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State symposium assam 2012


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State symposium assam 2012

  1. 1. REPORT OF STATE LEVEL WORKSHOP ONAGRICULTURE IN ASSAM SRI AND ISSUES FOR SUSTAINABILITY ASSAM: 20th March 2012 Venue: Conference Hall of ‘NEDFi House’, G.S. Road, Dispur, Assam Assam-781006Organised by: Seven Sisters Development Assistance (SeSTA) in collaboration with RGVN and collaboration Actionaid SDTT, Mumbai
  2. 2. IntroductionAssam is predominantly rural and the economy is primarilyagrarian in nature. Agriculture in Assam exhibits most ofthe characteristics of underdeveloped/backwardagriculture, namely, a high dependence on agriculture forlivelihood, widespread practice of traditional farmingtechniques and correspondingly low usage of modern farminputs, low levels and low growth in productivity andincomes in the sector, widespread prevalence ofsubsistence cultivation, poor / inadequate agriculturalinfrastructure, and so on. Different governmentorganizations and NGOs have been engaged in variousprojects in order to help the farmers to tackle the problemsand face the challenges. In order to discuss these problemsand challenges as well as to find out fruitful solutions astate level workshop on ‘Agriculture in Assam: SRI andIssues for Sustainability’ was organized by Seven SistersDevelopment Assistance (SeSTA), a prominent NGO ofthe region and Rastriya Gramin Vikash Nidhi (RGVN) on20th of March in NEDFI House, Guwahti with the supportof PRADAN,Delhi, SDTT,Mumbai and Actionaid.Representatives from various government departments,NGOs and farmers participated in the workshop and gavePower Point Presentations sharing their experiences.1.0 Inaugural Session1.1 Welcome and Inaugural Speech: Prof. DulalChandra GoswamiProf. Dulal Chandra Goswami, renowned environmentalistand Chairperson of SeSTA inaugurated the workshop andin his inaugural speech he stressed the need for thecooperation between the people directly and indirectlyrelated to agriculture. He also said that scientific methodmust be implied in agriculture as most of peoples’livelihood of the rural area is dependent on it. Heexpressed high hope that young and highly qualified “Scholars of different fieldsstudents have been engaged in agriculture and also need to bring theirworking passionately for the overall development of this technology to the grass-rootsector. In his speech he gave a short description of the to help the poorest sectionSystem of Rice Intensification (SRI), how it evolved. Hetold that contribution of Dr. Norman Uphoff of Cornell of the society”International Institute for Food and Agriculture, Ithaca, -Prof. D.C. GoswamiUSA is significant to popularise this technology among thescientific community. Prof. Goswami told that being anenvironmentalist, he also emphasised the issues of
  3. 3. environmental sustainability of our developmentalintervention. He appreciated the effort of the civil societyorganisation in the field of popularising the SRI technologyat the grass-root level.1.2 Brief Note about the Workshop: Dr. AmiyaSharmaDr Amiya Sharma, Executive Director of RGVN and ViceChairperson of SeSTA delivered a brief note about theworkshop. In his short speech he said that in order to makethe farmers aware of SRI method, this type of workshopsshould be organized more frequently. Not only the farmers, “Such workshops help us tobut also the scientists and well-wishers must be invited tosuch workshops. He told that such workshop help us to understand different issues atunderstand different issues at the implementation as well as implementation as well as policypolicy level and that could help the practitioner to find out level and that could help thethe gap for its improvement. practitioner to find out the gap2.0 Session-I: Present Situation of Agriculture in for its improvement” Assam: Issues and Challenges before small and marginal farmers -Dr .Amiya SharmaChaired by: Dr. Amiya SharmaPanellists : Dr. Mrinal Barman, Assistant Director of Agriculture, Govt. Of Assam Tasaduk Ariful Hussain, NEST Mr. Ratul Ch. Sharma, FCI, Assam2.1 Dr Mrinal Barman, Assistant Director ofAgriculture, Govt. Of AssamDr. Mrinal Barman in his presentation pointed out that75% of population of Assam is directly related toagriculture and another 15% is indirectly related toagriculture. He also focused on the fact that people inAssam get engaged in agriculture only when there is noother option for employment. He added that there is agreater scope of employment in agriculture and youngstersshould realize it, because agriculture is the backbone ofAssam. He said that 60% of land of our state is unavailablefor agriculture and only 36% of land is available for it. Butthe livelihood of 85% of people is dependent upon this “There is a greater scope of36% of land, as such agriculture is very crucial as it employment in agriculture andcontributes ¼ of states’ GDP. He pointed out the youngsters should realize itchallenges faced by Assam agriculture are-(i)low percapita, (ii)poor soil health, (iii)low because agriculture is theproductivity,(iv)inadequate availability of quality inputs in backbone of Assam”time, (v)low level of farm mechanisms ,(vi)vast mono croparea, (vii) prevalence of rain fed farming and lack of -Dr.Mrinal Barman
  4. 4. irrigation facilities, (viii)lack of post harvest ,storage,processing and marketing facilities, (ix) dependence onoutside sources for seeds, (x)warm and humid duringkharif season, (xi)inadequate credit for high cost input,(xii)poor socio economic conditions etc.He suggested some measures to face these challenges.Primary focus to address the challenges are -(i)improvement of rice based cropping system byintroducing SRI, (ii)stress on rice production byintroducing suitable varieties, (iii)diversified crop planningwherever rice cannot be grown, (iv)increasing areacoverage of HYV paddy from 61% to 75% of total paddyarea , (v)expansions ion of area under Hybrid seeds toaugment and stabilize rice production, (vi)increasing seedreplacement rate(SRR), (vii)buffer stock of seeds for thetime of calamities, (viii)floriculture, (ix)value addition,(x)support price mechanism, (xi)supply of marketinformation etc.Dr Barman also spoke about the opportunities the state hasin case of agriculture.2.2 Mr Tasaduk Ariful Hussain, North East SocialTrust (NEST)Mr. Tasaduk Ariful Hussain gave a presentation on behalfof Actionaid. He gave a power point presentation on ‘RiceRisk of Assam’ and pointed out the market related risk ofrice production in the state. The population of Assam needs11,500 Metric Tons of rice daily and 41 lakh MT of riceyearly. In the same context the total rice production ofAssam is 40.7 lakh MT. So, there is only deficit of 0.7 lakhMT. But, FCI in 2009-10 procured only 13 lakh MT ricefor various welfare schemes and unfortunatelyprocurement of rice from Assam during this period is only “The increment of fuel price is12,000MT. FCI procured rice from Punjab, Haryana and also creating problems for thesome other states and as a result farmers of Assam don’t farmers in case of irrigation. Soget the price what they should get. The farmers even don’t production cost also hasget Production Cost from markets. More than 70% ofpeople of Assam are agriculture dependent. The increment increased almost three times butof fuel price is also creating problems for the farmers in the price of rice has notcase of irrigation. So production cost also has increased increased to that level. On thealmost three times but the price of rice has not increased to contrary rice price has beenthat level. On the contrary, rice price has been decreased.Another striking fact is that farmers need 3000-5000 liter decreased”of water for the production of 1 kg rice. In Haryana andPunjab, farmers utilize the groundwater for this purpose. - Mr. Tasaduk Ariful HussainThe people of those states don’t eat rice but they produce itfor Northern India. Furthermore, due to the transportation
  5. 5. of rice from distant states, fossil fuel is burnt in vain andultimate cost rises higher and higher. As a result FCI spendmore money for procurement than the actual MinimumSupport Price. Moreover our fertile soil and water sourceshave been unutilized. Moisture content is also a fact in thisregard. It is said that rice can be procured if there is only14% of moisture. But in Assam this content is never lessthan 17% because of the environment temperature. In caseof Sali it is 17-19% and in case of Boro it is 20-22%. Onthis argument FCI don’t procure rice from Assam. Butthere is a paradox that rice procured from Haryana, Punjabalso catches the same moisture content within 24 hours.FCI say that rice of Assam can’t be stored for a long timefor this reason .FCI can store rice for only 2 months. Butwe store rice in our granaries in villages years after years.According to Mr Hussain this is a ridiculous argument ontheir part. As, he said, Assam government never asked forproper norms in this regard. Oddisha government hasalready done this; eventually procurement norms havebeen changed. Again, there are inadequate numbers ofprocurement centres in Assam. He said that in order toprocure, we have to follow mechanized drying system.Nowadays we can dry 2 MT rice on a daily basis throughsuch systems. According to him there must be awareness tomeet the procurement norms.2.3 Mr. Ratul Ch. Sarma, Food Corporation of IndiaMr. Ratul Ch. Sarma from FCI also gave a presentation onprocurement norms of FCI and quality issues. Beginninghis presentation he said that procurement, movement,storage and distribution are the four objectives of FCI. Hereiterated that storage capacity of FCI is only 2.7 MT. Theprocurement problem , is also due to market structure. Wehave to have regulated markets in Assam to tackle thisproblem, in such regulated markets we will be able toprocure rice from farmers directly. FCI has requested theAssam Govt. as well as Central Govt. to take action.Citing some other reasons such as shortage of employees, “There is urgent need forFCI has not been able to purchase rice from farmer points. regulated market, modernHe added that, in order to tackle these problems we milling facilities and increasingstrongly need regulated markets. Moreover proposals to set storage capacity of rice to tackleup modern rice mills in the areas where rice production ishigh e.g. Kharupetia have been given. Summarizing his the market related problems ofspeech he said that there is an urgent need for (a) regulated rice”market, (b) milling facility and (c) storage capacity. -Mr. Ratul Ch. Sarma, FCI
  6. 6. 3.0 Session-II: Experience Sharing on Promotion of SRI methods of crop cultivation in Assam and other statesChaired by: Mr. Biswanath Sinha, SDTT, MumbaiPanellist : Mr. Satyanarayan Das, Farmer, Tamulpur Mr. Ratan Das, RGVN, Guwahati Mr. Tusar Das, SRI Secretariat of LivolinkFoundation, Bhubaneswar Ms Dhruva Mukhupadhaya, PRADAN, Bihar Dr Arunima Dev Choudhury, NFSM, Nagaon Mr. Parag Boruah, SeSTA, Bongaigaon3.1 Mr. Satyanarayan Das, Farmer, Tamulpur, Baska “In the starting our farmers failed to believe that how transplantation Mr Satyanarayan Das , a farmer from Tamulpur ,Baska of single sapling increases theshared his experience of SRI method. He stated the fact yield! But, after demonstration ofthat farmers don’t show interest in SRI in general, but aftergetting the benefit they adopt SRI. He emphasised how SRI techniques at field level,farmers of his region have been benefitted from SRI even farmers show interest on SRI andin time of rain water shortage. He in this regard, stressed adoption of SRI techniques isfor the need of bio-fertilizer. He also said that farmers increasing in our area.”clubs should be activated and officials of agriculture - Satyanarayan Das, Farmerdepartment must have friendly relations with the farmersand through the KVKs there must be awarenessprogrammes on a larger scale.3.2 Mr. Ratan Das, RGVN, GuwahatiMr. Ratan Das from RGVN said that RGVN hasemphasized on awareness of SRI method. He stressed forfarmers training, field demonstration, input supply, andalso said that the master trainers must be selected fromamong the farmers. If it is possible, farmers must betrained up through satellite communications, andemphasised on the training of Females involved inagriculture.3.3 Mr. Tusar Das, SRI Secretariat of LivolinkFoundation, BhubaneswarMr Tusar Das gave his presentation on ‘Progress andachievement under SDTT-SRI programme’. Giving a shortintroduction of SDTT, Mr. Das said that SDTT-SRI projectpresently covered 11 States of India and able todemonstrated the SRI method of paddy cultivation with 1lakhs small and marginal farmers. This SDTT supported “Demonstration at the state levelproject is implemented through 127 NGO partners and able upto a reasonable scale to establishto increase average rice yield to 4.68 t/ha, 38.8% more that SRI as a means to attain householdof conventional method(3.3 t/ha). Giving the example of food security is important”NABARD’s initiatives to promote SRI methods, Mr. Das -Tusar Das
  7. 7. also explained the initiatives of different State governmentto take this initiative forward. He cited the differentinitiatives in the field of research and innovation taken bySRI-secretariat of Livolonk Foundation.3.4 Ms Dhruva Mukhupadhaya ,PRADAN, BiharMs. Dhruva Mukhupadhya also shared experiences of SRImethod of paddy cultivation by explaining the context ofthe poverty situation in Bihar and relevant of SRI. In herpresentation she told that SRI principle could be applicablefor others crop also giving the examples of SRI method ofmustard, sugarcane and wheat cultivation.3.5 Dr Arunima Dev Choudhury , District ConsultantNFSM (rice),DAO office, NagaonDr. Arunima Dev Choudhury shared her experience in this “SRI is proved as a means forregard and said that only direct field level involvement of meeting food security in small andthe agriculture officials can help the farmers to acquire SRI marginal farmers in Bihar andmethod. In her presentation she gave a brief description of Jharkhand”initiatives of NFSM in the regards of promoting SRI. -Dhruva Mukhapadhya, PRADANGiving the example of ‘Community nursery’ andharvesting paddy by the Agriculture Minister’ were goodinitiative to popularise the methods of SRI at field level.3.6 Mr Parag Baruah, SeSTA, BongaigaonMr. Parag Boruah gave his presentation on ‘Experience ofpromoting SRI in Lower Assam area’. In his presentation,he stated the data that in BORO season there has been 50%SRI traditionally which is not a new thing. According toMr Baruah production of BORO is higher than Sali onlybecause of the greater involvement of the farmers. He saidthat in order to get the involvement of the farmers weshould make them aware of what exactly the agriculturepractice is. In this regard he said that well educatedpeople must go to paddy fields, and emphasised a strongneed of cooperation between NGO and governmentagencies. NGO people are good at motivating butgovernment people have the resource pools. According toMr Baruah, involvement of all stakeholders is essential in “Direct field level engagement ofthis regard. government officials is crucial to popularise the SRI technology at grass-root level” -Ms. Arunima Dev Chaudhary
  8. 8. 4.0 Session-III : Addressing the issues inAgriculture and Its SustainabilityChaired by: Prof. D.C.GoswamiPanellist :Dr.A.K.Gogoi, Zonal Project Director, ICAR, Shillong Mr R N Talukdar, AGM, NABARD, Guwahati Dr Dhiren Kalita from KVK, Kamrup4.1 Dr. A. K. Gogoi, Zonal project director of ICAR,ShillongDr. A.K. Gogoi gave his speech on issues of agriculturalsustainability. In his speech, he appreciated the initiativetaken by SeSTA in organising the workshop on a very “Extension workers support shouldrelevant issue. He told that educating the farmers about the meet the need of the farmersnew agriculture techniques is very important and ICAR is requirement rather putting them in aalways in a very cooperative position to support such confusing condition”initiatives. Giving the preference to the farmers’ needs, heemphasised that extension workers support should meet the - Dr. A.K. Gogoineed of the farmers requirement rather than putting them ina confusing condition. By giving the example of work doneby KVK Mizoram on SRI, Dr. Gogoi told that today KVK,Mizoram is known for the SRI. As an agronomist of morethan 30 years experience he suggested that extensionmechanism should meet the want of the farmers rather thanbombarding with various technologies which is not readilyunderstood by farmers.4.2 Mr R N Talukdar, AGM, NABARD, GuwahatiMr.R.N. Talukdar spoke about SRI initiatives of NABARDto bring this technology to farmers’ level. He also gavebrief description of different NABARD initiatives for therural areas. He told that NABARD’s initiatives on SRIcould be able to increase the paddy yield by 50-60 percentthan their yield earlier. He said that banks have alreadyincreased loans for farmers, but multiple cropping have notbeen carried out so far. Two farmers from Darrang andNalbari districts also shared their experiences and pointedout the different problems in agriculture they have faced.4.3 Dr Dhiren Kalita from KVK, Kamrup “Through SRI promotionDr. Dhiren Kalita gave his views on sustainability of theagriculture in Assam. In his presentation he spoke about programme of NABAR, farmersthe KVKs initiatives in this regards. Mr. Kalita said that could easily enhance their paddythrough SRI, farmers could be benefited more from yield by 50-60 percent,cultivating small piece of land. - Mr.R.N.Talukdar, NABARD
  9. 9. 5.0 Open SessionChaired by: Dr. Amiya SharmaDr. Amiya Sharma chaired the open session. In this session, participants raised different issues relatedto agriculture and SRI methods of rice cultivation. Prof. Goswami pointed out two major challengesfaced by the agriculture of Assam- firstly, the perennial flood problem which affects thousand hectaresof land and the resultant sand sedimentation making the land unproductive for many years; secondly,lack of assured irrigation facility at agriculture field. Prof. Goswami expressed that agriculture ofAssam is a gambling game of monsoon and irrigation facility of Assam, hence is one of the mostagriculturally underdeveloped in the country. Prof. Goswami suggested that one has to ensure qualityinput supply and assured irrigation facility to improve the agriculture in Assam. Considering thepresent agricultural practices in Assam, Mr. Sarat Ch. Das, CEO, Grameen Sahara told that at presentit is quite difficult for the small and marginal farmers to return back KCC loan to bank from theiragriculture produces. Mr. Das agreed with the opinion of Prof. Goswami and emphasised to provideassured irrigation facilities to the farmers to adopt modern agriculture technologies. Mr. Aswini Bhattacharjya of SeSTA told that agriculture in Assam is totally a political issue by pointing out that FCI purchases 30 Lakh MT rice from outside Assam, costing 4 thousand cores, which is much higher than the annual agriculture budget of Assam. Due to rice import, the rice price of Assam goes down (less than Rs.600 per Ql) and farmers can not consider the agriculture as a remunerative business. In this regards Mr. Bhattacharjya felt that the interventions of our people’s representative like MP and MLA is very crucial. He also told that if farmers adopted SRI technology, more production from less land can be achieved,which further help the farmers to diversify his agriculture and earn more money from his own land.Mr. Chadan Talukdar from GVM, Nalbari showed his interest to know more about the NFSM, Assamapproach to promote SRI in the State. One participant told that corporation between differentdevelopment stakeholders is very important to address the issues of farmers.After a fruitful open discussion, Dr. Amiya Sharma formally ended up the session with a request tosubmit the issues of participants in a written from to the organiser, to include those issues in theproceedings of the workshop.6.0 Release of SeSTA’s Handbook on Integrated pest and disease management in paddy cultivationA hand book prepared and published by Seven SistersDevelopment Assistance (SeSTA) on “Integrated pestand disease management in paddy cultivation” inAssamese language was release by Dr. A.K. Gogoi ofICAR, Shillong.7.0 Conclusion and Vote of ThanksThe workshop was concluded successfully with the vote of thanks given by Mr AswiniBhattacharya from SeSTA.
  10. 10. Annexure-I: Some Glance of the Work Shop
  11. 11. Annexure-II: List of participantsSl Name Organisation Contact no 1 Asif Bin Qutub RGVN 9864043386 2 Alakesh Malla Baruah FES , NE Cell - 3 Alok saha DISHA NGO 9706504645 4 Ananta Borah Kapilee Farmers Club 8876680753 5 Arup Das sSTEP 9954357578 6 Aswini Bhattacharjya SeSTA 7 Avinash Karn Amalgamated Plantation 8011005990 8 Bhairab Deka Sail Management and Biotech 9854937567 9 Bhupen Taid Rural Volunteers Centre(RVC) 957733253010 Biswajit Mazumdar GRAMEEN SAHARA 986479489211 Biswanath Sinha Sir Dorabji Tata Trust 993094510812 Cecilia Khozol ACTION AID 943506719013 Chandan Talukdar Gramya Vikash Mancha 986493461914 Debasish Acharjee SeSTA15 Deepak kr. Barman AMAR ASOM 986471788816 Dharani Sahariah SATRA 985471213317 Dhrubaa Mukhopadhyay PRADAN 854413124418 Dilip Gogoi PRAG News 995475468619 Dr. Anil Kr. Pegu Centre for Microfinance & Livelihood 943501429020 Dr. Arunima Deb Choudhury Dept. of Agriculture 943506396421 Dr. Birendra Kr. Pathak Agriculture Deptt. Govt. of Assam 970601273722 Dr. Mrinal Barman Agriculture 943504478923 Dwijendra Sahariah sSTEP 986498069124 Dwipen Baishya Pancharatna 986414741525 Elvina Deori SeSTA26 Haricharan Bezbaruah Pancharatna 882256628927 Hiren kalita Ajagar Social Circle 943572523828 Hitesh Medhi Pragati Rural Development Society 985448026229 Ikbul Hussain Assam Law House 985435291430 Jagat Baruah All Assam Krishak Sangha 985450047431 Jagat Bora Kapilee Farmers Club 950883957232 Janki Kumar Pegu Peoples Rights Forum 985993302033 Kirit Kanti Sen Gupta Food Corporation of India 943559658134 M. Banikya Article Writer On Agriculture 943555693235 Manoj Kr. Sarma INDIAN GRAMEEN SERVICES 967883288236 Md. Babul Ali Milijuli Farmers Club -37 Nilpobon Sabhapondit PRAG News 995463304938 Nipon Gogoi NEADS 995428103039 Pankaj Baruah All Assam Krishak Sangha 985940627540 Prasanta kr. Sahariah SATRA 985466798841 Purna Chetry Lok Seva Samity 9613430150
  12. 12. 42 Ratan Das RGVN -43 Ratul Ch. Sarma Food Corporation of India 986407284744 Saito Basumatary Peoples Rights Forum 943568702745 Sajal Kumar Deb Deshabandhu Club 943520125246 Samiran Medhi RGVN 985412288847 Sanjay Sarma FES 943511262648 Satya Narayan All Assam Farmers Club 995476919449 Sunil kaul THE ANT 943512204250 Surajit Borgohain SIRD Assam/ NRLM Assam 943501526751 Swapan Debnath DISHA NGO 986463667952 Swapan Kr. Sarma Gauripur Vivekananda Club 986484781053 Swarup Beria TECHNO SERVE -54 Tulashi Deka All Assam Krishak Sangha 920710757655 Tushar Kanta Dash Livolink Foundation 9439339438