16) ICRISAT and partners launch knowledge sharing and watershed initiatives

Hyderabad, 04 July 2013 – The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid
Tropics (ICRISAT) along with the Government of Karnataka (GoK), JSW Foundation and Anandana Coca-Cola India Foundation launched three important watershed projects at ICRISAT headquarters here today.

The projects, namely “KrishiGyanSagar (KGS) and Krishi Vani: An Innovative Extension System” under Bhoochetana II; “Integrated Watershed Management in Bellary District”; and “Integrated Water Resource Management in Kolar District” will benefit farmers in Karnataka state of India and help in addressing issues of drought, soil erosion and nutritional deficiency.

Speaking on the occasion, ICRISAT Director General William D. Dar said, “I congratulate our partners on the launch of these much needed projects. I can see a good future for the forgotten poor farmers of the semi-arid tropics as we have today with us the Minister of Agriculture of Karnataka and representatives from corporates who share our vision of improving agricultural productivity and the livelihoods of rural people.”

“Participatory watershed management is a tested, sustainable and eco-friendly option to upgrade rainfed agriculture to meet growing food needs of the population. In addition, it offers multiple benefits in the form of addressing equity issues and biodiversity concerns. The programs launched today look beyond enhancing water use efficiency through good agricultural practices. They are initiatives that transform target villages into model villages through capacity building of farmers and science-led interventions,” he added.

Launching the KrishiGyanSagar and Krishi Vani project which is part of the Bhoochetana II project, Honorable Minister for Agriculture, Government of Karnataka, Mr Krishna Byre Gowda said, “With the launch of this project, the much needed strengthening of the extension system will take place, thereby empowering staff of the Department of Agriculture. The project will also ensure effective and timely monitoring of benefits to farmers." He also appreciated ICRISAT’s ongoing initiatives and collaboration with the Government of Karnataka.

The project will use Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-based tools and means to provide up-to-date information on soil nutrient status, package of practices, pests and diseases, taluk-wise nutrient recommendations, and crop related information in Kannada and English. In addition to tablet-based delivery of information in partnership with Digital Green, an NGO, farmer-to-farmer short videos will be made for farmers to be shown by Farmer Facilitators using battery-operated Pico Projectors. This will also enable the facilitators to track the adoption of the new technologies and obtain farmers’ feedback.

The Integrated Watershed Management project, an ICRISAT-JSW-GoK public-private partnership (PPP) was launched by JSW Group Chairman and Managing Director Mr Sajjan Jindal. “Together with the Government of Karnataka, industries like JSW and institutes like ICRISAT can help farmers with the best possible technical help,” he said. Apart from converging the activities undertaken under Bhoochetana, the project will address the safe use of wastewater in agriculture, and issues of human health and nutrition in the target watershed villages.

The third project on Integrated Water Resource Management in Kolar District of Karnataka with technical support from ICRISAT, was launched by Mrs Parvati Krishnan, Program Manager of Anandana-Coca-Cola India Foundation.

Underlining the success of Bhoochetana, an exemplar scaling up model covering more than 3.7 million hectares in Karnataka, Dr Suhas P Wani, Principal Scientist (Watersheds), Resilient Dryland Systems, ICRISAT, said, “More than four million farmers benefitted from Bhoochethana I which resulted in increased crop productivity by 20-66% in 30 districts, largely through soil test-based integrated nutrient management, improved seeds and soil-water management interventions.”

Dr Dar thanked Mr SV Ranganath, Chief Secretary, GoK; Mr Kaushik Mukherji, Additional Chief Secretary (GoK), and Dr Sarvesh, Director, Department of Agriculture and his team for facilitating and nurturing Bhoochetana’s success.

The occasion also marked the release of the book Bhoochetana: Process Documentation, Bhoochetana Plus Work-plans, and Proceedings of Review Meetings and Innovative Institutional Partnerships to Boost Productivity of Rainfed Agriculture in Karnataka, India.

For media enquiries, contact: Cristina P Bejosano, Head, Public Awareness and Marketing Support, Tel: +91 40 30713236, C(dot)Bejosano(at)cgiar(dot)org. or
Showkat Nabi Rather, Media Liaison Officer, +91 40 3071 3187, R(dot)Showkat(at)cgiar(dot)org.
by ICRISAT. All rights reserved.