Distribution of soil health cards to farmers at a field day. Photo: Nagaraju, ICRISAT

Opportunities for crop intensification in rice fallows

How farmers in Warangal district grew a second crop with residual moisture

Distribution of soil health cards to farmers at a field day. Photo: Nagaraju, ICRISAT

Distribution of soil health cards to farmers at a field day. Photo: Nagaraju, ICRISAT

Cultivation of early-maturing chickpea in rice fallows which hold sufficient post-monsoon soil moisture has led to better resource utilization and a boost in farm incomes in Warangal, Telangana, India.

In Telangana, paddy (rice) is grown widely with irrigation from tanks in the rainy season. Katakshapur in Warangal district is one of the tanks selected under the TIGR2ESS project to study sustainable crop intensification in dryland systems. The tank receives nearly 185.65 million cu.ft of water annually, irrigating over 546 hectares in four villages. However, post rainy season, the land lies fallow with a considerable amount of residual soil moisture, providing a good opportunity for crop intensification.

The TIGR2ESS project involved local farmers for an intervention to utilize this opportunity during the post-rainy season in late 2018. The intervention called for a sequential process using multiple disciplines.

  • Farmers were motivated to cultivate chickpea in  rice fallows.
  • Soil analysis was performed and soil nutrient status conveyed to farmers.
  • High-yielding chickpea varieties JG 14 and NBeG3 were provided for late sowing (mid-December).
  • Zero-tillage crop planter was demonstrated to enable the crop to utilize upper layer soil moisture.
  • Seed treatment and integrated pest management were provided.
  • Triple-layered Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) bags were given to farmers to store chickpea seeds for the next season.

As a result of this intervention, participating farmers could harvest 500-1000 kg/ha of chickpea on land that would otherwise lie fallow post monsoon. They supplemented their regular income with an additional income of at least `25,000/ha. This has encouraged farmers in neighboring villages to show interest in this initiative.

Considering that about 14.3 million ha (30% of rice-growing area) of rice fallows are available in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and India, out of which 11.4 m ha (82%) are in the Indian states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Assam, there is great potential for this initiative to be replicated across India for sustainable crop intensification and increased income generation for Indian farmers.

Project: TIGR2ESS: Transforming India’s Green Revolution by Research and Empowerment for Sustainable food Supplies
Funder: Global Challenges Research Fund, UK
Partners: University of Cambridge and Centers for International Projects Trust
CGIAR Research Program: Water, Land and Ecosystems

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