Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Eco-Technology and agriculture practice enhance productivity in SEVAI Project.

Successful women farmer as trained by  SEVAI
Learning student
Eco-Technology and agriculture practice enhance productivity and livelihood for marginal farmers in SEVAI Target villages of Trichirapalli District. Farm ponds play a vital role in providing irrigation source to the second crop of vegetables after paddy, in the main season in the wet land, Groundnut in dry land and Coconut. The bunds of these semi permanent farm ponds is strengthened by planting fodder crops like Napier grass to provide stabilization. In order to provide an alternative to water lifting, Treadle Pump/Pedal Pump technology, with a capacity to deliver 60- 80 liters of water per minute, shall be demonstrated and promoted. In the present conventional system of irrigation using small pots, a middle aged man could lift 2 pots per minute; that has the capacity of 20 litres per minute or 1200 litres per hour. But the Pedal Pump has the capacity to lift at least 3600-4000 litres per hour, which is more efficient than the conventional practice. Farm pond is a very common feature in the lands of all farming households; hence there is a good scope for the self replication of the technology. This technology is affordable and replicable. Generally farmers rely on their own source of seeds. They adopt a series of steps to select seeds for the coming season, and store them separately either in gunny bags or traditional seed storage containers made of rice straw ropes smeared with cow dung. The practice of seed exchange is not usually encouraged, and in case of non-availability of seeds, farmers depend on other farmers with credible social relationships. The other notable point is the practice of ‘vithai muhurtham’ (ceremonial seed sowing) to test the seed germination and viability carried out during the month of Avani (Aug -Sep). Only after this practice, farmers give seeds to other needy farmers. This can be considered as a cultural constraint, which hinders the easy flow of seed from one farmer to other needy farmer. This also creates an uncertainty on the
Author Govin
availability of preferred seeds.  In case of seed exchange, the usual practice is called “nellukku nellu” - whereby the farmer who borrows, has to return the same quantity after the harvest. In this situation, to ensure easy flow and timely availability of the preferred variety of seeds, a Community Seed Bank is introduced in the Resource Centre developed in one of the project villages accessible by all. The seed bank is managed by farmers, and operates on the basis of the norms and rules evolved for collection and distribution. In the future, it is expected to enhance the seed quantity and number of suitable varieties to meet the requirement of the entire farming community in these villages. In order to strengthen the income generating sources for the small and marginal farmers, as well as for the agricultural labourers, both women and men, appropriatetechnologies which are relevant to the local agro-ecosystem is promoted. Technology transfer, skill building, credit access and ensured forward linkage with the market are all mandatory for the sustainability of an enterprise. SEVAI team shall facilitate linkages with Financial Institutions and forward linkages with markets and backward linkages with the academic/research institutions. To promote the soil health in the fields and generate additional income to the farmer and labourer households, AM Biofertilizer and Vermicomposting are identified. The participating farmers and the members of the women SHGs from labourers’ families shall be involved in training and establishing production units.-Govin