Sustainable Farming System Approach: Technical Protocol
The Maikal hills region is predominantly tribal inhabited. They practice marginal agriculture where crops are mostly rain-fed and the communities have little or no access to quality seeds and fertilizers. As a result, invariably they end up harvesting equal or about 10-20% more than what they had sown. The prospect of crop failures due to erratic rainfall and pests and diseases make the agriculture more dependent on luck (God). In normal years they produce food grains which are just enough to last for 3-4 months. For rest of the period they have to depend upon wage labour, NTFP collection and other petty jobs. Thanks to NREGA they get 100 days ensured wage employment but even rural employment is limited in the forested tracts the prospect of development is limited due to various restrictive provisions of Forest Conservation Act., 1980. About 30% people are land less and therefore, they have to depend upon non agricultural sources. The Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) such as Baigas in Mandla and Dindori are further handicapped because they are not the traditional agricultural communities, and their agriculture is marginal due to lack of access to inputs and almost complete degradation of lands. Paddy is the main crop of the majority population followed by minor millets, inferior varieties of pulses and oilseeds, which include, kodon kutki, ramtili, maize, etc
For the purpose of developing a technical protocol for sustainable agriculture programme a workshop was held with the concerned stakeholders. It was there decided to first look into the tasks of women in the agriculture operations and their roles in the decision making process of these tasks. Further the reasons for their non inclusion in the decision making processes in agriculture operations and the psychology behind these decisions. The outcome of the brain storming exercise is as under:-
Decision maker M/F/Both)
|1.||Field preparation/ cultivation||Manual clearing of weeds||B|
|2.||Crop wise selection of field||Field inspection||B|
|3.||Crop wise farm preparation||Field bunding||B|
|Light plough (2)||F|
|5.||Seed selection||Own seed (cleaning)||F|
|6.||Sowing method (paddy)||Chhitka (broadcast)||M|
|Lei (germination method)||B|
|Biyasi (traditional method)||B|
|7.||Irrigation (by source)||Diesel pump||M|
|10.||Plant protection (insect/ disease)||Traditional||F|
|11.||Harvesting period/ time||-||B|
|13.||Collection of grains/ crop output||-||F|
|14.||Clearing of fields||Bullock||F|
|19.||Use of agri-income||-||B|
Of the total 34 operations, 12 are decided exclusively or determined by women and equal number by men. The remaining ten operations are decided by both. The women excusive works are generally manual and which require very little skill application. This is an area which require further probe.
Reasons for Exclusion of Women in Decision Making
Psychology behind the reason
|1.||Male household head decides roles in decision process||Traditions and old practices||Make society aware of its disadvantages|
|2.||Lack of knowledge||Illiteracy||General knowledge awareness|
|3.||Lack of decision making ability||Unfriendly environment||Meeting and sharing with knowledgeable persons|
|4.||Fear of failure in risk bearing capability||Women do not handle money/ household budget||Practice during training and demonstration|
|5.||Inability to understand existing levels of resources||General believe||Proper resource utilisization plan preparation|
|6.||Lack of general counting/ calculation skills||Poverty||Income into women farmers accounts/ joint accounts|
|7.||Poor understanding of marketing process||Lack of opportunity to understand market||Exposure to market|
|8.||Fear of machinery handling||Traditional mindset||Exposure to machinery|
The suggestive measures are/ will be taken care during preparation of training modules and capacity building programmes. With this background in mind detailed protocols are prepared for sustainable farming system approach.
Major components of Sustainable Agricultural Practices promoted among women farmers under MKSP:
- Integrated Farming System Management
- Land and Water Management
- Integrated Crop Management in rain-fed areas
- Integrated Nutrient Management
- Integrated Pest Management
- Integrated Agro Forestry Programme
- Integrated Capacity Building programme
- Building capacities of women through awareness generation; skill upgradation; demonstration; exposure visits; field facilitation for adoption.
- In-house training of trainers, CRPs; field demonstration in controlled conditions, farmer field schools, infield hand holding and demonstration in general conditions
The MKSP Team
CARD proposal has not sought any project staff exclusively for the MKSP project; it proposes linking the task with other running projects of CARD using the existing staff. The team therefore, in addition to the Project Officer, consists of the following;
- PLRP (Project Level Resource Person) - 10
- CLRP (Cluster Level Resource Person) - 50
- VLRP (Village Level Resource Person) - 450
The proposed strategy is that the PLRPs along with external resource persons (Subject Specialists) will orient the Master Trainers PLRP and CLRPs. Both these are on the paid list of CARD (PLRPs are project in-charges and CLRPs are animators), who will subsequently empower the VLRP/ CRPs. The VLRP/CRPs will take this process forward to the communities. The VLRPs are paid token daily fee for the task and that is what differs them from CRPs. Otherwise the larger team of 500 CRPs include VLRPs as well.
The Farming System Technical Protocols:
The technical protocols are being developed in participatory consultation with the above team. Each TP is discussed in detail and the traditional system and practices are understood first and new technologies are blended with this. For each TP a training module and training schedule is prepared. This is first disseminated amongst the CLRPs and VLRPs in the Central in house training. The practice (TP) is also demonstrated in the Central demonstration farm in Ghughari. Thereafter it is disseminated amongst the VLRP/CRPs by the CLRPs, who will subsequently share it with the communities.
I) Integrated Farming System Management: The tribals have marginal and uneven land holdings, a single agriculture approach would not yield best results, rather an integrated farming approach is recommended;
- Use of horticulture, pastoral, system in fallow land
- Inclusion of fast growing tree species, subabul, ber etc in agro forestry
- Adoption of three tyre system
- System of poultry, fisheries, and crop production
- Bund plantation with timber, fuel/fodder and fruit trees
II) Land and Water Management techniques: Following are the management and mechanical practices advocated:
- First a classification of land as per land capability
- Soil conservation for degraded land
- Bund formation for soil conservation and water harvesting (farm bunding, graded bunding, contour bunding)
- Guli plug, contour bunds, etc
- Farm pond on 1/10 approach
- Use of run-off and surface water for crop production
- Strip cropping, Mulching, Contour cultivation, etc
III) Integrated Crop management techniques: Crop Management in Rain-fed areas: integrated crop management
- Mix cropping
- Crop rotation
- Green manuring
- Cropping system-multi cropping, tires cropping
- Perennials on conservation furrows including green leaf manure plants.
- Cropping pattern with red gram in between the conservation furrows in 2:1 and 5:1 with millets and groundnut respectively.
Rain-fed Crop Management:
- Proper maintenance of seed purity
- Good growing conditions
- Proper timing and methods of harvesting
- Appropriate processing during threshing, cleaning and drying
- Appropriate seed storage and seed distribution systems
- Seed germination test and treatment before sowing.
System of Rice Intensification (SRI)
- Transplanting (25cm x 25 cm)
- Repeated use of single-row Mandava /cono weeder
- Application of organic compost
- Alternative wetting and drying
- Draining the field 25 days before harvesting
Farmers shall follow these practices for maintaining quality of locally available seed of various crops. Individual/ community seed banks can be useful.
IV) Integrated nutrient management techniques: This includes following measures:
- Soil Test and Soil Health Card
- Minimum use of chemical fertilizers and supplement nutrient demand by FYM and compost.
- Use of bio agent, NADEP, vermi compost, green manure, bio gass
- Compost (EFYM, FYM, jeevamruth, ganamruth etc)
- Vermi compost
- Green manures
- Bio fertilizer
- Chemical fertilizer
Amongst the above mentioned methods farmers shall use a justified combination to maintain soil fertility and productivity.
V) Integrated Pest management techniques: This includes following methods.
- Cultural method
- Mechanical method-deep plough
- Biological method-killing
- Chemical method-use of tricoderma, ,
- Application of Jeevan Amrit (gomutra, matha, karanj,neem, etc)
The above mentioned methods shall be followed by farmers in the given order: first, the cultural method as a preventive measure i.e. deep ploughing of land; mechanical method i.e. collection and destruction of insect eggs and larvae; biological method i.e. use of various plant extract; and chemical method when damage caused by insects cross the economic threshold level.