Newsletter

Newsletter No. 13 : SRT for Ragi on hill slopes and visiting farmers

Namaste All,

From the land of greens, last week we covered north to south stretch of 600kms which was different shades of pleasantly greens. The SRT farmers all over are also very happy.

Inclusion of task number 3 :

We have now decided to focus our attention for hill millets to be cultivated by SRT method which is practiced especially by aadivasis on hill slopes. The conventional method of ploughing on mild hill slopes for Ragi transplanting which attracts huge resistance by environmentalists and forest authorities for its characteristics of tremendous soil erosion. Another objectionable part of the practice is that these farmers each year change the spot of planting the millet.

In the Kharif of 2017 we have noticed that more than a dozen SRT farmers have attempted growing Ragi and Wari by SRT method who all seem to be heading for wonderful harvest.

The farm women Mrs. Darshana Nivalkar of Khed, Ratnagiri has been attempting Ragi by SRT method since Kharif 2015. With all the advantages of SRT growing of hill millets by SRT method is likely to open up a completely new avenue which we have now accepted as task number 3.

More and more SRT farmers are experiencing happiness and confidence in adopting CA- SRT Zero Till method for rice cultivation.

  1. Ratnagiri region
  2. Raigad region
  3. Pune region
  4. Nashik region
  5. Chandrapur regionIMG-20170722-WA0011
  6. Bhandara regionIMG-20170822-WA0012
  7. Thane  
  8. SataraShri. Mohan Lad Satara

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 happiness and confidence to the farmer.

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

A month into Kharif 2017

This year’s Monsoon has now completed its first 30 days. All the new SRT farmers have come to end of their first phase of SRT operations that is bed making, seed dibbling, use of pre emergence and post emergence weedicides, observing and sharing information of germination, connecting with our SRT Sevak and so on. We are hoping that SRT headquarter will be able to connect with about 1000 farmers through our SRT Sevaks during Kharif 2017. Eventually the successful farmers will be the “Islands of Light” for “Happy and Confident farmers” in their area.

At the start of this Kharif season, we’d set two primary tasks for ourselves. Describing it below:

Task 1:

To generate a happy and confident farmer using SRT for field crops such as Rice, Ragi, Pulses, Vegetables, Bajra, etc. We have big hopes in these agro-climatically diversified crops in 16 districts of Maharashtra. These farmers will make positive contribution for national food security and global issue of carbon sequestration.

Each one of these farmers will be tagged with a permanent farmer ID having his/her details such as personal & land information, GPS location, field operations data, photographs, etc. All this information will be available to public through internet within a month. This way we want to create online collaboration portal for which we expect feedback and input from all of you.

Task 2:

To reverse degradation of mountain slopes by wildfire, erosion and runoff. Four years of our persistent efforts to stop wildfire and erosion on steep slopes and initiate greenery in these difficult terrain has resulted some good hopes. We have found out that carbon sequestration in these specific areas is the key to achieve above mentioned task. We have also found out which species of plants (Cliff banana, Shindi palm, Fan palm, Nirgudi, Vetiver grass, Karavanda) can best survive in existing worst scenario (lack of irrigation and very low moisture content of the soil, uncontrolled grazing, wildfire, etc.). With these plants we are creating live contour bund on the slopes which will stop further degradation, water runoff and create livable condition for more species of plants and grasses.

The work at Peb fort (Left) and second at Mannashakti hill Lonavala (Right) is in progress. The result of these spots can only be confirmed in July 2018.

Hope generated for our concentrated efforts since 2010

The team

The field level team has grown to 12 of us active in various locations for hand holding of farmers and providing us with the field data. Aamod and Kapil, our teammates keep helping us from long distance.

Team SRT
Team SRT meet at Saguna Baug

SRF Trust/NGO

Saguna Rural Foundation is registered as charitable trust E-31621 (Mumbai) and also has got 80G (No. CIT(E)/80G/2123/2016-17) certificate from income tax department.

Finance

We have started getting financial help from JSW foundation, Mumbai; Rama Purushottam Foundation, Pune and Kisan Forum, Pune. I have also been getting considerable support from friends and relatives. This support is keeping us going strong without financial worries.

Technical Backup

  • Data digitization guidance and help is given by Mr Dineshkumar Singh, Group leader, TCS innovation lab Mumbai.
  • Validating the economic and sociological parameters will soon commence with Gokhale Institute of Economics and Politics, Pune.

New Research & Development

  • Designing seed dibbling machine for SRT
  • Rice seed treatment to give a smoother surface for machine dibbling is in the pipeline.

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.

 

Kharif 2017 progress

It has been pretty long time since we’ve communicated with you about the progress of SRT-SRF team with the farmers in various areas; mainly because every one of us with our all capacities of mind, body and energy were occupied with the farmers. We began extension of SRT knowledge to farmers in 2013 with a very small group of 30 farmers. Whereas during last April-May-June Team SRT (8 locations) have been meeting at least 50 farmers per day throughout Maharashtra. All these meetings to orient the farmers for Zero Till SRT technique was in the form of meeting with one to one or group of farmers; either in field demonstration or documentary screening.

Present SRT team includes 6 agricultural graduates, 1 IT professional and three expert farmers working in 11 thrust areas as follows:

  • Salav – Murud
  • Alibaug – Pen
  • Vasind – Shahapur
  • Tarapur – Vasai – Mokhada
  • Pune – Maval – Mulshi
  • Roha – Karjat
  • Satara – Kolhapur
  • Chandrapur – Gadchiroli – Nagpur
  • Ratnagiri – Dapoli – Khed – Chiplun
  • Nasik – Ghoti
  • Rest of India

We are not able to confirm the exact number of farmers in all these areas today but we should be able to finish this work by the end of this crop season. We are going to give a permanent serial number to each farmer with his/her GPS location and farm details. Progressive photographs of each farmer will be available for analytics and checking progress. As of now the participating farmers have completed bed making and sowing operations. The handholding of farmers enters into second phase which is weed management, gap filling and fertilizer application; the important stage for success of the whole exercise.

Other than field crops we are attempting Carbon Sequestration by SRT principles and live contour bunding on hill slopes at four sites. The projected objectives are:

  • To stop wildfire completely.
  • Assured increase in green cover with low maintenance plants.
  • Confirming probability of use of cliff Banana, Vetiver grass, Karvanda bush and Phoenix palm in combination as live contour bund to prevent soil erosion.

Also, effective Carbon Sequestration in Horticulture projects with SRT principles is being tried at three different locations.


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.

 

Visits to meet various SRT farmers

Dear Friends,

I am very happy to tell you that farmer’s enthusiasm about SRT is ever increasing. Some of the NGO’s & CSR departments in Maharashtra and outside are also taking it forward in the interest of farmers and the environment.

Following are pictorial stories in the past 45-50 days in which we will update you about above statement.

Invitation from the Yerwada jail, Pune and in the jail (5th May 2016) with inmates and police for SRT purpose was interesting experience they were very good and also said “SRT will be the way for us when we will be out there”.

Farmers meet at Maval, Pune MH (11th May 2016) sponsored by Kisan Forum, Pune & Agriculture dept. Pune.

Demonstration and presentation (17th May 2016) at Balgram, Ramkrishna Mission, Gwalior