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Bhoochetana, a 100 Voices series, records Karnataka agri growth success
Tuesday, 24 November, 2015, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
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The state of Karnataka has succeeded in large-scale implementation of better soil and farm management to consistently achieve about 5% annual growth in agriculture productivity for more than five years after previous years of stagnation. The state agriculture minister, government members, farmers and technical experts speak out on the success through Bhoochetana, a 100 Voices video series, launched recently by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), which played a key role alongside the government and farmers to turn around agriculture in the state.

Key to the success was the large-scale adoption of integrated soil management practices in agriculture. The video series, which includes 11 video interviews initially, is aimed to capture diverse views from farmers, policymakers and technical experts on how to implement initiatives on a large- scale and adoption from the farmers’ perspective.

According to Krishna Byre Gowda, agriculture minister, Government of Karnataka, the Government of Karnataka’s department of agriculture has adopted the Bhoochetana project on a large scale, trying to raise awareness amongst farmers on managing their soils better and paying attention to soil health, so that overall yield enhancements benefit the farmer.

“Micronutrient application helps increase soil fertility and increases the capacity to keep soil moisture locked. We are finding a difference in the flowers, fruits, buds and yield,” says Mahadevi Morbad, women farmer from the Dharwad district of Karnataka.

ICRISAT partnered with the department of agriculture, Government of Karnataka, to ensure that there was agricultural growth – which was stagnant from 2001 to 2008 and 70% of the population in the state depended upon agriculture for their livelihood.

“The major driver of success in Bhoochetana was the scaling-up initiative, which reached more than four million farmers over the last four to five years – and benefited farmers by increasing their crop yields by 20 to 66%,“ said Dr Suhas Wani, director, ICRISAT Development Center.

“It also helped the state of Karnataka to achieve annual growth rate of more than 5% since 2009 – which was earlier stuck at 1% during 2001 to 2008,” Dr Wani added. 

Total benefits accrued from Bhoochetana in the state have been estimated at more than US$242 million during 2009 to 2012.

Based on success of Bhoochetana in Karnataka, on the request of Governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, ICRISAT has been working in both the states. In Andhra Pradesh, ICRISAT is actively involved in designing Strategy for Primary Sector Mission, as part of Swarnandhara-2029, and is part of its execution in all 13 districts, through 13 pilot sites, each with 10,000 ha.
 
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