Karnataka reaping it rich, thanks to ICRISAT

August 28, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 06:29 am IST - PATANCHERU (MEDAK DISTRICT):

Three initiatives - Bhoochetana, Bhoo Samruddhi and Golden Agriculture Village - taken up by the government of Karnataka, have been yielding excellent results.

As many as 47.5 lakh farmers are reaping the benefits of Bhoochetana over the past five years. Crop yield has increased from 20 per cent to 66 per cent, raise in agriculture growth since 2009 was more than five per cent, and $ 353 million net benefit accrued in the five years. Coming to Bhoo Samruddhi, the ongoing project has many successes to show - increased productivity of agricultural systems at pilot sites by 20 per cent in four years; increase in yields from 20-80 per cent; increased average family income goes up by 25 per cent in four years at pilot sites and; increased net income from $100 to $500 per year for household.

Under Golden Agriculture Village, launched recently, 105 villages will be developed as model villages in the first phase and targeted farmers’ income is set to increase by 20 per cent in one year through augmented productivity and diversification and market linkages. In all, 1000 villages will be covered under this scheme. This was the result of combined effort by the Government of Karnataka and International Crops Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). In another initiative, both Government of Karnataka and ICRISAT have started to brand Ragi. In this regard, recently, a workshop was conducted on the premises of ICRISAT last week, which was attended by Minister for Agriculture Krishna Byre Gouda.

“Millets are good from many points of view. So far, our efforts have focused on the supply side and there’s been considerable success in increasing yields and on more resilient varieties. But I feel the demand side has hardly been touched at all. Also, we want to find out what is holding back ragi through this initiative,” said Mr. Gowda.

As Karnataka is the highest producer of ragi in the country, producing around 70 per cent, an additional complementary initiative is to brand Karnataka ragi to build a unique image to further develop consumer interest.

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