Newsletter

Newsletter no 23 : Our progress report of past three months

SJT – Saguna Jalsanvardhan Technique A new technique to revive existing water bodies : 

    Many water bodies have been polluted by biological waste which has caused growth of floating plants such as Water Hyacinth & Pistia. This growth is on hundreds and thousands of hectors of water surface area causing death of that particular water body. These floating plants even though suck away pollutants they also create anaerobic condition and thus help generate obnoxious gases. They considerably slowdown the speed of water flow and also cause death of animals like fish and turtles. They also become heaven for breeding mosquitoes and such other insects.

  One of the small water body at Saguna Baug was also affected by this problem which we could bring back to life by persistent efforts based on our experience of SRT and SVT.

Because of this experience based knowledge we are now invited to revive a historical water body at Aurangabad called “Salim Ali Lake”. This is about 40 acre water body was supposed to be glory of the Aurangabad which is on the verge of death due to water hyacinth.

We used the technical knowledge, wisdom and resilient tough skills of our team to get the breakthrough and develop technique to overcome this problem. We have yet to conclude the project and collect data which will take another 6 months. We will be able to design a replicable process to overcome this problem at other places. A similar situation exist in Pawai Lake – Mumbai, Moola Mutha river – Pune, Ujani Dam – Solapur, Ghosi Khurd Dam – Bhandara and so on.

SRT Ekalavya Farmers – A new model for extension

We found out that there are a very few farmers having great ability to adopt, experiment and carry out extension of the SRT technique on their own. Thus they are contributing nicely for the cause of “More crop per drop of water and human energy”. We have decided to improve their skills by giving further training and also support them financially so that they can perform this noble work more easily.

Yield data of selected farmers in Kharif 2018 

A total of 225 farmers have been interviewed to collect information of yield data of the crop. The information comprises of 40 to 50 parameters. (Please take a look at attached excel sheet).

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1c2n87gVPwflgvonXH9kstnpTro4BoRgw/view?usp=sharing

Yield data of selected farmers in Rabbi 2018-19 

The Rabbi season 2018-19 was successfully undertaken by SRT farmers. The yield data collected was very promising and would provide encouragement for Kharif farmers to undertake second crop. The data shows that the yield has doubled compare to traditional farming and due to which SRT farmer’s income has also increased. Another important point to highlight is that the farmers are undertaking various crops like wheat, cheakpea, Vatana, Gram, Flowers, Onions, Watermelon, Chavli, etc. Below is the table for your reference.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nPl7gGyIe3CRgYVRngTGnlF6EmVf1JST/view?usp=sharing

Extension of SRT by “SRT Sevak”

Farmers meets to scale up SRT for the Kharif 2019 season have been undertaken around various regions of Pune and Konkan. These meets have had overwhelming response from the farmers as they have seen their peers successfully harvesting crops with SRT. Based on the response we are confident that the number of SRT farmers for this year should increase considerably.

(Please take the cursor on the pic to see the details)

 

 

Project on Climate Resilient Agriculture (POCRA) has recognised the importance of SRT and due to which they have invited us to train and demonstrate SRT to farmers and officials in drought prone areas of Marathwada and Vidarbha region.

SRT Carbon farming Project – We have also launched another project called Carbon farming in collaboration with Dr. Emmanuel D’Silva, an agriculture and environment scientist from Mumbai. This is first of its kind in India and has the potential to provide a pathway for farming and carbon incentive. Starting with 20 farmers in two districts of Maharashtra state in India, the carbon farming project will compensate farmers for increases in soil organic carbon. These farmers follow no-till practices in growing rice and other cover crops. Below is the link to an article regarding this project.

https://foodtank.com/news/2019/05/new-project-in-carbon-farming-launched-in-india/

SVT Front 

You probably remember that we have started SVT work on 4 hills at Neral in May 2018. There were two main objectives.

a) The hill should not catch fire – This objective however was tried to sabotage by culprits in the society. Yet we have been able to save at least 70% of the hills from burning away so far which was otherwise have burnt 100% in past 10 years.

b) The survival of the plants planted – We have planted Karonda, Wild date palm, Cliff banana, Agave and Khus grass. All these are bushes and shrubs planted with the objective to create congenial environment for planting and survival of bigger trees. As off today our empirical observation is that the survival is more than 50%. More precise information will be available in the 1st week of July.

c) Evaluation of the SVT model – All the details mentioned in the SVT model about measurement and distances, timings of operations etc has worked very well.

d) We will start work on the next of SVT on these hills from the month of May.

SRT (Saguna Rice Technique)  Definition:    It is a Conservation Agriculture (CA), Zero Till method of farming which does not cause atrocity of tillage, completely stops soil erosion, promotes natural production of earthworms, increases organic carbon of the soil, considerably increases productivity of the land and added effect of amazing success, happiness and confidence to the farmer.

Saguna Van-sauvardhan Tantra (SVT) Definition:    It is a simple, low cost and effective technique which stops wildfires by converting the inflammable dry grass into organic manure and fixing of atmospheric carbon, promoting natural production of earthworms and soil aggregation, completely stopping soil erosion, there by initiating water infiltration, thus once again regenerating greenery and biodiversity on degraded lands.

With warm regards,
Krishi Ratna Shekhar Bhadsavle
Founder and Managing Trustee,
Saguna Rice Technique (SRT) and Saguna Rural Foundation (SRF)

NEWSLETTER NO. 22 : SRT IN RABBI 2018

         SRT farmers got a competitive advantage going into the rabbi season. As they undertook the next rabbi crop on the same existing raised beds, they were able to save time, labour and cost which enabled them to optimally utilise the residual moisture available in the soil.

           Around 12 farmers undertook onion crop in Pune for the first time during this rabbi season. These plots are now ready for harvest and the experience so far of these farmers have been excellent. As per their observation, the crop has been uniform and the expected yield should be more than the traditional method. Also, they feel that SRT will reduce the loss while uprooting for harvesting. Similarly, for the first time a farmer is cultivating Jowar on SRT raised beds and we are closely following these efforts. Other rabbi crops on SRT includes Wheat, Onion, Wal bean,  cow pea, horse-gram, watermelon, leafy vegies, tomato, brinjal, okra, cabbage, etc.

Below are SRT farmers pictures showcasing their rabbi crops on SRT. The SRT adoption years of these happy farmers vary from few on their 1st year of SRT to some of their 6th year of successful SRT farming.

Please hover the cursor on the farmers pictures for information about the farmer and the crop taken.

  1. Pune Region

2. Satara

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

3. Ratnagiri Region

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

4. Raiagd

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

5. Thane

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

6. Nashik

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

7. Ahmednagar

shri kashinath khole pendshet akole ahmadnagar
Shri Kashinath Khole Pendshet Akole Ahmadnagar

8. Vidarbha

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With warm regards,
Shekhar Bhadsavle
Founder and Managing Trustee,
Saguna Rice Technique (SRT) and Saguna Rural Foundation (SRF)

NEWSLETTER NO. 21 : Forest fire – 2nd acid test of SVT

Dear One,

            Here I am sharing with you another thrilling experience of wildfire on hill number 3 (forest survey number 310 – area 19 ha) within 15 days after the first one. In both cases the fire was ignited by some miscreant person.

                This 2nd incidence of igniting the hill happened on 4th January 2019 at about 10 am in the morning, when Parshuram, Anil and myself (the hardcore team) were far away from the headquarters. Again it was a dry and windy day. Four of our team members (SVT Sevaks) were on their job of routine maintenance and they noticed the smoke from other side of the hill.

The differences in these cases of hill no 3 from the hill no 2 (15 days ago) were as follows:

Hill no 2

Hill no 3

1. About 60% area (100 ha) is private land and only forest area (73 ha) was SVT treated. 1. About 90% area (19 ha) is forest land and was completely SVT treated.
2. Was ignited at only one place in private area which burnt away 100 ha of private land. 2. The attempt of ignition was done at three places within 30 minutes which could burn away only 15% of the biomass.
3. The igniting was done at the bottom of the hill at only one place causing huge destruction. 3. The attempt was done from the top of the hill at 3 places causing very little destruction.
4. The person igniting the fire was not detected. 4. The person igniting the fire was detected but could not be nabbed because the priority was to put off the fire.
5. The fire was successfully put off due to SVT fire line without crossing over to forest area, without any human physical effort. 5. It took 25 men to overcome the fire for about two and half hours.

 This second acid test has helped us draw some more conclusions as follows:

  1. SVT treated fire belts have proved 100% to be fire arresting lines in case of these wildfires. These belts also helped immensely to the fire fighting men at the time of extreme emergency.
  2. The most common observation during forest plantation is that there plantations are destroyed by wildfires 100%. We can now conclude that in such large plantations, if such antifire belts are first created by SVT method before plantation, a great help can be offered for percent survival to these new plants.
  3. It is amazing to notice that the high temperature of flames withered away trees as high as 6 to 8 feet yet didn’t affect the plantation inside the SVT sleeve.

         Immediately on the next day the hardcore team made above observations. We teamed up with the Forest and Police departments and with their co-operation started our attempt to nab the culprit. Today evening we will start showcasing our effort of reviving hills in the villages through Audio Visual meetings with the local folks.

         There was no person who could take photos of the ordeal while it was happening but following photographic data is collected within 24 hours of happening of the scene.

1 sapling in the svt sleeve escaped fire enjury as against the one which was not protected
Sapling in the SVT sleeve escaped fire injury as against the one which was not protected.
2 flames scorched the tree up to 8 feet yet saplings in the svt sleeves were safe
Flames scorched the tree up to 8 feet yet saplings in the SVT sleeves were safe.
3 the fire engulfed the grass on both sides of the plantation line yet the svt sleeves and the plants inside were very safe
The fire engulfed the grass on both sides of the plantation line yet the SVT sleeves and the plants inside were very safe.
4 the fire did not cross the svt fire line
The fire did not cross the SVT fire line.
5 most of the places svt anti fire belt didn't allow fire to cross over
Most of the places SVT anti fire belt didn’t allow fire to cross over.
6 the miracle the vast burnt area didn't burn the svt sleeves and protected the plantation
The Miracle : the vast burnt area didn’t burn the SVT sleeves and protected the plantation.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

7 interacting with locals to help nab the mindless culprit
Interacting with locals to help nab the mindless culprit.          

 

Definition of Saguna Van-sauvardhan Tantra (SVT):

It is a simple, low cost and effective technique which stops wildfires by converting the inflammable dry grass into organic manure and fixing of atmospheric carbon, promoting natural production of earthworms and soil aggregation, completely stopping soil erosion, there by initiating water infiltration, thus once again regenerating greenery and biodiversity on degraded lands.

Thank you and warm regards,

Shekhar Bhadsavle

NEWSLETTER NO. 20 : Forest fire

                                                                                                                                     20 Dec 2018

Dear One,

My team and myself we experienced something amazing yesterday afternoon about wildfire on one of the hill under SVT (Saguna Vansaunvardhan Tantra) trial along with forest department.

The hill number 2 (forest survey number 50 A, Neral, Karjat, Raigad) out of four SVT treated hills consists of 73 hectares of forest land and about 100 hectares of private land. Me with the team of SVT and team of forest workers were on our routine work and observation spree yesterday (19 Dec 2018) at about 10 am.

At about 11 o’clock we noticed smoke in one corner of the private part of the hill about 3/4th kilometer away. That being at a windy and dry situation we instantly judged the seriousness of the situation. The fire was growing and the wave was travelling at almost 1 meter per minute speed. Immediately we stopped all our ongoing work and got the team ready on other side of SVT treated fireline with all the team efforts and instructions about safety.

By about 12 noon the wave of fire reached the top with full inertia where we were standing on the other side of SVT fireline. At that most critical moment (for all of us highly experienced with wildfire) we actually felt the blessings of Almighty which I wish to share with you humbly; “the fire wave gave up quietly with full respect to the SVT fireline”. At this point the SVT fireline created by weedicide is 10 meter wide.

pano_20181219_133718img_20181219_132930

The fire continued to engulf rest of the private hill at very high speed till about 3:30 pm afternoon. It finished most of the biomass to zero in a stretch of almost two kilometers; a pretty vast area (100+ hectares). What surprised us the most was at such a hot, dry and windy time of the day there was no known force which could have stopped the might of the fire wave. But instant stopping of the fire wave has actually happened. And during the whole ordeal all the biomass on about 100 hectares of private land has turned into ashes while even 1 square meter of forest land did not burn away which has almost 16 – 17 thousand new plantation.

20181220_102139.2

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2341.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I am very sure that such a miraculous stopping of wildfire in the specific given situation, without any extinguishing efforts has never happened before.  

Please take a look at this link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6uAqetJX4s

Thank you and regards,
Shekhar Bhadsavle
Team leader, SVT team.
And Forest Dept R & D Pune.

Definition of Saguna Van-sauvardhan Tantra (SVT):

It is a simple, low cost and effective technique which stops wildfires by converting the inflammable dry grass into organic manure and fixing of atmospheric carbon, promoting natural production of earthworms and soil aggregation, completely stopping soil erosion, there by initiating water infiltration, thus once again regenerating greenery and biodiversity on degraded lands.

Newsletter No. 19 : Vidarbha Visit 2018

SRT team had our annual visit to Vidarbha and we were amazed by the excitement, commitment and enthusiasm shown by the Vidarbha farmers. One of the most important point to come out of the visit was simplicity and ease of performing SRT farming method, which was evident in all the locations we visited, as most of the farmers got information through social media (You Tube, whatsapp, etc.) or via telephonic conversation with SRT Sevaks/ early adopters in that region. We feel that the future of SRT is very bright in Vidarbha and the farmers motivation for a change was evident, as the farmers were able to successfully cultivate with their own initiative and minimal hand-holding.

On day 1 of the visit, we travelled with Mr. Shrinivas Pande to his field at Khumari, Ramtek, Nagpur District on the edge of Bhander Range forest. This year was Mr. Pande’s first year as SRT farmer and he had successful implemented SRT through guidance from Mr. Bhadsavle via phone and whatsapp. Mr. Pande had also organised a successful meeting and an on-field visit for the neighbouring farmers. The farmers were impressed by the benefits and results of SRT and many were keen to follow in the footstep of Mr. Pande from next year.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We then travelled from Ramtek to Bhandara to meet Mr. Narvekar, Superintending Engineer, Gosikhurd. Mr. Narvekar is a long-time advocate of SRT and it was under his initiative we were able to start SRT in Bhandara and Gondia district.

Day 2 started with field visit along with farmers meet at the farm of Mr. Ashwin Goswami and Mr. Mahesh Bhoyar in Bhandara District. The indept knowledge showcased by these young farmers confirmed our belief that SRT will organically grow through these enthusiastic early adopters in Vidarbha. We also visited farmers at Dharmapuri, Kini and Sakoli in Bhandara district and Chichtola, Temni, Kodamodi and Sadak Arjuni in Gondia District. The crop at all these farmers were vigorous & uniform and the farmers were eager and proud to showcase their success to everyone.

On Day 3, Mr. Rajesh Wani, one of the earliest adopters of SRT in Vidarbha, took us to farmers in Gadchiroli district. The efforts put in by Mr. Wani to promote SRT were visible with the confident SRT farmers proudly presenting their fields to us. We visited villages in Aarmori and Vairagad talukas. Unfortunately, due to time sensitivity, we were not able to visit other districts of Gadchiroli wherein there are around 300 confident farmers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 4 brought with it an unexpected surprise when we visited the village of Bothali, Chandrapur District where Mr.Arvind Muppawar has 18 acres under SRT. When we came up to the farm, it was a sight to behold with the morning sun shining gently off the dew that had built up on tip of the rice paddy which stretched to the horizon. The surprise kept on coming, when the next SRT field we visited of Mr. Sandip Gaddamwar’s from Sawali village was around 25 acres. The icing on the cake was when we were informed that in the village Bothali and its surrounding villages has around 150 acres of land under SRT.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The day kept on getting better, when we visited Chandankheda, Chandrapur District, a village adopted under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna (SAGY) by Shri. Hanshraj (Bhaiya) Ahir, Honourable Central Minister of State Home Affairs. A meeting was organised at the village which was attended by around 60 farmers. The response in the meeting was very encouraging as there was lot of interaction and curiosity regarding SRT. Honourable minister also promised to start the initiative to implement SRT in the village.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our last day in Vidarbha was organised around villages in Chandrapur district by Mr. Rajesh Kerzarkar, another earliest adopter and promoter of SRT. We visited cotton farmer, Mr. Prakash Khobragade, to listen to his experience of two years cultivating cotton on SRT. He reiterated the facts about the cost saving, the resistance to pest attack and the increase in production due to SRT. The crop looked healthy, vibrant and tall. Before finishing our tour, we visited farmers in Borchandali and Pawani villages in Chandrapur district.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Newsletter no : 18 – A One day workshop on SVT

Saguna Vansauvardhan Tantra (SVT) is defined as, “It is a simple, low cost and effective technique which stops wildfires by converting the inflammable dry grass into organic manure and fixing of atmospheric carbon, promoting natural production of earthworms and soil aggregation, completely stopping soil erosion, there by initiating water infiltration, thus once again regenerating greenery and biodiversity on degraded lands”.

Saguna Rural Foundation (SRF) has undertaken responsibility to work on four hills near Neral to prevent forest fire and start greening of the hills during May 2018 to May 2019. By now almost 60% work is completed and hence a evolutionary one day workshop was invited for the experts and like minded NGOs in the presence of Dr Afroz Ahmad, Member (Environment & Rehabilitation) Narmada Control Authority.

We believe that this is a small beginning of a giant revolution of “Regeneration of degraded hills and mountains”.

Some of the key notes which were discussed and agreed upon by the group were:

  1. Shri Jeet Singh, PCCF (R&D wing), Maharashtra Forest Department, Pune congratulated both the SVT team and Neral Forest Department team for the work done so far and was very happy that the project he helped start has progressed in the right direction. He exhibited deep knowledge of the technique which was evident from the interactive session wherein he was able to provide answers to the queries put forth. We are very proud about our this partnership with the Maharashtra Forest Department.
  2. Some of the important facts which were put forth by Shri Jeet Singh was that around each year 30-40% forest catch fire in India and out of which 99% are man-made. He also confirmed that Maharashtra ranks 5th in India for forest fires. He also stated that Forest Land which the public neglects and treat it as ‘Stepson’, should be treated as their own. There are many initiatives taken by the Forest Department to curb these fires and SVT, he believes, is one of the important technique which will be successful.
  3. Anil Nivalkar presented the SVT model and also the SVT team’s impressive research and work done so far. The most striking fact we were proud to present was our team of 10 SVT Sevaks in two months were able to plant 40,000 plants over 23 kms of difficult terrain and conditions. The ease of the technique was confirmed by Mr. Parshuram Agivale (tribal SRT Farmer and SVT Sevak) who stated that the contour created by Glyphosate helped them to plant with speed (as the work is time sensitive) and efficiently. Similarly, the plants selected for the model were appreciated by everyone, especially the multi beneficial ‘Karvanda’ which according to Mr. Parshuram Agivale, within three years will automatically create the right environment for the forest to grow on these hills.
  4. Glyphosate was also an important topic discussed during the program, as few people had reservation about use of chemicals. Mr. Shekhar Bhadsavle stressed again that this age-old weedicide is one of the safest and widely used chemical in the world. On his farm this weedicide has been used 3 times in a year for more than 12 years without any negative effects. Mr. Navinchandra Borhade (Agriculture Department) also reiterated the same fact but also added Tobacco and Alcohol which are consumed regularly by vast population are confirmed to cause cancer as well numerous other diseases and are not banned. Glyphosate which has not been confirmed by any worldwide scientific bodies to cause cancer and which is used by farmer only 3 times in a year has been target unduly.
  5. Dr Afroz Ahmed, Shri Ajit Narde and Shri Jeet Singh also reminded that Glyphosate once the chemical touches the soil it disintegrates and loses its effectiveness. Similarly, it is a systemic weedicide which affects the enzymes only present in plants and as such have no effect on humans or any other organism. Shri Ajit Narde also confirmed that there are lot of lobbies which are pressurising the government bodies in this whole negative propaganda and the fact that fear can be easily sold to people. However, we as a knowledgeable community should stand up and rise above this negativity and make an informed decision on this issue.
  6. Felicitation of Mr. Parshuram Agivale and his team as well as local forest workers was done for their hard work and determination to complete this very important task within the timeline of the project.
  7. Motivation of various organisation to take up SVT around their respective areas. Mr. Shekhar Gaikwad stated that he had to use grass cutter over 50 hectares of land to avoid forest fire and he believes that SVT model will make his work simpler as well more effective. Present NGOs also stated that they would take up the work in Pune area to prevent forest fires.
  8. Afroz Ahmed (Environmentalist and Member, Narmada Control Authority) stressed on the fact that mountains / hills are cradle of life and we in India are blessed with huge ranges on all sides. Today, these life givers are suffering due to human intervention such as forest fires and they need to be saved for human life to exist. As such, it is important to preserve and protect them and the work done through SVT is the right step towards it.
  9. Afroz Ahmed also stated that there is a need for a separate university for Mountains and Streams so that more research and study can be done. He and Shri Jeet Singh also stressed on the need for the SVT team to document all the data and information which can then be used for validation as well as for future studies.
  10. Good news to come up was Dr. Afroz Ahmad has pledged that he will also recommend to the Maharashtra Forest Department that SVT model to be implemented at Brahmagiri at Trimbakeshwar, Nashik. He also promised to spread SRT and SVT technique to environment department and all around his known circle and wished that SRT and SVT will be implemented to all states of India.
  11. Live demonstration for all the key features of SVT was done on the field visit at hill no. 1 at Neral. The invitees got first hand view of the actual work and they all were very impressed by it.
Sr no Deligates Organisation
1.

 

Dr Afroz Ahmad Narmada  Control Authority (Environment & Rehabilatation)
2. Shri. Jeet Singh PCCF (R&D), Pune
3. Shri Niranjan Deshpande KISAN, Pune
4. Shri Pralhad Deshpande Rama Purushottam Foundation, Pune
5. Shri Shekhar Gaikwad Aapal Paryavarna Sanstha, Nashik
6. Shri Atul Deshmukh Unik Poly Nashik
7. Shri Rajkumar Korde Excel Industry and VRTI, Roha
8. Dr Sugandha Shettye Somayya Institute
9. Shri Ajit Narde Shetkari Sanghatana, Pune
10. Shri Mahesh Londhe Vanrai, Pune
11. Shri Raghunath Dhole &

Shri Dhananjay Shedbale

Devarai Foundation, Pune
12. Dr Vivek Bhartiya Thakur Institute, Mumbai
13. Shri Santosh Perane Raigad Press club, Neral
14. Miss Rasika Phatak Press reporter, Khopoli-Pali
15. Prof. Manoj Deshmukh Sabusiddik college, Mumbai
16. Shri Navin Borhade Agriculture department, Pune
17. Shri N D Rathod RFO, Forest dept Neral

Photo Gallery

Group photo of visiting delegates on hill no 1
Group photo of visiting delegates on hill no 1

With warm regards,
Shekhar Bhadsavle
Founder and Managing Trustee,
Saguna Rice Technique (SRT) and Saguna Rural Foundation (SRF)

Newsletter No. 17 : A month into Kharif 2018

We have had an exciting few months leading up to the start of monsoon and Kharif 2018 season. The seeds of SRT revolution sown in Kharif 2011 and 2012 are seen to be bearing results in the form of enthusiasm shown by the farmers in Kharif 2018.

Our 15-member strong team of SRT Sevaks have been extremely busy showcasing the amazing results and advantages of SRT through meetings and presentations. There were meetings held right from early in the morning to late at nights either for one farmer or 100’s of farmers. Presentations were done on mobile phones or laptops to big screens in an auditorium to on field live demonstrations at Saguna Baug and on SRT farmers plots. The live demonstrations initially were done to highlight successful farmers. It was followed by practical training on farmer’s fields by showing how the beds are prepared by manual method(spade and shovel), bullock drawn plough, power tiller singular ridger or tractor drawn BBF machine; how to spray weedicide safely and effectively; how to use the SRT frame for dibbling of seeds. Our SRT Sevaks had the work motto of ‘Wake up to SRT, Eat with SRT, Sleep to SRT and Repeat’.

The enthusiasm and driving force for their excellent work is both due to their passion for SRT and the welcome and amount of respect they received wherever they went for visits. This respect is the proof of their hard work in the previous season and the remarkable results SRT has shown over the previous seasons. However, the biggest endorsement for SRT and the work done so far was the fact that for almost every meeting there were existing SRT farmers talking about and recommending SRT. These farmers took the initiative to organise meetings in their area or for their farmers group at their house or on their farms. Similarly, we have seen that lot of our old SRT farmers have grown in self-confidence that they have taken up the mantle of SRT Sevaks and carrying the torch of SRT revolution forward.

All the hard work of previous months has paid off with some amazing results which have been witnessed from initial sprouting of the rice plants across the fields of 1000’s of farmers. Almost all the plots have shown strong and uniform growths which are showing healthy and promising signs of another successful year for SRT.

We are extremely grateful and indebted by the support provided by RPF and all our donor relatives and friends for taking part in our successful SRT journey.

SRT Sevaks July 2018
SRT Sevak team

Extension of SRT by “SRT Sevak

We organised meetings in interior parts of village to motivate farmers about SRT – zero till agriculture. Love to share some photos from such meetings organized across various parts of Maharashtra.

Farmer meet at Khed, Pune
Farmer meet at Khed, Pune
Mulashi, Pune
Mulashi, Pune
Dapoli, Ratnagiri
Dapoli, Ratnagiri
Guhagar, Ratnagiri
Guhagar, Ratnagiri
Guhagar, Ratnagiri
Guhagar, Ratnagiri
Alibaug, Raigad
Alibaug, Raigad

Photos of various SRT farmer plots from Kharif 2018

Thank you,
Shekhar Bhadsavle

 

Newsletter No. 16 : Introducing SVT

We have been actively engaged researching and implementing on very exciting and important projects for the past 6 months due to which we were unable to provide our monthly newsletter to you on time. The past months have been a period of growth for our organisation, SRT(SRT Thailand project) as well as taking forward with forest department a unique, effective and simple technique called Saguna Vanasanvardhan Tantra (SVT)’.

Defination of Saguna Vansanvardhan Tantra (SVT):
It is a simple, low cost and effective technique which stops wildfires by converting the inflammable dry grass into organic manure and fixing of atmospheric carbon, promoting natural production of earthworms and soil aggregation, completely stopping soil erosion, there by initiating water infiltration, thus once again regenerating greenery and biodiversity on degraded lands.

Saguna Vanasanvardhan Tantra (SVT)
Recognising one of our core objective of ‘Carbon Sequestration’, SVT has been developed to prevent forest fire & regenerate degraded & barren mountains.  The initial research on SVT was undertaken due to the fact that vast mountainous area surrounding Saguna Baug were barren and prone to forest fires every year. To prevent and regenerate this dangerous cycle, we have been conducting research on our owned hillock since 2014.

Last year in collaboration with Principle Chief Conservator of Forest, R&D(PCCF) Mr. Jeet Singh, Research Education and Training wing of Maharashtra forest department, a pilot project was started on three mountains in the Karjat taluka and one at Mannashakti, Lonawala. The positive results and advantages which were achieved on these mountains has led to keen interest and feedback in the State forest department from the Secretary Shri. Vikas Kharge to the grassroot level forest worker in Karjat, Mr. Tukaram. Also, Dr. Afroz Ahmed one of the leading environmental scientist and planner in India visited and was impressed by our SVT and SRT work. Similarly, some motivated NGOs are also conducting SVT trials near their surrounding areas under our guidance and encouragement. During Monsoon 2018, we have undertaken a bigger task & expecting astonishing findings.

1
SVT treated forest plot of about 5Ha at Shirase, Karjat was the only central portion which did not burn in wildfire, saved 100% plantation, while hundreds of hectors 360 degree around the plot was completely burned & charred, thereby killing 100% of the plantation.

The excitement at all these levels is due to following reasons:

  1. It is a very low cost & effective, requires less manpower, easy and sustainable way of stopping forest fire.
  2. Rather than burning a million tons of organic biomass in the forests and mountains, it can be possible to convert in situ. Due to this, relating to global ecosystem a large amount of “carbon fixation” can be achieved.
  3. Biodiversity in the forest area can be saved as the dying & destruction of lifecycle of birds, rodents, reptiles and microorganism can be avoided. Similarly, destruction of their habitats due to high temperature caused by wildfires can be stopped. It will also evade the risk of injury to life of forest guards and volunteers when extinguishing these fires.
  4. Due to this technique the earthworm activities increases; soil aggregation occurs which then stops soil erosion and increases water infiltration due to which the mountains and forest can enriched with large water reservoir.
  5. Regeneration of the degraded mountains can be achieved quickly and they can once again become place of healthy biodiversity and source of income.
2
Visit of the Forest Secretary to the Shirase plot

The Technique :

The technique involves a set of three practices to achieve our objectives as follows:

  1. To protect forest land from wildfire by using weed killer :
    Using general purpose weedicide i.e Glyphosate on green grass in the month of September-October to make vertical and horizontal sections of the mountains.  Thus the grass which otherwise would have dried and become inflammable material turns into non inflammable organic manure. This adds considerable amount of organic carbon to the soil. It promotes earthworm’s growth which makes soil porous. This is a perfect situation which increases water infiltration of the soil rather than water runoff.
  1. Live fence and Live contour bunding :
    To protect forest area from poachers and stray cattle a live fence is provided at the bottom of mountain. The live fence is of thorny plants/bushes such as Cactus (Opuntia species), Agave (Agave americana), Karvanda (Carissa congesta) and Wild date palm (Phoenix sylvestris). After long R&D we confirmed  following suitable species for live contour bunding. Such plants are resistent to forest fire, drought conditions and stray animals. These plants are 1) Nirgudi (Vitex negundo), 2) Karvanda (Carissa congesta), 3) Cliff banana (Enset superbum), 4) Khus grass (Vetiver Zizanoides), 5) Agave (Agave americana), 6) Wild date palm (Phoenix sylvestris).
  1. Use of 3 layer plastic cover (SVT-Sleeve)
    To enhance growth of plants, protection from stray cattle & protection from hot-dry summer winds we have come up with a three layer plastic cover, the SVT-Sleeve. Inner and outer layer have anti-fogging property which enables collecting and trickling of the due drops to the root zone of the sapling. And the middle layer being UV resistant prevents scorching of the plant and allowing smooth photosynthesis. The sleeves have demonstrated survival of plants to the tune of 80%.
Amazing survival and growth results of forest plantation by SVT-Sleeve
Amazing survival and growth results of forest plantation by SVT-Sleeve
SVT Model to prevent loss in forest area by wildfire and to start regenerative activity by effectively planting bush species.
SVT Model to prevent loss in forest area by wildfire and to start regenerative activity by effectively planting bush species.
Social awareness and social movement to the stop the wildfire and bring back greenery for healthy is on the go.
Social awareness and social movement to the stop the wildfire and bring back greenery for healthy is on the go.

We are financially supported by Rama Purushottam Foundation, Pune for the work.

With warm regards,
Shekhar Bhadsavle
Founder and Managing Trustee,
Saguna Rice Technique (SRT) and Saguna Rural Foundation (SRF)

 

Newsletter No. 15 – Thread of positive farmer stories of Vidarbha

Here is the thread of positive farmer stories of Vidarbha by team SRT.

Mr Prakash Khobragade of Mul, Dist Chandrapur has been the first farmer to have taken cotton by SRT method during Kharif (July 2017-Feb 2018). He is amazed and happy to have adopted this method. According to him the permanent raised beds are helpful in the heavy clay soils; and the cotton crop can thrive very well with this system. He has planted a single row per bed with two feet plant to plant distance. But he thinks three feet plant to plant distance could be better. He is going to leave the roots of the current crop in the soil of the same bed. He is not going to plough the land. He will rotate the crop either with Soya bean or Toor (Pigeon pea). He will use weedicides instead of ploughing or inter cultivation. For the current cotton crop he used less than half the fertilizer than with the conventional method and only two insecticide sprays at the same time visually doubling the crop productivity. His present crop stand is quite healthy & most importantly Prakash is overwhelmed with happiness and confidence in his SRT work.

Mr Dilip Parwate of Nagbheed, Dist Chandrapur has an amazing experience to share about the insect resistance achieved through SRT. The two side by side plots, one cultivated through the traditional puddling method has attracted sever attack of brown plant hopers even after two times spraying of insecticide. At the same time a SRT plot right next to the traditional plot of same variety of rice, has got no sign of any such attack even without use of any insecticide.

Mrs Anita Navghare a women farmer from Aarmori, Dist Gadchiroli says: I visited Saguna Baug in Raigad district and learned the SRT technique. My SRT plot makes me cry with happiness. I become very happy, very happy, very happy!!! whenever I visit the plot. My cost of production was just half of what I am used to. Also previously I used to get 22 bags of paddy from this plot but now I expect at least 35 bags of paddy. With this method I had to use very little outside labour and at the same time all of them were very happy to use this simple new technique. I get many visitors who wish to adopt the SRT technique after seeing the beauty and productivity of my farm.

A farmers meet of 400 plus farmers was organized by Krishi Utpanna Bajar Samiti (A local farmers body), Sadak Arjuni, Dist Gondiya. The local group leader Dr Avinash Kashiwar took the lead after reading about SRT in Maharashtra Sinchan VIkas Magazine. The farmers at the event were extremely enthusiastic due to SRT’s ability to outperform the conventional method especially during shortages of rainfall this year.

20171030_141534

Mr. Surendra Madankar of Bhandara was able to demonstrate a startling example planting rice with SRT and traditional method with the same variety, with the same date of sowing of rice & side by side. Take a look at self explanatory photos (of the height & roots system) and the link of the news covered by ABP Maza.

A Noteworthy example of a top dutiful official : When we met this top official for a very short time available to him and explained the SRT efforts with Vidarbha farmers, he not only wrote confidence giving words but also donated 10 SRT frames to Vidarbha farmers from his personal a/c. This generosity towards team SRT and the farmers is worth a million tons.

SRT (Saguna Rice Technique)  Definition:          It is a Conservation Agriculture (CA), Zero Till method of farming which does not cause atrocity of tillage, completely stops soil erosion, promotes natural production of earthworms, increases organic carbon of the soil, considerably increases productivity of the land and added effect of amazing success, happiness and confidence to the farmer.

For more information please visit www.srt-zerotill.com

With warm regards,

Shekhar Bhadsavle

Newsletter No. 14 : Introducing SRT’s dearest friends

Namaste,
Every passing day; corporates, NGO’s and various government departments have started walking with us on this path of SRT, Conservation Agriculture method, which is leading to the supreme happiness and confidence building all over. Today, we’d like to share the lovely work these organisations are doing together with us.

Corporates

1. Jindal Steel Works(JSW Foundation)

During current Kharif season in Palghar, Thane, Raigad & Ratnagiri districts there are 300 SRT beneficiary farmers in Jawhar, Shahapur, Murud, Alibaug, Pen and Ratnagiri talukas. Almost all farmers are heading for success in this method.

JSW organized event

2. Rama Purushottam Foundation (RPF)

In Pune district there are 75 SRT beneficiary farmers in Khed, Junnar, Mulashi and Bhor Talukas. In this area the alternative second crop in Kharif season by SRT method is groundnut. So far the vegetative growth of the crops appears excellent. Recharging of aquifers due to efficient drainage in SRT is their main expectation.

Listen to the happiness beaming from one of SRT farmer:

3. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)

Through their new innovation lab, TCS is helping us to digitalize the data for effective analysis and drawing appropriate conclusions.

TCS Data

NGO’s

1. Vivekananda Research and Training Institute (VRTI), Roha.

This is the 1st NGO who has promoted SRT for their beneficiary farmers in 2014. Now they have 187 farmers through Kharif 2017. Their team is doing excellent work of hand holding of early adopter farmers.

VRTI Farmer

2. Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra (SNM), Chiplun.

After their successful mission of saving Olive Ridley turtles and its integration with tourism at Velas, Ratnagiri now they are actively working to save Indian Pangolin. Their vision is that if local folks get affordable and easy livelihood through SRT, they will forsake hunting of Pangolin.

Here’s a video of the local leader speaks for itself that the NGO is headed for success in their hypothetical goal. In the 1st year itself SNM team has successfully taken forward 22 farmers with SRT.

3. Mahila Arthik Vikas Mandal (MAVIM), Gadchiroli.

This is excellent work with SRT for tribal women in the naxal affected Gadchiroli district. Because of the long distance and lack of funds our frequency to reach the farmers is limited; if it can be improved much more better results and data collection will be possible.

Leading newspaper Sakal had a article on the success being achieved by these farmers.

4. Lupin Foundation, Pune.

The team is doing very good persistent work about SRT for last two years. 18 farmers are making good progress with rice and groundnut crop in Junnar Taluka of Pune district.

5. Mannashakti, Lonavala.

This NGO is concerned about environmental aspects. On their small private hill they face wildfire problem every year. Now they have accepted to work with SRT principles to resolve the problem of wildfire. Also to create friendly environment on the hill slope, they have planted live contour of Wild Banana, Karavanda, Nirgudi, Vetiver grass and Wild Date palm by SRT principles.

Mannashakti Hill

Government

1. Maharashtra Agriculture Department.

Agriculture department accepted SRT on trail basis for the Public Private Partnership – Integrated Agriculture Development(PPP-IAD) program in 2014-15. Now they have taken up this regenerative method of farming for their “Unnat Sheti, Samruddha Shetakari Abhiyan“. Quite a few serious agricultural officials are effectively able to showcase good SRT plots, by the SRT farmers in their command area.

2. Forest Department.

  • Bhandardara section of forest department has taken keen interest helping farmers in the forest region with SRT persistently for last 3 years. Their success is extraordinarily good.
  • Research and Development wing of forest has liked the idea of using SRT principles to prevent wildfires. They invited us for presentation and further interaction is in progress.

Forest Dept Farmer

3. National Water Academy(NWA), Pune.

They were impressed about SRT getting the international “WatSave Farmer Award 2016“. After interaction with them they are actively participating with our team with the objective of sharing knowledge for efficient use of water and effective water infiltration into the ground.

NWA Farmer


Saguna Rice Technique(SRT) definition:

It is a Conservation Agriculture (CA), Zero Till method of farming which does not cause atrocity of tillage, completely stops soil erosion, promotes natural production of earthworms, increases organic carbon of the soil, considerably increases productivity of the land and added effect of amazing happiness and confidence to the farmer.

As the South West Monsoon 2017 starts its preparations for withdrawal, we made an attempt to film flourishing rice fields at Saguna Baug using an angle never attempted before. Using a GoPro Hero 4 camera generously sponsored by JSW Foundation. And we’re so happy to share it with you all.