03Jul2014

Introducing Groundnut to the Crop Cycle

In most parts of Mewat, Haryana, India, cultivated crops are limited to wheat, mustard, sorghum, millet and a few varieties of vegetables. These crops deplete the soil of important micronutrients, including Zinc, and Phosphorus. An ideal crop cycle would rotate cultivation of legumes, as they replenish nitrogen in the soil. The Sehgal Foundation, in an effort to protect soil depletion and promote diversification of crops, invited scientists from the International Crop Research Institute of Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) to analyze soil quality and recommend suitable legumes for the region.

Dr. Suhas Wani, Principal Scientist – Watershed, and his assistant from ICRISAT, visited the villages of Ghaghas and Agon. After studying the soil test results, they suggested groundnuts and red gram (C ajanus cajan) as suitable crops. They also recommended using a nutrient kit consisting of Boron, Zinc and Phosphorus to nourish the land for better yield.

Groundnut

In Ghaghas, when the Foundation’s team was teaching farmers about legumes and their impact, Haji Saahb Khan, was the only farmer who agreed to try cultivating groundnut in one acre of his fallow land. Haji Saahb Khan is a village volunteer and the President of the Village Level Institution (VLI), formed by the Foundation to undertake the development activities of the village.

Haji Khan purchased the nutrient kit and the recommended variety of groundnut at a subsidized rate from ICRISAT. He followed the recommended practices that he had learned from the farmers’ trainings. There was a yield of nine quintals of high quality groundnut, which he thinks could have been about 14 quintals if he had been able to sow the seed in a timelier manner. In an interview he said, “So far, everything Sehgal Foundation has introduced in our village has been beneficial. I was confident that this initiative would also be successful.” He also shared his recent experience with chiseling, “I was surprised to find that the crop required only two irrigations with the use of chisel. We used to irrigate the fields 6-7 times (depending on the crop and the rainfall) before.”

Haji wants to save his superior quality groundnut produce for subsequent production and sell it to other farmers. “Promoting this new crop will generate additional income within the village,” said Khan. He further added, “Cultivating groundnuts is easy, it requires less labor and maintenance. I earned Rs. 2000 just by selling the fodder of the crop, which paid back all of the input costs.”

This is a big success to Haji Khan Saahb, a champion in the village, who boldly embraced this new agricultural path. He is confident in the profits his nine quintals seed will bring in. This research has been greatly beneficial to Sehgal Foundation’s income enhancement program. Now, farmers are approaching Haji Khan Saahb and the Foundation’s team for assistance in growing groundnut.

For more information, please contact:
Email: communications@smsfoundation.org