Training and exposure visits to demonstration fields with improved agronomy practising

The MSSRF DBT-KISAN sub hub I, Odisha team members conducted an on-field awareness and training on improved agronomic practices for millet cultivation. Improved practices such as seed treatment following the process such as- A liquid consortia of 5 ml/ Trichoderma viride carrier powder 5 gm was mixed thoroughly with 100 ml of water. After that, the prepared solution was mixed with 1 kg of seed, mixed gently and dried under shade for 2h and sown.

Likewise preparation of enriched FYM (A liquid consortia of 250 ml was mixed thoroughly with 3 litres of water. The prepared solution was mixed with 50 kg of FYM and left for 7 -15 days by covering with a plastic sheet. Then the mixture was again mixed with 10 – 15 quintals of FYM and applied in the field while preparing the field for sowing or transplanting), raised bed nursery preparation, line transplanting, SMI, intercropping, use of cycle weeder, pure seed collection etc were explained. A two days’ exposure visit (14.10.20 and 15.10.20) for 45 progressive farmers [M=35, F=10] from selected villages was organized and orientation on various technological interventions in the millet-based monocropping system and multiple cropping systems at Koraput villages was given. The finger millet varieties widely cultivated in this region are - Vairabi, Bada mandia, Bhalu mandia, Telenga mandia, Dudhkangra, Arjun, KMR 204. Along with finger millet, red gram, little millet, barnyard millet, black gram, niger etc. are also cultivated following mixed cropping/ intercropping systems.

During the visit, the farmers practising improved agronomic practices and packages of millet cultivation such nursery, transplantation weeding to harvesting, storage and value addition explained in detail to the visiting farmers. Throughout the exposure visit, good knowledge sharing and interaction among farmers was observed. Visiting farmers expressed their satisfaction and interest to improve their practices.

The project team visited farmers field in Koraput, Malkangiri and Rayagada respectively on 27th October, 3rd & 7th November 2020 for tagging up the best crop and soil management practices followed by farmers. During the visit, the team interacted and discussed the current practices they followed and the need for improvement and interest to adopt scientific advice in future. In addition, the young professionals working in the project were oriented on best-management practices, farmers details- data collection, compilation and planning for further activities. Demonstration trials on millet cultivation will be taken up in one acre and half acre model and will be finalized based on the suitability of crops and farmers need, with a supply of inputs, oriented in different soil conservation and soil health improvement activities followed by water harvesting/ water resources.

Feedback from Rayagada farmers

Our experience in this field visit was highly valued with great learning. It was an amazing experience to observe the development in the slope field and gave us the insight to cultivate millets along with horticulture crops like mango, cashew, etc. There was elaborate discussion among the farmers on seed rate, yield and cultural practices, etc. They gained confidence and assured to adopt these cropping patterns in their area as a sustainable model.

Feedback from Malkangiri farmers

Malkangiri farmers shared their experience about the exposure visit and said they were highly impressed with crop growth of millets in the field in Kundra, cultivated in ridges and furrow methods and intercropping with Mango along with millets, which is an innovative method for them. They were surprised to know about the yield is around 12 to 14 quintals/acre which was comparatively higher than the SMI method that they were following. They were convinced to follow the ridge and furrow method, an innovative and cost-effective methods in their respective fields during the next cropping season.

Feedback from Koraput farmers

All the farmers got a broad idea about different cultivation practices like System of Millet Intensification (SMI), Line Transplanting (LT), Line sowing (LS), Ridge & Furrow method and its additional benefits. One of the visiting farmers Mr. BasudevDisari was highly encouraged after discussing with local cultivators about the method of millet cultivation. The farmer Mr. Bharat Khilla was highly excited after seeing the demonstration particularly the ‘Ridge and Furrow method’ of millet cultivation (DudhKangra) at Kundura Block, Koraput. The female visiting farmers of Koraput were very happy since they had not visited such demonstration fields earlier. The farmer Ms. Tulsa Jani, a young enthusiastic farmer was very happy after seeing the intercropping of millet cultivation in the mango garden. All the farmers of Koraput were very optimistic to use the technology in their field as well as to adapt the new cultivation strategies for getting good yield in future.