MitraMitra

by Ad9Mitra

Earnest willingness to take up challenges can make the difference and agriculture is no exception.

Here is yet again a successful case study from Dr. Reddy’s Foundation in Bandwan block of Purulia district in West Bengal. Earlier, we have read about lead farmer Nimai Ch. Mandi from Udalbani village who introduced paddy cultivation techniques to fellow farmers of his village.

Village Jamuna Gora

Jamuna Gora village is located in Bundwan Tehsil of Puruliya district in West Bengal, India. There are 155 households in the village. The village is situated 5 km away from the headquarters of Bundwan block. It is secluded with no touch of agriculture extension services as it is surrounded by forest and small hills. The population of the village belongs to the tribal community and all the farmers cultivate and rear goats in a traditional way. The farmers are inclined towards daily wage jobs as it helps to earn quick money despite owning agricultural land.

Sahebram Besra

Sahebram Besra, aged 42, is a farmer from Jamuna Gora village. He completed his education till 8th standard. He lives with his mother, wife, two kids and an uncle who is handicapped and unfit to work. Thus, this leaves Sahebram and his wife as the sole earners of the family. Their annual income ranges anywhere between Rs. 30000 – 40000.

Sahebram owns a total of 4-acres of land on which he cultivates paddy and vegetables, besides rearing goats on the farm. He aspires to increase his income to support his aging mother, ill uncle and provide a better education for his children. One day, Sahebram heard from few fellow villagers about farmers who earn nearly double the income by adopting the new methods of agriculture. He further adds “amader anek kutum bachare ek theke du lakhs rojgar karche natun padhati abalamban kare, aami ebong amader gramer anek chasi amader rojgar barate parba”. (There are so many relatives who earn one to two lakhs in a year by adopting new method of agriculture. I believe that my fellow farmers and I can earn more if our cultivation is done by adopting the proper method.)

The Journey of Sahebram with MITRA

Sahebram learned about MITRA initiative in July 2016. He attended a community meeting, followed by three capsules-based training and one expo organized by Bandwan team of MITRA. Thereafter, he was chosen as the lead farmer by his fellow farmers. On hearing the success story of a lead farmer, Jadunath Gorai of Jharkhand and his progress on the field has inspired Sahebram to take active part and responsibility in attending all forum meetings.

There were various capsules-based training organized by MITRA team of Bandwan, some of them were about the importance of soil test and paddy cultivation. With a desire to bring change in agricultural method, he adopted SRI paddy cultivation in his land with the Bullet seed variety and also followed all the critical steps he learned in the training. He also went for Yield Assessment as per scientist recommendation (Square Meter Method). He adds, “Anya lead farmer der 12-20 diner chara lagiyeo kachakachi falan eseche, parer bar aami eai rakam ardhek jamite karba”. (The transplant of 12-20 days seedling is critical, he would follow this method and urge his fellow farmers to do so as well).

Pic 1: Soil sample collection training session
 

Overview of the Demonstration –

Parameters Demo Plot (3-acre) Control Plot (5-acre)
Expenses 1082 1320
Tiller 24 9
Production 7 quintals 5 quintals
Net income Rs 6000 Rs 3200

 

Pic 2: Sahebram and fellow farmers at Paddy training session
 

Sahebram’s strong desire to help his fellow farmers urged him to arrange two live demos on the critical steps of seed treatment and transplanting. In the seed treatment, live demos were given to seven fellow farmers who were present while six farmers were present at the time of transplanting. He had taken initiative in arranging one Informal Learning Meeting (ILM) with all the critical steps and it was attended by 9 farmers. Apart from this, he had also arranged one field day where 18 farmers participated in the meet.

Pic 3: Sahebram at his paddy nursery farm
 

According to him by 2019, 12 -14 farmers would adopt this method as they enquired about the availability of the cono weeder. He also received queries from fellow farmers about various crop-related issues and solving their queries makes him feel proud.

Pic 4: Sahebram and fellow farmers transplanting 12-day seedling
 

Connectivity with kisaan call center and ADA office

While undergoing various agricultural training, he learns about the toll free kisaan call center number 18001801551. He registered his number with the same and reaches out to them frequently to inquire about crop-related issues. This helps him immensely as he receives is the answer in his mother tongue Bengali. One such incident that helped Sahebram’s team of farmers was when they received a weather forecast warning from the call center to take measures to protect crops. He made a visit to ADA office accompanied by another lead farmer and got pesticides.

Sahebram towards the end, stresses on the fact that some of the fellow farmers experienced loss due to rain which resulted for them to become more interested in his farming methods and techniques learned from MITRA.

Pic 5: Sahebram demonstrating the difference between the tiller of demo plot and control plot
 

Future Plans

Talking about his future plans, being a leader farmer, he wants to utilize one bigha land for vegetable farming. According to him, there is a need for one more season of support from MITRA team for vegetable crops, after which he would be able to manage the system of MITRA more efficiently.

Pic 6: Sahebram with his harvest

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Innovation and determination transforms method in agriculture