System for Rice Intensification (SRI), a technique of paddy cultivation, is being successfully used for cultivation of other crops including vegetables by small farmers in Ganjam district of Odisha.
Typically, the SRI is used for paddy cultivation to increase yield. But for the past few years the same technique is being used to increase the harvest of millet, maize, ragi and vegetables like brinjal, beans, green chilly in Ganjam district.
“The SRI method has reduced the use of chemical fertilisers, synthetic pesticides. They also use fewer seeds. Increased adoption of the SRI has improved awareness about organic farming among peasants,” said social activist Mangaraj Panda of ‘United Artists’ Association (UAA).
At present some farmers like Kailash Nahak have started experimenting spacing between plants in SRI method for cultivation of vegetable crops of the creeper variety. Some female peasants, like Prabhasini of Panibandha, have also started to persuade their in-laws and spouse to try out the SRI method.
“My success in increasing harvest of different crops through the SRI could change several farmers including my father-in-law and husband,” Prabhasini said.
According to her, the brinjal grown through the SRI method is tastier. In the traditional method, each brinjal plant yields at best two-and-a-half kg which has increased to about four kg with the application of the SRI method.
More than a decade ago, UAA and , ‘Swosti’, women’s organisation, had started promoting the SRI method among small and marginal farmers of Ganjam district, to increase their yield and income.
According to Mini Mohapatra, a social activist involved in promoting the SRI, initially farmers were sceptical about the new technique but with time they realised its high profitability in comparison to the traditional method.
After paddy, these organisations as well as farmers being trained by them started experimenting with SRI for cultivation of other crops.
“In the cultivation of millet, maize and ragi, the SRI method doubled the harvest,” said Ms Mini. Confidence gathered through these successes prompted cultivation of maize, ragi, brinjal, green chilly and beans through the SRI technique.
Source : The Hindu