Newsletter

NEWSLETTER NO : 29 – REJUVENATING INDIA’S “GREEN RIVERS” TO DELIVER POSITIVE CHANGE

A highly invasive water weed is turning the rivers and ponds of India green—but local farmers have discovered a science-based solution that can restore them to their original condition.

This article features a permanent solution for an old age problem.

NEWSLETTER NO : 27

It’s been four months now since COVID has arrived. We wish you all good health. Following is the progress of SRT in the past four months.

To reach farmers and handhold them we have started Virtual Video Conferences/Webinars with the help of Kisan Forum Pune. In the last three months we successfully organised a total 20 Webinars and 2 Facebook live sessions. We got a good number of participation in each webinar. 

All webinars and facebook live sessions we will upload soon on our Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/SRTSagunaRiceTechnique). Some of them have already been uploaded. Following are the links :

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOME_3zutZ8&list=PLIen8rAzy71DFO-4IbJZTckJcUennViGw
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn-nfDpJlxY&list=PLIen8rAzy71DFO-4IbJZTckJcUennViGw&index=2
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTUw_R4LzGQ&list=PLIen8rAzy71DFO-4IbJZTckJcUennViGw&index=3

Without physically reaching the farmer’s fields the technique has provided great results. We were able to motivate more than 350 farmers to actually start SRT in their farms spread over six agro-climatic zones. We think this is the biggest achievement of SRT on the baseline of previous efforts. 

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Chandrashekhar Bhadsavle

Krishi Ratna & Krishi Bhushan.

Founder and Managing Trustee, 
Saguna Rice Technique (SRT) and Saguna Rural Foundation (SRF)
Saguna Baug, Malegaon, Neral, Karjat, Raigad
Maharashtra 4110101 India
                  https://forestfire.in/

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.

NEWSLETTER NO : 26

1. Indian Social Responsibility Network (ISRN) The NGO has carried out an extraordinary task of documentation and compilation of the best practices of sustainable development in the four volumes “The Vision of  Antyodaya”. We are happy to mention that SRT has been selected and documented in volume 2 on pages 270-272. We are grateful to the team ISRN for helping for taking this useful technology to uplift the smallest of the needy farmer to build strong India. Please check out the following link :

https://drive.google.com/file/d/16JED3XBv3yYdEIFsj4UTrhsl6qBV1o-G/view?usp=sharing

2. Attending Global Farmer Network (GFN) at Mexico city during Jan 12 – 18 was very important experience. It was noticed that farmers around the globe have common problems such as lack of dignity for the monotonous hard work, rising age of the farmers, climate change a major concern, governments not very serious to scientifically solve farmers problems, depleting soil organic carbon and soil erosion, and so an. I was able to effectively share our experience of Agro Tourism and No Till SRT Method to bring in sustainability of farming profession which was well received by all participants.

3. I was very lucky to visit Tuskegee University, Alabama, a holy place for all agricultural fraternity. Dr C.S. Prakash a dean at the University kindly organized my visit there. It was heartening to be on the soils which were managed by the great sage Dr. George Washington Carver. It was a amazing experience to take the soil in hand from “The Old Rotation” (120 Years old rotation) and feel the softness and the fragrance of the soil. I got the instantaneous feeling that SRT also is a right path that we are walking on.

4. Wheat after Rice by SRT method, without stubble burning at Ramtek, Nagpur. The farmer Mr Shrinivas Pande has been following SRT without ploughing for past 3 years. He learnt about SRT through YouTube and WhatsApp Video call with our Team. There are at least 12-15 farmers in Pune & Nagpur districts who are practicing SRT for wheat after rice without stubble burning. We are now developing a new method of extension called “Spider Farmer” who is motivated about No Till and who will weave a net of knowledge sharing with fellow farmers.

impact of SRT on green cover during March, increased land utility, increased income and improved livelihood of the farmer. inCollage_20200309_110142442

Chandrashekhar Bhadsavle

Krishi Ratna & Krishi Bhushan.

Founder and Managing Trustee, 
Saguna Rice Technique (SRT) and Saguna Rural Foundation (SRF)
Saguna Baug, Malegaon, Neral, Karjat, Raigad
Maharashtra 4110101 India
                  https://forestfire.in/

 

NEWSLETTER NO 25 : SRT ON THE GLOBAL FRONT

SRT ON THE GLOBAL FRONT :

Ability of SRT, the zero till regenerative method of farming has been chosen for global leadership development program namely ‘GLOBAL FARMER NETWORK’ (GFN).  https://globalfarmernetwork.org/ This is a 7 day round-table conference of 30 farmers from various countries at Mexico city during Jan 12 to Jan 18. Chandrashekhar Bhadsavle will be representing India on this platform making it a best opportunity to taking our regenerative efforts to the global platform.

CHB GFN.jpg

ACID TEST OF SVT FOR THE CONSECUTIVE 2ND YEAR :

We must be aware about our team’s efforts to save and conserve hills and mountains from wildfires. During last year our success in preventing forest fires on the three hills exceeded our expectations. Even the survival of about 60,000 bushes we planted, almost 70% survival was noted in the 2nd year.

Last year on hill no 2 the fire broke out on 19 Dec 2019 and this year it was on 6 Jan 2020. Please observe the 1.75 km SVT line of fire control exactly same on both years with amazing precision.

One of the most important observation made last year was the hay grass which was protected by SVT treatment became source of income for local villagers for six months which was sold as feed for cattle and horses. The unburnt area also demonstrated presence of various insects, earthworms and diverse plants as against burnt area.

Due to Zero Till SRT, taking 2nd crop after main rice crop in Kharif season is becoming stress free activity for many farmers now. Farmers from all six agro-climatic zones are able to take more than 20 number of crops ranges from okra (भेंडी), coriander (कोथिंबीर),  shepu (शेपू), Fenugreek (मेथी), brinjal (वांगी), bitter gourd (कारल), dolichus beans (घेवडा), cabbage (कोबी), tomato (टोमॅटो), lablab beans(वाल), mat bean (मटकी ), Peas (वाटाणा), gram (हरभरा), groundnut (भुईमूग), cow pea (चवळी), moong bean (मूग), to maize (मका), water melon (कलिंगड), wheat (गहू), etc.

WhatsApp Image 2020-01-11 at 3.40.29 PM
Mr. Rajesh Wani, Gadchiroli (Maize by SRT)

NEWSLETTER NO 24 : SRT SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE!

25

The modern-day mechanized way of agriculture, essentially is a ‘degenerative method of
agriculture’, and has not only decreased the natural fertility of the soil but has also
exponentially negatively impacted the sustainability quotient of the farmland, depleting the groundwater table and natural aquifers capacity. This is accelerating the impending water scarcity threat and worsening our food security.

The recent incessant rainfall that caused massive flooding in the entire state, affected the livelihood of people the most. Agriculture was hard hit and the Kharif crop is lost for many farmers in the state.

This year, the flooding of farmlands and the aftermath of the situation has led us to record a unique observation. Farmers who adopted the Saguna Rice Technique of zero – till, conservation agricultural method of cultivation, not only witnessed minimum crop damage but also acknowledged the sustainability quotient of the cultivation method. SRT farmers opined that despite massive flooding, the land remained intact with the crop and was not washed away, as it happened with traditional farmers. In many cases, the incessant rainfall led to waterlogging of the farmland denying the farmers the opportunity to plant rice saplings.

Farmlands that employed the SRT cultivation method are not only content with their efforts but are also proving the fact that the SRT technique is both a mitigating tool for global warming as well as an adaptation method that follows a sustainable agricultural methodology. It is thus, the holistic capacity-building tool for today’s’ farmer.                Few comparative pictures – stories proving our point are shown below:                       

 

A STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE!

IMG_20190703_101923
Shri. Shekhar Bhadsavle guiding salt-affected coastal farmers at Pen, Raigad.

SRT Sevaks do a personal assessment of the situation that has risen and customized
solutions for the same are provided to boost the confidence and motivate first-time SRT
farmers. This last mile connectivity and provision of expertise not only improve the
relationship between the organization and the farmer but also makes the situation better, reassuring the farmer, ultimately making him a happy and confident, ready for the future.

 

SRT = REGENERATIVE FARMING

We define SRT as “a Conservation Agriculture (CA), Zero Till method of farming which is
climate-smart and essentially a regenerative agricultural practice”. In SRT, the atrocity of
tillage on land is not caused, soil erosion is completely restricted, natural production of
earthworms is witnessed, an increase of at least 0.5% organic carbon per year per hectare in the soil is ensured, considerable increase in the fertility and productivity of the land is ensured, and most importantly, adds amazing happiness and confidence in the farmer, making him ready for the future.

This monsoon, the incessant rainfall resulting in massive flooding resulted in thousands of hectares of farmland being washed out. The losses, in economic terms, are uncountable, while the emotional scarring is dreadfully deep.

As mentioned earlier, SRT is a ‘regenerative agricultural method of cultivation’. This
essentially implies that the coping capacity of the farmer to mitigate the disastrous impacts and build back better are exponentially increased. The waterlogging conditions created by heavy flooding (in some cases the waterlogging was more than 6 feet deep in farmlands) were improved within a couple of days and aerobic conditions were regenerated, and soil health is improved exponentially. The aforementioned conclusion was arrived upon by citing earthworm presence and white feeding roots just a couple of days after the disastrous effects subsided.

Observations recorded during field visits to different areas and farmlands have proved that indeed SRT is a regenerative method of cultivation.

WhatsApp Image 2019-08-22 at 3.44.32 PM (1)
Citing earthworms babies in flood-affected paddy fields just a week after floods.

MOUNTAIN SAVED!

Saguna Vansanvardhan Tantra is nothing but a simple and effective technique to stop
forest fires and to reproduce green perennial vegetation. The works of Team SRF (Saguna Rural Foundation), for the implementation of the Saguna Vansanvardhan Tantra, are being implemented on three hills presently. Plantation of different trees along the demarcated areas for live fencing and live counter is being implemented with roaring success. The numbers speak for themselves. The plants planted have been monitored closely.

The 3 hills that have been taken under consideration need appropriate plantation along the contours of the slopes and their nurturing and growth have to be closely monitored.
Appropriate training and personal assistance are being provided at all required levels.

14
Meetings conducted at Saguna Baug, Neral under the guidance of Shri. Shekhar Bhadsavle.

The SVT process initiated last year has been remarkably successful. Increased biodiversity, increased infiltration of water, soil regeneration, and most importantly, self-sufficiency leading to resilience to forest fires is vividly observed and recorded.
Following pictures and video links prove that SVT is the most efficient answer for the
rejuvenation of forests and effective water conservation.

Link for the latest observations about enhanced water infiltration and aquifer recharging capacities and a noted increase in biodiversity.

inCollage_20190802_195118963
A pictures story of our SVT team’s works on different hills.

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

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3. Ratnagiri Region

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4. Raiagd

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5. Thane

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6. Nashik

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7. Ahmednagar

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

8. Vidarbha

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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.

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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