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0879 Food Security and SRI: PRADAN’s Experience in Eastern India


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Presenter: PRADAN

Audience: 3rd National SRI Symposium,
TNAU, Coimbatore, India

Subject Country: India

Published in: Technology, Travel
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0879 Food Security and SRI: PRADAN’s Experience in Eastern India

  1. 1. FOOD SECURITY AND SRI: PRADAN’s Experience in Eastern India 3rd National Symposium on SRI, Coimbatore, Dec. 01-03, 2008
  2. 2. Food Security Scenario at the National Level <ul><li>Per capita land availability is going down </li></ul><ul><li>Number of marginal holders is increasing </li></ul><ul><li>Food availability has been going down since 1991 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Availability of pulses has gone down significantly </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Average productivity of rice remains less than 2.5 tons/ ha on 75% of the land under rice </li></ul><ul><li>A smallholder household with five members needs about 2 tons of food grain (cereals and pulses) + some vegetables + cash to buy other necessities/ services; but </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most have only about 0.5 ha of land suitable for rice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Given average productivity, most smallholders are food insecure </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Per Capita Land Availability State Population (in million) Agricultural land (in million ha) Average land availability per capita (in ha) Bihar 85 7.05 0.08 W.Bengal 80 5.4 0.07 Year Cropped area Total population Overall average land per capita 1951 131.89 361.1 0.37 1971 165.79 548.2 0.30 1991 185.74 846.3 0.22 2001 190.76 1,027 0.19 2051 200 1,600 0.13
  4. 4. Smallholders distribution in Bihar
  5. 5. Per capita food grain availability (per day, in grams): Food grain availability is decreasing, affecting food security of the poorer (Source: Year Rice Wheat Other Cereals Cereal Pulses Pulse available as % food grain Total Food Grains 1951 158.9 65.7 109.6 334.2 60.7 15% 394.9 1991 221.7 166.8 80 468.5 41.6 8% 510.1 2000 206.4 160.1 60.1 426.8 31.9 7% 458.6
  6. 6. Area, Production and Productivity of Rice, by Productivity Categories  Source: Productivity Groups Area (million ha) Percentage of all-India rice area Production in million tons Percent of all-India production Productivity (kg/ha) High  (>2.5 tons/ha) 12.06 26.90% 37.42 42.80% 3,103 Medium  (2.0-2.5 tons /ha) 7.77 17.30% 17.45 20.00% 2,246 Medium-Low (1.5-2.0 tons/ha) 7.54 16.80% 13.38 15.30% 1,775 Low  (1.0-1.5 tons/ha) 11.58 25.80% 14.22 16.30% 1,228 Very low (< 1.0 ton/ha) 5.93 13.20% 4.9 5.60% 826 TOTAL 44.78 100% 86.88 100% 1,940
  7. 7. Estimation of raw rice productivity per capita available land considering different yield potential Note: Table derived by dividing available agricultural land by population This shows how relevant SRI could be to address the issue of food security for the next generation in areas with both high & low population density Areas Yield of raw grain / ha Yield of processed grain / ha Per capita land available Food grain / per capita land available Per capita annual food grain requirement @ 500 gm / day Lower population density 2,000 1,200 0.2 240 182.5 3,000 1,800 0.2 360 4,000 2,400 0.2 480 Higher population density 4,000 2,400 0.08 192 5,000 3,000 0.08 240 8,000 4,800 0.08 384 10,000 6,000 0.08 480
  8. 8. Salient features of the area where PRADAN has intervened <ul><li>Undulating terrain, resulting in high runoff and soil erosion </li></ul><ul><li>Water retention increases as one moves from ridge to valley </li></ul><ul><li>Receives high rainfall (1,200 to 1,600 mm), but limited, risky groundwater </li></ul><ul><li>Predominance of rainfed agriculture; subsistence farming – primarily mono-cropped paddy, low cropping intensity </li></ul><ul><li>Crop fails once in every three years, due to prolonged dry spells </li></ul><ul><li>Soil depth increases towards valleys with rich clay deposit over a bed rock at variable depth </li></ul><ul><li>Prolonged (8-month) dry period following monsoon (4 months, 50 – 70 rainy-days) </li></ul><ul><li>Physical soil properties – top soil is poor in organic matter, with thin layer and gravely or sandy sub-strata with high permeability </li></ul><ul><li>Irrigation & fertilizer-based intensive agriculture have very limited reach and reliance on them is unsustainable </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Noteworthy feature of land owned by a smallholder : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All households have each type of land, although the poorer households may have most of their land in the upper reaches, with very little valley land </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. State-wise percentage coverage of irrigated area under rice, 1997-98 <ul><li>States with high irrigation coverage: % </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Andhra Pradesh 96.4 </li></ul></ul><ul><li> Tamil Nadu 93.2 </li></ul><ul><li>States with low irrigation coverage: % </li></ul><ul><ul><li>West Bengal 25.9 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bihar (including Jharkhand) 40.4 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Orissa 36.2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Madhya Pradesh (including Chhattisgarh) 23.6 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategy to sustain SRI has to be different than usual; PRADAN promoted SRI with SC/ST communities cultivating under rainfed conditions </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. PRADAN’s effort <ul><li>Started intervention in kharif in 2001 and major intervention points were: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Change in seed and seed rate; seed treatment with quality nursery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Timely transplanting – within 25 days </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Number of seedlings per hill was brought down from 7-8 to 2-3 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Application of basal dose of inorganic fertiliser (NPK) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduced green manure crops </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Results: yields increased to 6 tons/ ha with a modal value of 4 tons in low lands. </li></ul><ul><li>Difficulties faced : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Seed replacement: procuring truck-loads of certified seeds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Application of right doses of chemical fertilisers, particularly among the poorer communities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Timely supply of inputs at the doorstep of the target families </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensuring transplantation at proper age; seedlings often got over-matured or dried up due to late arrival of monsoon. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Growing second nursery was not feasible as the cost of seed was prohibitive </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. PRADAN got interested in introducing SRI <ul><li>Primary reasons were: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lower seed rate: Could to motivate farmers to go for additional new nurseries in case of delayed monsoon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduced time in nursery: This might help farmers go for nurseries as late as the middle of August if monsoon arrived late </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extra root growth : Exploit soil moisture at low depth in dry spells </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Higher yield: Could help marginal farm-families (with average 0.4 ha of land available for rice) to attain food security </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2005 average SRI yields/ha ranged from 3.75 tons/ha in Keonjhar (Orissa) to 7.5 tons/ha in Purulia (West Bengal) </li></ul><ul><li>PRADAN promoted SRI first with 4 families in 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>then: 6,200 families on 632 ha in 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>10,400 families on 1,080 ha in 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>20,000 families on 2,200 ha in 2008 </li></ul>
  13. 13. Constraints experienced in scaling-up SRI <ul><li>No irrigation facilities, so alternate wetting and drying could not be practiced – rainfed SRI only </li></ul><ul><li>Prolonged deep-standing water during monsoon season - Most of the roots got damaged by booting-leaf stage </li></ul><ul><li>Some of the farmers who adopted wider spacing (12 inches) experienced low tillering due to poor land condition or dry spells </li></ul><ul><li>Many farmers have gone for single-seedling transplantation with closer spacing, about 6 inches or less </li></ul><ul><li>Many farmers failed to transplant when the nursery was ready (at 12 days old) due to unavailability of rain, and reverted back to traditional methods </li></ul><ul><li>In some fields, because of the nutrient-deficient soil, the prolific vegetative growth got affected during the reproductive phase </li></ul><ul><li>Most farmers do not have sufficient organic manure to replenish the soil adequately </li></ul><ul><li>Some farmers reported reduction in yield after a couple of years </li></ul>
  14. 14. Concerns from the field <ul><li>This year’s SRI yield in Purulia will be low in most fields because farmers have modified SRI to an extent that it does not qualify as SRI, and thus may lose its relevance to excite smallholders </li></ul><ul><li>There have been large drop-outs in Barabazar block (Purulia); only 87 farmers reported practicing SRI against 600 last year </li></ul><ul><li>4,352 families in Gaya practiced SRI this year – 25% lost their crop due to drought and the rest (75%) are struggling to save their crop. However, non-SRI farmers have suffered greater losses than SRI </li></ul>
  15. 15. Variations in practices (sample at Purulia) Operation % of farmers Both-direction lines 25 One-direction line 70 Proper drainage system 32
  16. 16. Counting 72 tillers/hill, but the field is dry at time of flowering and had no irrigation support photo removed
  17. 17. Dried SRI field in 2005 in Purulia Photo removed
  18. 18. Dry weather for long time (Khizasarai, Gaya) Photo removed
  19. 19. Green manure improves soil status – but difficult to introduce due to dry spells Photo removed
  20. 20. A small water body to save the crop from dry spells Photo removed
  21. 21. Excavated soil is used to prepare a well drained raised bed to grow vegetables Photo removed
  22. 22. Excavated soil is used to prepare a well-drained raised bed to grow vegetables Photo removed
  23. 23. Rearing fish also add to protein supply to the family Photo removed
  24. 24. Thank You Dinabandhu Karmakar, PRADAN