Accelerating pulse production in southern India

Farmer preferred variety seeds distributed at project locations. Photo: ICRISAT

Farmer preferred variety seeds distributed at project locations. Photo: ICRISAT

Pulse farmers across Telangana and Karnataka are being exposed to new technologies, varieties, hybrids and innovations in agronomic practices, for improving productivity and thus contributing to the Indian national program of attaining self-sufficiency in pulses.

During a recent project review meeting, partners discussed challenges in the seed supply chain, technology uptake by farmers, scale-up challenges, need for developing standardized protocols for agronomic practices, need for mechanization and other issues faced on field and shared work plans for the coming year.

Partners shared some of the impacts from the third year of the project:

  • As part of out-scaling efforts 1,162 farmers (607 pigeonpea and 555 chickpea) from 28 new villages were involved in the third year.
  • In spite of severe drought, partners could procure 165.8 tons of pigeonpea and 18.3 tons of chickpea certified seeds, for the fourth year.
  • Foliar application of soluble fertilizer and management of Maruca, improved agronomic practices such as sowing methods (dibbling, transplanting), plant to plant spacing and nipping, use of micronutrients, pre- and post-emergence herbicides, integrated pest management (IPM) vs chemical (farmers’ practice) resulted in 15-20% yield increase in various locations.
  • Need based application of chemicals at various demonstrations brought about 50% reduction in pesticide use against the traditional practice.
  • Improved affordable storage at village level, was adopted by 500 farmers.
  • The activities planned for the fourth year of the project include:
  • Identify 150 new farmers in each crop and region (600 new farmers) from six villages in Telangana and Karnataka each.
  • Conduct demonstrations in new villages on best-bet practices such as dibbling, trimming, trap crops, IPM and post-harvest of pigeonpea and chickpea and include improved varieties.
  • Conduct six farmer participatory varietal trials on pigeonpea and chickpea, one at each location under Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and Regional Agriculture Research Stations (RARS).
  • Organize ecofriendly pest management options such as seed treatment, monitoring key pests through pheromones and use of biopesticides and need based application of chemicals at all target sites.
  • Conduct meetings in the villages and disseminate soil health results and create awareness about improving soil health to enhance production.

Critical gaps in seed availability are being addressed by setting up village based seed enterprises. A seed enterprise in Ramapuram village, Mahabubnagar, Telangana, registered as the ‘Ramapuram Farmers’ Cooperative Society’, procured 12 tons of chickpea (varieties JG11 and NBeG 3) and 200 kg of pigeonpea (ICPH 2740) and sold them to farmers making a net profit of ₹125,000 (US$2,080). In the second year, the society took up seed production of chickpea and pigeonpea and procured 21 tons of chickpea and 2 tons of pigeonpea seed of improved varieties and stored them in the village.

In Karnataka a formal seed unit was established by University Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Raichur and linkages were established between the project activities supporting seed production of pigeonpea and chickpea, with the seed unit. They were able to procure 5 tons of pigeonpea and 10 tons of chickpea seed.

Speaking on the importance of partnerships, Dr Suhas Wani, Research Project Director, Asia Research Program, ICRISAT, in his opening remarks said, “Our partners enable us to have direct access to the farmers. Partners have a wealth of information on, what are the farmers’ demands, what are their constraints and what are the challenges they face in implementing recommendations, so that our research can be tailored to fit their needs.” Dr SA Patil, Advisor to the project, appreciated the progress made and the contribution by ICRISAT.

The project review and planning meeting, held on 11 May, was attended by all project partners.

  Project: Increasing Food Legumes Production by Small Farmers to Strengthen Food and Nutrition Security through Adoption of Improved Technologies and Governance within South-South Cooperation

Investor: OfficeDes Cherifien Phosphate (OCP) Foundation

Partners: Department of Agriculture, Telangana; Department of Agriculture, Karnataka; Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University, RARS Palem; University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) Raichur; KVK Raichur; KVK, Gulbarga; KVK Raddewadghe; KVK Bidar; and ICRISAT.

CGIAR Research Program: Grain Legumes

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