39) Transferring Technology from Lab to Land: Integrated Watershed Management (February 2001)

"For managing water effectively, the most appropriate land unit is the watershed." This is how Dr William Dar, DG ICRISAT, summed up the raison d'etre for the 2-day Farmers Training Program on Integrated Watershed Management held 7-8 Feb 2001 at Adarsha Watershed in Kothapally village in Ranga Reddy (RR) district, Andhra Pradesh. One hundred and five farmers from five watersheds in Nawabpet Mandal of RR district participated enthusiastically in this workshop, the first of its kind. The workshop was organized by Dr S P Wani and his team in NRMP, in close collaboration with the district authorities and the Drought-Prone Area Project (DPAP).

In his inaugural remarks, Dr Dar briefly explained to the visiting farmers the mission of the Institute; the critical role of water management in SAT agriculture; and ICRISAT's achievements and on-going research in Kothapally, and elsewhere in the world, in the management of this critical resource.

Farmers received training in various areas of watershed management such as improved land management, water harvesting and storage structures, improved agricultural equipments, integrated nutrient management, vermicomposting, nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV) production, improved cropping systems, and soil conservation measures.

Farmers from Nawabpet Mandal were curious and eager to learn new crop and land management options. They showed keen interest in the use of the tropicultor to cultivate land; and in the broad bed and furrow (BBF) system as a solution to waterl ogging in Vertisols. They also collected information on cultivating soybean, pigeonpea and chickpea.

Mr Ajay Jain, District Collector, RR District, complimented ICRISAT on adopting the Kothapally watershed and demonstrating the benefits of integrated watershed management in terms of increased crop yields, reduced use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, increased ground water levels and conserving water and soil. Ms Sridevi, DPAP Director, highlighted the important components of the Kothapally watershed model, in which a consortium of institutions is working together to help farmers. She thanked the ICRISAT team for its excellent work at Kothapally.

At Kothapally, farmers from the Adarsha Watershed took the lead in explaining the improved methods that they follow, and results of the experiments that they have conducted. Women farmers demonstrated vermicomposting methods, and Kothapally youth gave details of NPV production in their village. The training course thus combined skills of scientists and farmers, and effectively transferred technology from lab to land.

The visiting farmers were enthused into replicating the Adarsha Watershed model in their own villages. They in fact resolved to make five more Adarsha watersheds and requested DPAP and ICRISAT to help them in making this dream come true! The farmers had indeed taken to heart Dr Dar's remark that, "This is a seed of the Second Green Revolution for the dry and marginal areas like the SAT. I hope everyone here today shares this dream."

by ICRISAT. All rights reserved.