Project interventions benefit sorghum farmers in Maharashtra
Recent ICRISAT-HOPE interventions generated US$ 541,000 for farmers in the Marathwada and western region of Maharashtra, India by improving on-farm productivity of postrainy sorghum.
Cultivated on close to 3 million hectares, sorghum is an important food and fodder crop of Marathwada and Western Maharashtra, India. Productivity of the crop has so far remained low because of poor adoption of improved varieties and cultivation technology by the farmers and the frequent terminal moisture stress affecting the grain yields.
ICRISAT partnered with Marathwada Agricultural University (MAU) – Parbhani and Mahatma Phule Agricultural University (MPKV) to attempt to reduce the gap between sorghum yields on-station (2.5−3.0 t ha-1) and those on-farms (0.58 t ha-1). This would ultimately increase farm incomes and promote food security.
Six clusters − Sanpuri (District: Parbhani), Limbaganesh (Dist. Beed) and Wakulni (Dist. Jalna) in Marathwada area and Hiwarebazar (Dist. Ahmednagar), Borkarwadi (Dist. Pune) and Aurad (Dist. South Sholapur) under Western Maharashtra region were selected considering the large area under postrainy season sorghum in these clusters. Seed of released varieties such as Parbhani Moti, Parbhani Jyoti, Phule Vasudha, Phule Chitra and Akola Kranti was distributed for cultivation in the project farmers in these cluster villages. Emphasis was placed on following the recommended agronomic management for each variety. During the 2009−10 season, the postrainy sorghum was sown in second fortnight of September to October. The crop received good rainfall at sowing, growth, flowering and grain development stages.
On average, the improved varieties yielded 1.8 t ha-1 grain and 4.8 t ha-1 fodder which was 54% higher grain and 30% higher fodder yield compared to the control (local check). Farmers are overwhelmed with the enhanced productivity of Parbhani Moti and Phule Vasudha and more farmers are encouraged to grow postrainy sorghum next year. Based on the markets prices received by farmers for their grain and fodder, the direct economic benefit to the region was around INR 25 million (US$ 541,000). MAU, MPKV and ICRISAT worked hand in hand with organizations such as DSR, SHGs, NGOs and the Department of Agriculture in this endeavor.