HOPE turns into reality in Western Maharashtra
The joint efforts of ICRISAT and Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidhyapeeth (MPKV) in enhancing postrainy sorghum productivity in farmers’ fields in Western Maharashtra in India are bearing fruit the second year in a row. Together with Marathwada Agricultural University (MAU) and the Directorate of Sorghum Research (DSR), they have been partners in the ICRISAT-HOPE Dryland Cereals Project for the last two years.
Thanks to the project’s interventions in 2009-10, 3500 farmers in the region have been able to generate additional incomes of US$ 216,000 by improving on-farm grain and stover productivity of postrainy sorghum. Similar impact was observed in Marathwada region of Maharashtra.
ICRISAT’s partnership with MPKV attempts to reduce the gap between yields on station (2.5−3.0 t ha-1) and those on farms (0.58 t ha-1), ultimately increasing farm incomes and promoting food security. Three clusters − Hiwarebazar (Ahmednagar district), Borkarwadi (Pune) and Aurad (South Sholapur) − were selected for project interventions. Seed of released varieties such as Phule Vasudha, Phule Anuradha and Phule Chitra was distributed for cultivation and recommended agronomic practices were followed for each variety. Favorable weather conditions and the adoption of improved cultivars and management practices helped boost yields substantially. On average, improved varieties yielded 1.7 t ha-1 grain and 4.2 t ha-1 fodder, 54% higher grain and 30% higher fodder yield compared to the control (local check).
During the third week of December, project Global Coordinator George Okwach visited farmers’ fields in Hiwarebazar cluster to review the progress of activities
and the response of farmers to interventions. George, along with A Ashok Kumar, ST Borikar, SR Gadakh, Uttam Chavan and officials of the Department of Agriculture, interacted with farmers in the project villages and members of the Jhakhangaon Co-operative Society.
The team was overwhelmed with the farmers’ response to productivity gains made during the last season and anticipated gains in the current one. Compared to last year, more farmers have adopted the recommended spacing and timely intercultural operations. The seed replacement ratio has risen to over 50% with the introduction of new varieties. This year, over 5000 farmers have been roped in for direct interventions by the project.