, ANIKET said that the agriculture department shouldconsider providing subsidy for liquid manures like Panchgavya, Amritghol and Matka Khadwhen it can provide subsidy for fertilizers and pesticides. These manures could be prepared at acentralized location in the village and then distributed to the concerned farmers. Master trainers from partner organizations of PSI, said that exposure visit of farmers indifferent stages of the crop is very effective in motivating them to adopt SRI. They furthersuggested adopting the saturation concept (covering all the households of a village where SRIhas been demonstrated) in the coming seasons for upscaling of SRI. The master trainers also saidthat adequate and quality markers and weeders are required. They suggested designmodifications in the equipment according to the local conditions and requested the agriculturedepartment to create awareness regarding SRI through TV and newspapers, and further provide50 per cent subsidy for the SRI equipment. Farmers present in the workshop also made commitments of further upscaling SRIthrough increased coverage and mobilizing fellow farmers to adopt SRI in their villages andneighbouring areas. They further requested the state government to provide support in the formof seed, manure and equipment to encourage the farming communities to adopt SRI. The ChiefAgriculture Officer from Bageshwar agreed with the above opinion of subsidizing equipmentand also informed the workshop participants that the agriculture department has decided todepute one person for each Nyay Panchayat, whose assistance could be sought fordemonstrations on SRI. The Assistant Director, Agriculture Department, Chamoli assured thesupport of agriculture department for promotion of SRI in future. At the end of the session, Mr. Kishan Rao, consultant WASSAN and a progressivefarmer from Andhra Pradesh said that the farmers should not be insisted to follow all theprinciples of SRI. Trained master trainers should encourage the farmers to adapt SRI accordingto the local conditions. Two principles however need to be strictly followed, i.e. transplanting ofyounger seedlings and non-flooding of paddy lands. He suggested training 1-2 women in everyvillage for making liquid manure. Framers should be encouraged not to use urea and DAP whenso much of biomass is available in the villages of Uttarakhand. For application of SRI in 9
    • unirrrigated lands, he suggested use of biomass (e.g. green manure) so that enough soil moistureis there for healthy plant growth. He also suggested alternatives for preparation of differentliquid manures. Thus in the session, the participants emphasized on various institutional and financialsupports required for upscaling SRI in the state. In additions, continued research work wassuggested for improvement in package of practices and tools, besides building a stake-holder’snetwork and convergence of different programme. In the “Concluding Session” of the State Level Workshop on “Promoting SRI PaddyCultivation for Achieving Food Security in Uttarakhand”, Mr. Pradyut Mukherjee of SDTT,Mumbai said that the Trust’s one year old programme of SRI in Uttarakhand had yieldedencouraging results, which needs to be closely monitored while upscaling. The upscalingstrategy had to be carefully worked out in consultation with the stakeholders. The possibility ofconvergence of different programmes and linkages with line departments (like irrigation, animalhusbandry, etc.) should also be looked into. He informed that the Trust was starting a newinitiative ‘Diversion based irrigation’ which would further strengthen the SRI initiative. At theend, he suggested that the basic principles of SRI can probably be applied to all crops andtherefore adaptations should be tried out. Prof. Uphoff cautioned that though flexibility should be provided to farmers for adaptingSRI, there should be no compromise with any of the principles. One can go for compromise onpractices but not on principles. Farmers therefore need to be made aware of the benefits of eachprinciple of SRI. At the end of the workshop Dr. Ravi Chopra encouraged the participants (be it farmers,NGOs, master trainers, scientists, officials, etc.) to make innovations in their fields forcontributing towards upscaling of SRI. He said that the goal should be to attain total foodsecurity in the state i.e. no household should be below the poverty line, and SRI could definitelyprovide the solution. He once again congratulated PSI’s team for its efforts towards promotingSRI in the state and concluded with a vote of thanks to all. 10