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Innovative vegetable women farmer – a success story through adoption of new technologies

Innovative vegetable women farmer – a success story through adoption of new technologies

Smt. Shashikala is an innovative vegetable farmer from Pemmanahalli village of Udigere Hobli, Tumakuru Taluk and Tumakuru District, Karnataka. She has completed her S.S.L.C. and currently actively involved in the development of agriculture, horticulture and animal husbandry. Smt. Shashikala has got a keen interest in horticulture related activities and has developed good linkages with different public development departments like Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR), Bengaluru, Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Hirehalli, Tumakuru, and Karnataka State Horticulture Department (KSHD).

She is motivating women farmer members of various self help groups to adopt new technologies of IIHR. She is having a landholding of 4 acres out of which 1.5 acres is irrigated.

The story started with the introduction of improved tomato variety – Arka Samrat under plastic mulching in her field. Tomato is an important commercial vegetable crop in India. Tomato farmers are facing problems due to the climate change which leads to outbreak of pest and diseases, drought situation, bore wells going dry, labour scarcity etc. In last 3-4 years major diseases like late blight and leaf curl have emerged as devastating problems for tomato crop. Subsequently cost of cultivation has also gone up and labour shortage has a major threat for farming community. Farmers are finding it difficult to cope up with the raised input costs and other related problems. Smt.Saroja is also not an exception from these predicaments.

She is the member of a Sri Vinayaka Shree Shakthi – Self Help Group (SHG) which is having 20 members. The group meets once in every 15 days. The SHG group activity includes agriculture and horticulture planning, organic farming, animal husbandry and vermi-composting. She started growing vegetables like french beans, tomato, peas, brinjal, chilli and green leafy vegetables since 2010. Earlier they used to grow field crops like ragi, field bean, red gram and jowar.

Crops and varieties: Smt. Shashikala is growing improved peas variety of IIHR (Arka Ajit) and Magadi local. Arka Ajit variety has been grown in Pemmanahalli at her farm for the last two years. The yield details are given below in Table 1.

Table. Average 3 season performance of improved and local varieties of peas (2009-12)

Sl. No. Varieties Yield (t/ha)
1. Arka Ajit* 16.5 t/ha
2. Magadi Local 17.4 t/ha

* Arka Ajit is resistance to powdery mildew from which cost on chemical fungicides was reduced to farmer.

Similarly, the yield of french beans, which she has grown for three consequent seasons, ranged from 13.5 – 18.5 t/ha and the productivity is highest among nearby villages. She found Arka Suvidha variety better being stringless variety, fetching more price in the market. Traders found it to be suitable for local and Bengaluru markets. With Arka Anoop, she could get up to 17 t/ha. The variety is resistant to rust. She got a market price of about Rs.11/kg for Arka Suvidha compared to Arka Anoop and Arka Komal (where she fetched Rs.10/kg). She now prefers to grow Arka Anoop and Arka Suvidha because of their additional qualities and high yield.  According to her, Arka Anoop and Arka Suvidha are having good cooking quality as well. Earlier she is used to grow in same land ragi, jowar, field bean and red gram, in which she used to realize an average net returns of Rs. 20,000/- per acre. Now by switching over to short duration vegetable crops she is able to earn a net return of Rs. 60,000/- per acre.

Interaction with Research Institutes: She is in constant touch with scientists from IIHR, Bengaluru and KVK, Hirehalli for her technological needs. The seeds of improved varieties were provided for demonstrations by the IIHR since 2006. She has now become an expert in management of french beans production including pest and disease management. Smt. Shashikala being hardworking and innovative farmer, she has been identified as a techno-agent for dissemination of technologies in horticulture to other farmer of the area. Her services are also being used by the KVK to educate other farmers on improved vegetable cultivation.

Market Integration: In contrast to her visits to Bengaluru market earlier, now the vendors come to her place and purchase the produces. She has also motivated other farmers in her own and neighboring villages and about 15 farmers are now growing improved varieties of french beans.

Use of Organic Formulations:  In case of peas and tomato, she is now using ‘Panchagavya’, an organic formulation during the flowering stage. She has found it effective in controlling flower drop. Panchagavya is made with 5 kg of cow dung, 10 litre of cow urine, 1 litre of curd, 1 litre of milk, 1 kg of ghee. After keeping for 15 days, the solution is diluted with water in 1:10 ratio and sprayed.

Use of Vegetable Special: During her visit to IIHR, she came to know about the vegetable special for the tomato, beans other vegetables. The recommended dosages of vegetable special for french beans is 2 g/l. She is now using vegetable special regularly, as she has noticed that the fruit quality, diseases resistance of the crops grown have improved.

Use of Bio-fertilizer & Bio-pesticides: She has started using bio-fertilizers like Phosphate Solubilizing Bacteria (PSB), Azospirillum & Azotobacter for enriching the farm yard manure. She is also using bio-pesticides (Pseudomonas fluoresces, Paecilomyces lilacinus & Pochonia chlamydospria) for bio-controlling of pest and diseases.

Innovativeness: Smt. Shashikala, through her continuous training and interaction with scientists, is able to identify the insect pests of french beans, including stem fly, and is better in their management practices. After seeing the potential of the new variety, she has taken up seed production in the current year. The seeds so generated were supplied to the neighboring farmers. With her intervention they have started to grow different vegetable crops in a season in the village and as a result they are realizing better price in the market. She is convinced about the group approach in popularizing technologies among the farmers of her village. She has organized numerous group meetings with help of scientists from IIHR and KVK, Hirehalli. The meeting on topic like seed production in french bean, Integrated pest and disease management were organized, in which 12-15 groups of farmers participated.  The idea was to have good exchange of ideas, discussing pros and cons of technologies etc. She is convinced of bringing agricultural and horticultural development in the village through group approach.  By realizing the importance of growing vegetable crops she is diversifying to other horticultural crops like tomato, chilli, leafy vegetables and banana.  In all these crops she is following the recommended practices of IIHR, by interacting with the KVK scientists, and Division of Extension and Training.

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