The Bhoochetana programme launched by the State government in partnership with the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has helped farmers adopt better soil and farm management techniques to end stagnation and achieve 5 per cent annual growth in agricultural production.
A release by the ICRISAT on Sunday said that the success stories and the methodologies adopted in the Bhoochetana programme which helped farmers make a turn around in agricultural production in the State was launched through a video series available on the website www.icrisat.org/icrisat-100voices-bhoochetana.htm.
The key to their success was the large-scale adoption of integrated soil management practices. The video series, which includes 11 interviews, capture diverse views of farmers, policymakers and technical experts on how to implement initiatives on a large scale and adopt them from a farmers’ perspective.
Minister of State for Agriculture Krishna Byre Gowda pointed out that the Agriculture Department had adopted the Bhoochetana project on a large scale, trying to raise awareness among farmers on managing their soil better and paying attention to soil health to enhance overall yield.
“Micronutrient applications help increase soil fertility and the capacity of the soil to keep moisture locked. We are finding a difference in flowers, fruits, buds and yield,” says Mahadevi Morbad, a women farmer from Dharwad. ICRISAT partnered with the Department of Agriculture to ensure that there was agricultural growth – which was stagnant from 2001 to 2008.
“The major driver of success in Bhoochetana was the scaling-up initiative, which reached more than 4 million farmers over the last four to five years and increased crop yields by 20 per cent to 66 per cent,” Suhas Wani, Director, ICRISAT Development Centre, said. “It also helped Karnataka achieve an annual growth rate of more than 5 per cent since 2009, which was earlier stuck at 1 per cent between 2001 and 2008,” Dr. Wani added.
Total benefits accrued from the Bhoochetana in the State have been estimated at more than $242 million between 2009 and 2012.
Based on success of Bhoochetana in Karnataka, the ICRISAT has taken up a similar programme in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.