Unique soil campaign helps increase farmers’ income by 40% in Bikaner district
A total of 1,250 farmers were selected for assistance through individual plans with 10 actionable points for their kharif crops.
Amid the agrarian crisis which has rendered farming a loss-making proposition, a unique initiative for soil health management and crop diversification launched in Rajasthan’s Bikaner district has helped increase farmers’ income by up to 40% in six months. The ‘Mati Abhiyan’ (soil campaign) has for the first time devised individual farm plans for agriculturists.
A total of 1,250 farmers were selected for assistance through individual plans with 10 actionable points for their kharif crops. While an identical number of farmers were identified for making a comparative study, the selected farmers were called to the district headquarters in May 2022 for a workshop, in which they were apprised of new techniques to be adopted.
The campaign was the brainchild of Bikaner Collector Bhagwati Prasad Kalal who encouraged the farmers to adopt modern technology and take up agriculture as an entrepreneurship. Mr. Kalal said the farmers, selected from five villages each in the five Assembly constituencies falling in the desert district, were trained in the 10 components of their individual plans.
The integrated kharif farm plan under the ‘Mati Abhiyan’ comprised the features of technical inclusion of horticulture and animal husbandry, infrastructure development, advanced crop production, soil health, organic farming and integrated farming. The farmers who followed all the actionable points reported a significant increase in their crop yield as well as expansion of the sowing area and an increase in the number of cattle heads despite the lumpy skin disease.
Guidance was also provided for reducing the input cost of agriculture, while the farmers used their individual plans, for which the files were maintained for each of them, as per the resources available in their villages. An exposure to new techniques of crop diversification, pest and disease management and micro-nutrients also immensely helped the farmers.
Mr. Kalal said the average income growth of farmers in six months was 12.55%, as they earned ₹3.38 crore more than the amount earned during the kharif crop season last year. Sixty-five farmers who adopted all the 10 components reported an increase of 40% in their income, while the income of other farmers not covered in the campaign increased marginally by 0.59%.
Hadman Das, a progressive farmer at Gopalyan village in Lunkaransar tehsil, said his income had doubled as a result of compliance with the new initiative. Mr. Das said he had used solar pumps, vermi-compost and organic decoction for the crops and also started growing vegetables, besides bringing more cattle heads to his farmland.
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