Friday, June 25, 2010

DEVELOPING AGRICULTURE IN ALIRAJPUR

Kamlesh Dodia
ALIRAJPUR, JUNE 25, 2010: The monsoon season may have arrived, but that does not bring much cheer to the farmers in Alirajpur (Madhya Pradesh). Although agriculture is the primary occupation of the people here, it is not a source of much income. The undulating terrain, scanty top soil and insufficient rain, lead to poor agricultural outputs. Besides this, the crops that are grown are largely for home consumption. Hence, this subsistence agriculture practiced by the tribal villagers, has done very little to improve their economic condition.

In order to make a dent in this gloomy scenario, Don Bosco Alirajpur Shaishanik Samajik Kendra has recently launched an Agricultural Project on a pilot basis. The idea is to experiment with some new crops and also innovative methods of agriculture that would help the farmers get better returns from their fields. Based on the learnings of the pilot phase, the project will then be scaled up in the following years.
The first crop that we are presently experimenting with is ginger. A group of 20 farmers from 10 different villages was selected to pilot the ginger experiment. Mr. Chandarsinh Bhagat, a local expert, gave this group systematic training in ginger cultivation. He conducted practical sessions at his wadi and also provided the ginger shoots to the farmers. Over the past ten days, under the personal supervision of the Development staff, the selected farmers have grown the ginger in the plots prepared for this cultivation. All the necessary care is now being taken to ensure that it grows well.

The other plans in this project include horticulture development, vegetable plantation, and eventually also the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). All these possibilities are being explored keeping in mind the soil and climatic conditions of the region. The initial response of the farmers has been enthusiastic. We are hoping to have some good results so that many more farmers can then benefit from this project.

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