REPORT OF CHATTISGARH STATE LEVEL POLICY DIALOGUE AND ORIENTATION WORKSHOP ON MADAGASKAR SYSTEM ( SRI) PROMOTIONBackgroundChattisgarh is a rice growing state with nearly 85 percent of cultivated areaunder rice. Most of this is a single monsoon crop in rain-fed conditions.Traditional rice farming and practices are part and parcel of the culture andeconomy of rural life. The traditional system, broadcast-biyasi is the mostprevalent and transplanting had spread mostly in irrigated areas which islimited to around 20% of the rice area. Average yield improvement evenafter introduction of HYV’s and chemicals in the last 40 years; is only aminimal 40% , from 9-10 tons to 14-15 tons per hectare. This approximate 1percent annual growth in productivity comes with a greater production coststo farmers in the form of fertilsers, chemicals and increased energy use. Bothof these costs are continuously increasing enormously adding burden notonly to farmers; but also on government expenditure on these items.Attempts to introduce techno-fixes like Hybrid rice will not be helpful tofarmers in Chattisgarh who are particular about adaptability and eatingquality of rice more than just yield. A tall indigenous rice under SRI in dry-land at JSSThe Madagaskar system or SRI as an agronomic practice has the potential toquadruple yields from present low levels. This has been demonstrated inChattisgarh by experiments conducted by Jan Swasthya Sahayog in
Bilaspur and some other NGO’s like Dharohar in Bastar. Some extensionworkers of Agriculture Department and some KVK’s also had done farmerfield trials with encouraging results. Even though IGAU scientists had beenattending the National symposiums on SRI not enough work had beeninitiated by University.The Second National Symposium on SRI held in Agartala was attended byIGAU scientists and representatives and farmers from JSS Bilaspur andDharohar etc. Here the idea of a state level meeting on SRI promotion wasconceived during discussions with Dr. Biksham Gujja, Dr Goud etc ofWWF,Hyderabad. The responsibility of pursuing this idea was taken up byJacob Nellithanam of JSS, Bilaspur. Personal meetings with the Director ofAgriculture Mr Pratap Kridutt, IAS and Dr R K Singh, IFS: Director of theState Institute of Rural Development helped in crystallizing the idea furtherto two meetings. One of them being a policy dialogue with Agriculturaldepartment officials and research scientists from IGAU, Raipur. Another oneto give Orientation to NGO’s and interested farmers by sharing experiencegained in the state by farmers and with the help of experts and promotersfrom other states. This was first of its kind of effort on SRI promotion inChattisgarh. A fine rice variety close-up having yield potential of 8 tons
The aim was to bring in more co-ordination of efforts at experimenting andpromoting SRI in the state. SRI promotion needs more efforts than to take itup as one of the programs for extension; because the nature of it being moreintensive in time management and farmers involvement. Betterunderstanding among policy makers and scientists can promote a conducivepolicy environment and programmatic support for farmers demonstratingthe technique in villages. This kind of a clear policy is lacking in State inspite of field trials since past 3 years.Another important aspect of Chattisgarh farming is the huge numbers ofadapted rice varieties with high yield potential and various quality traits.There is many scented rice varieties which are short-fine having a premiumprice available in the regional markets. The varieties like Dubraj, Chinnor,Badshabhog Wishnubhog, Ramjhira, Karikamod etc. are quite famous. Indigenous varieties suitable for rain-fed areasFine varieties like HMT, DRK and traditional ones like Luchai group andSafri group has also great market potential. Since SRI yield increase is notdependant on varieties; these varieties can be grown under Organicconditions to double or even triple their yields; and the surpluses can bemarketed to give the advantage of better prices to the Adhivasi and marginalfarmers. Direct marketing linkages can be created through Self-help groups,once enough surplus organic produce is made possible through SRIadoption.
Policy Dialogue on SRI Promotion inChattisgarh.Date: 19th December 2007Venue: Chattisgarh State Agricultural Training Academy Indira Gandhi Agricultural University Campus, Raipur, Chattisgarh The dialogue program started late due to some delay in the arrivalof agricultural department officials. Secretary, Food and civil supplies DrAlok Shukla IAS was present but had to leave early after an informalsession due to delay in starting the proceedings. Director Agriculture, Pratap Kridut welcomes Dr Alok Shukla, IASThe Inaugural Session was Presided by Agricultural Produce commissioner,Mr Sergius Minz IAS.The Session was conducted by Jacob Nellithanam ofJan Swasthya Sahayog, Bilaspur.Dr Yogesh Jain, MD; physician and Executive Member of Jan SwasthyaSahayog, Bilaspur gave his lecture as an introduction to the dialogue.Sharing his experience as a doctor catering to more than 1000 villages inrural Chattisgarh, he focused on the stark reality of poor nutrition leading tolow weights of population, much lower than minimum standards. This
shows the consistently low food intake and nutrition among people. Lowweights leads low efficiency in doing manual work leading to loweragricultural production and lower wages. Low nutrition and weights leads tomore diseases in rural agrarian communities. More than 60% children areseverely undernourished and most rural women are anemic and have lowerthan required body weights. Lower nutrition from food through PDS andagricultural chemical residues in vegetables, and water also increasesdisease burden .Due to poor nutrition and calorie intake rural areas have more diseases thanurban areas including diseases like blood pressure, cancer , diabetes etc;along with usual diseases like tuberculosis, malaria , diarrhea etc. Underthese circumstances prevailing in the state, there is urgent need to improvefood production in all rural communities. There is need to increase diversityin food produced locally and should be done organically. So Madagaskarsystem of rice production known as SRI becomes important as program forthe rice growing state of Chattisgarh.Dr. Vinod Goud, from World Wide Fund for Nature, Hyderabad; who isworking with WWF-ICRISAT project on water in his lecture gave anoverview of the SRI promotion and spread scenario in India. He pointedout the notion that, “ the more the water used in farming the more will bethe yield’ had become entrenched among farmers. This notion is harmingenvironment and our farming ecosystem. To change this false notion WWFdecided to take up and promote SRI in India which uses less water toincrease production. Dr Vinod Goud gives an overview of SRI promotion in India
WWF had organised two National symposium on SRI in November 2006 atHyderabad and one in October 2007 at Agartala in Tripura. There is increasein consumption of rice and rice farming consumes 50% of the irrigationwater; which is nearly 80% of all available water resources. Also pollutioncaused by fertilisers and pesticides makes a lot of fresh water un usable.Thus SRI becomes relevant because of its capacity to produce more usingless water, seeds, fertilsers & pesticides. In Madagaskar this method wasdeveloped by a priest Fr Laughline and farmers who worked with himaround 1983. Later Cornell University Professor Dr. Norman Uphoff hadhelped spread the system world wide. Nearly in 20 states of India farmersare experimenting and adopting SRI. The state of Tripura had promoted thesystem in 10% rice area by State Government Agriculture Department.This is a simple system where some agronomic practice changes areinvolved; like planting young seedlings at wider distance in lines and rows,using manual weeder between rows to incorporate weeds in the soil, watermanagement through well drained fields and organic inputs for soil fertilityare major components. Farmers may face some problems like managingwater to keep fields drained or irrigate at regular intervals. Manpoweravailability for planting, weeding etc. All these issues can be solveddepending on the conditions prevailing. There is need for much moreawareness building and training. As more and more farmers adopt, solutionsto minor problems in adoption will emerge locally. Increased production anddecrease in use of water will reduce conflict related to water sharing and use.Dr.Bahrul Islam Mazumdar, Chief Agronomist, State AgriculturalResearch Station, Agartala; was the main resource person for the Dialogue.He through his presentation explained the questions Why & How of SRIbased on his experience on experimenting and extension work of SRI inTripura state through the Department of agriculture.According to him SRI is a simple technique, but people don’t easilyunderstand because they tends to think in a complicated fashion. Using apower point presentation having lot of visuals he explained the practice indetail. Since rice seedling needs to be transplanted at 8-12 days age, there isneed to handle seedling like infants in all stages of uprooting, transportingand planting. It may take more time in doing the planting because of the careneeded, but after a few seasons farmers will become skilled and efficient.
Dr Bahrul Majumdar speaks, APC Mr Sergius Minz,IAS on the diasHe stressed the need for soil to breath because soil fertility is maintained byliving creatures and micro organisms with in the topsoil. There should not bestanding water in the soil making it possible for more oxygen to reach thesoil in the root zone. To control the increased growth of weeds rotary weedershould be used timely. If this is done between rows of plants 3-4 timesduring the first 1 ½ months from transplanting at intervals of 10 -12 daysweeds will be controlled and soil aeration facilitates root growth andtillering. First weeding at 10 -12 days transplanting dates is very critical tovegetative growth and number of tillers.Mr Sergius Minj IAS, the Agricultural Produce commissioner of the state ,attended the inaugural session in his address mentioned that this Dialogue onSRI- Promotion and the Orientation Workshop is important for theChattisgarh State. He said he learned a lot about SRI and its potential bylistening to the sessions presentations. This is critical times in farming andagricultural production and the crisis is revealed in the form of farmersuicides in the country. Governments are concerned and started two mainprograms named National Agriculture Development Program and the FoodSecurity Mission. The objective is to increase the growth rate of productionand income of farmers. SRI will be a great boon to the state if promotedeffectively through the state; if we can save water and increase productionat least by 20 % over all in rice. This system doesn’t look very difficult topromote and next year government should take this up as an essentialcomponent of extension program.
Sergius Minz IAS, Agricultural Produce Commissioner speaksDue to delay in the proceedings not much interactions with participantshappened before the lunch period . The venue turned out to be small due tothe number of participants who has attended. Some farmers who were toattend next day Orientation also came early. Afternoon session began late because of previous delay and somepractical difficulties in lunch arrangements. This happened because thevenue being a new and its facilities being still under development. Selvam Ramaswamy an experienced organic Farmer and Activistfrom Erode district Tamilnadu as a resource person shared his OrganicFarming and SRI experience. His Organic farming vision is understandingnature and playing like a child with it. This way the farm has to bedeveloped by farmers themselves. He uses preparations like Panchagavya,Amruthpanni and vermi-compost as inputs to his fields. He also preparesinsect repellant sprays from leaves of plants which are not browsed by goatsfrom around his fields and waste lands. The leaves are crushed together andmixed with cow urine to prepare bio-pesticides.
Officers of the Agriculture Department and scientists‘Panchagavya’ is an effective bio-fertilizer prepared from five products fromcow; the cow dung, cow urine, milk, curd and ghee. All this is mixed alongwith some Jaggery and ripe bananas and fermented for a fortnight to preparePanchagaya. Farmer doesn’t need to apply any other inputs to his farm.Sharing his experience as the first farmer to adopt SRI in his district; he saidfarmers have to be patient in the in the initial stage of SRI adoption. Otherfarmers and neighbors will start ridiculing and laugh at you when you plantsingle seedling at wide spacing. But they will change their opinion whenthey see large number of tillers after two weedings using cono-weeder andon maturity.SRI should be practiced with traditional local seeds which will give morestraw along with higher grain yields. More straw gives more fodder to farmanimals. Local varieties gives less chaffy seeds and can produce up to 90-95tillers. When he was doing this in initial years an old laborers women toldthat in her younger days they also used to plant rice with very wide spacing. Prof Ajay Verma , Professor from Faculty of agricultural Engineering ,IGAU, Raipur; shared his work on developing implements for SRI. Hespecially discussed the Ambika Paddy weeder, a rotary weeder promoted byIGAU, which is best suited for SRI operations. He also mentioned the needto do further research and modification on implements as SRI tools. Miss Sabarmati involved in promotion of SRI in Orrissa, throughSambhav, an Ngo based in Nayagarh district shared about her SRIexperiments and promotional efforts and related training issues in Orrissa.In Orissa farmers are in the forefront in adopting SRI and Governmentinitiatives have only begun. Use of only a small amount of seeds in SRI is of
great advantage in adhivasi dominated Orissa. Sambhav is doing Organicfarming since a decade. Chemical fertilisers are supposed to increase fertilitybut they are actually making soil infertile. Experimental land in Sambhav isof poor quality with more sand than clay making water retention difficult. Inorganic farming there is no weeds but one can use them as fertilisers bycomposting or mulching. Exhibition of SRI posters and local seeds from JSS & Dharohar Mr Chandrasekhar Sahu, Chairman, Chattisgarh State SeedCorporation participated in the afternoon deliberations. He said now there isan urgent need to focus on the ideas and research work done by late Dr. R HRichharia. His work on traditional rice varieties and farming knowledge isvery relevant now. The varieties from farmers and traditional knowledgeshould be used and systematically promoted. There is an urgent need to do athorough critique of green revolution strategies. Modern chemical farminghad made cotton and orange farmers of Vidharbha completely debt ridden.So we have to develop a program to make Chattisgarh an organic riceproducing state in a big way. He concluded his remarks with a slogan,“Local Rice ,very nice”. Mr Prafull Katre, Asso: Prof., Agri Engg Collage gave the vote ofthanks on behalf of all the organisers. In spite of the deliberations notleading to any policy decisions or discussions due to lack of time; theparticipation of officials and farmers from civil society was encouraging.Even though the event took place in the IGAU campus participation ofscientists was only minimal. This could be due to the still prevailingPrejudice against SRI among scientists and university administrators.
Orientation Workshop on MadagaskarSystem (SRI)Date: 20th September 2007.Venue: State Institute of Rural Development, Nimora, Raipur.The inaugural Session of the Orientation workshop was attended andChaired by Dr. R K Singh, Director SIRD.Jacob Nellithanam, Program Coordinator, Jan Swasthya Sahayog, Bilaspur,gave the introduction and welcomed the participants. Dr R K Singh , Director SIRD speaks at the Inaugural SessionA formal Inauguration was done by lighting of the lamp ceremony andplanting rice seedlings on a field model in a tray. Dr R K Singh Dr BahrulMajumdar and Dr Goud and other guests jointly lighted the lamp.
One of the Women farmers inaugurates by lighting the lampDr Bahurul Majumdar gave detailed presentation on Madagaskar method.He started by stating that if Tripura state can promote SRI rice cultivation, itcan be done in Chattisgarh state also. The method needs only 2 Kg seedscompared to existing requirement of 30-50 Kg per acre. This method is moreintensive in terms of farmers thinking and involvement on a regular basisand is not limited to sowing and a few operations in conventional methods.Keeping the farming crisis in mind we should think not only about today butalso for tomorrow. Looking at the crisis developing regarding water , weshould device ways to do rice farming using less water . Using a Power pointpresentation noted the system was being adapted and developed by tribalmarginal farmers through their innovative thinking and trials.A system in which every thing from seeds, water, labor, fertilisers andpesticides is less but higher in yields per acre is beneficial to farmers. Careneeds to be taken in uprooting the nursery seedlings; so that each seedlinghas soil and seed attached to it while planting. Plant seedlings gently byplacing seedling on top of the mud, taking care not to push down theseedling deep. This allow seedling to establish soon with out yellowing.
A section of the women participants In well drained fields more weed growth occurs should not be considereda problem; but can be incorporated as a green manure using rotary weedersat regular intervals of 10 days after planting. With about an inch of standingwater a minimum of 3 weeding should be done to incorporate weeds andallow soil aeration. Dr Anurag Bhargav, MD a physician from J S S, Bilaspur, made apresentation regarding the need for increased food production throughOrganic methods. Sharing from his experience of seeing around 250patients daily at JSS health centre what they see is the problemsrepresentative of the whole of rural India. Each day some 3 or 4 newtuberculosis patients comes, and is not seasonal like other common illnesslike malaria, diarrhea, cholera , fevers etc. If look at key reasons to illnessand death in rural India, we find under nutrition as the key to causation dueto lack of sufficient food intake and persistent hunger. Due to persistent lowfood intake the population don’t have weights according to their age and ismuch below minimum required for a healthy working person.Pregnant women are weighing only 25-30 kilograms. Infants aremalnourished from mothers womb itself and will continue to be underweightthroughout life. A person with low body weight will continuously fall sick.So in Chattisgarh, there is an urgent need to increase rice production andpromotion of Madagaskar system of organic rice production is the best
option before the state. JSS tries to popularize the system by farmer fieldtrials in villages of intensive health work.Fertilisers and pesticides used for chemical farming affect health by causingwater pollution and residues in food. It affects wildlife like birds, fishes andenvironment and farming eco-system adversely. Most vegetables we eat arepolluted with pesticide residues causing even fertility problems inpopulation. There fore diversified organic farming which will produce morecereals, pulses, oilseeds, vegetables and fruits to cater to the food needs eachregion is an urgent need. Roundtable seating facilities at the SIRD helped better communicationSelvam Ramaswamy organic farmer from Tamilnadu, explained in detail thefarming crisis and the alternatives developed by Organic farmers. Chemicalfarming kills the micro organisms in soil, thus increasing input costs further.This leads to indebtedness among farmers. Organic farmers produce‘Panchagavya’ and ‘Amrit Pani’ and apply to the fields thus increasingmicrobial growth and better nutrient availability to plants. Thesepreparations acts as growth hormones and provides resistance to plantdiseases and pests.Miss Sabarmatee, an expert organic farming trainer, in Orissa shared lessonsfrom experiments and training workshops in the state to promote SRI. InOrissa several orientation workshops and a policy dialogue with statedepartment were organised and government is taking measures to support
promotion of SRI. More over a lot of NGO’s is working notably Pradhan ina large scale.Farmers experience sharing sessionFarmers who have experimented in their own fields during the past one ortwo years were requested to share experience and opinion with theparticipants. Most of them did small plot trials measuring 10 to 20 decimals An women farmer sharing her SRI experienceBalram Baghel, Adhivasi farmer from Khajgaon in Kondagaon, Bastar his10 decimal plot where he planted local rice Safri yielded 2 Quintal Paddy,which means an yield of 5 tons per hectare.Sukhruram Nag also from Kondagaon said his villagers laughed at himseeing his SRI trial field initially but changed their opinion seeing betteryields on standing crop at maturity.Baliram Khasyap , Adhivasi from village Khadparhi, Kondagaon,experimented with local scented variety, Basmukhi and got good yield at thefirst trials itself.Revathi Bai a women farmer from village Barrar in Kota , Bilaspur; in herexperiment in 10 decimals planted with a superfine rice variety DRK got anyield of 1 ½ quintals. The number of tillers per plants was on an average 35.
Amarsingh a farmer from Rathkhandi in Kota, Bilaspur shared hisexperience in interesting details. In his 12 decimal plot he used less than 150gram seed and produced 350 Kg of paddy using a fine variety DRK. Theyield per acre work out to 30 Quintals .Mahesh Sharma , Program Manager, Organic Farming at JSS Bilaspurshared the overall experience of SRI promotion program in farmers fieldsand experimental trials at JSS campus. JSS maintain and experiments withmore than 70 local rice to estimate yield potential under SRI with onlyorganic inputs and do experiments to adapt SRI to rain-fed rice farmingsystems. In JSS program one farmer produced 9 Quintals of Paddy from his32 decimal SRI plot. If there is shortage of farmyard manure or compostgreen manure crop like Sunhemp or Daincha should be grown in the fieldand incorporated before transplanting after mid July or early August.Concluding SessionPost-lunch session was dedicated to discuss policy support and furtherpromotion programs in Chattisgarh, learning from other states experiencesDr. Majumdar explained about Tripura governments initiatives on SRIpromotion. In Tripura government gives a grant of 4,500 rupees per hectareto SRI farmers and provides weeders and bio-fertilisers. The SRI benefitswere explained to ministers and legislators to create political support. In theyear 2006-07, 14,000 hectares of rice area was brought under SRIcultivation. Chief Minister visited trial fields and is taking lot of interest.Training and video exhibition was organised through out state to createawareness and tours were organised by extension officers. Pamphlets andposters were printed. Even competitions were done among farmers.Dr Vinod Goud opined that the governments role is critical in SRIpromotion. Panchayat Raj Institutions can be mobilized and to promotefarmers field trials. There is a need to bring it to the notice of legislators.Training materials needs to be produced to give extensive training to farmersFarmers from various parts of the state like Rajnandgaon, Jhanjgir-Champa,Narayanpur in Bastar and Raipur expressed their interest to start SRIcultivation from next Kharif season.
Swami Adyanandji from Ramakrishna Ashram in Narayanpur, Bastar whoattended with his colleagues said they have benefited from the workshop andcommitted himself to initiate experiments and promote SRI in theforthcoming season.Mr Prafull Katre from IGAU discussing the needs of SRI- promotion andefforts of Agricultural Engineering college said they will work on improvingand adapting different weeders to SRI field conditions prevailing inChattisgarh. Will develop promotional material with the help of ExtensionDepartment and ATIC in IGAU, Campus. A group picture of the Orientation workshop participantsDr R K Singh, Director SIRD, giving his ideas on promotional needs said;there should be selection of farmers from each district who will demonstratefor other farmers. A district level coordinator should be also assignedresponsibility. Good training material needs to be produced for the wholestate. A website also will be a good tool. He had promised that SIRD willproduce a documentary on SRI next year with visuals from Chattisgarh.There is need for strong networking to share experience and ideas.The vote of thanks was given by freelance journalist Baba Mayaram. Healso undertook the responsibility of reporting the proceedingsMr Ajay T G, a documentary film maker did the video recording of theproceedings of both days meetings.