Faryaz is a farmer from Nuh district, Haryana. Farmers like Faryaz typically use prevalent farming practices such as excessive use of urea and DAP, which has harmfully impacted the soil health in the farms of the village. In April 2019, a CSR supported partnership project on integrated village development was initiated in his village and implemented by S M Sehgal Foundation. Like in most Indian villages, farmers did not have access to reliable sources of information on quality seeds, fertilizers, plant protection methods, and other agriculture-related requirements. This added to the existing resource constraint, and farmers are not able to make optimum use of their money or get desired results from their investment. In addition, the injudicious, imbalanced use of chemical fertilizers leads to soil health deterioration and crop damage.
The project’s methods for training farmers on improved cultivation of crops included intensive capacity building exercises and practical demonstrations of the promoted interventions in the fields of selected farmers. Through these efforts, the project team endeavored to supplement the existing knowledge gap in farmers and provide them with hands‑on exposure.
In September 2022, Faryaz was selected for a demonstration of sustainable Package of Practices (PoP) in mustard to improve crop production and rejuvenate soil health of his field. The project team distributed the mustard PoP kit and provided orientation sessions to the demonstration farmers for their better understanding of fertilizers and specifically micronutrients.
Faryaz cultivated mustard crop in one acre of his land. In the demonstration plot of 0.5 acre, balanced fertilizers were applied; and in the adjacent 0.5 acre plot, traditional cultivation practices were implemented. Upon harvest, an additional 1.2 quintals of mustard was obtained from the demonstration plot when compared to the control. This translated to an additional INR 7,800 per 0.5 acre. Faryaz says, “Earlier, I cultivated mustard through traditional practices. A small change of adopting balanced fertilizers has made a big difference as it increased the crop production.”
Authors: Ajeet Kumar and Debika Goswami
(Ajeet is field assistant and Debika is senior program leader, Local Participation and Sustainability with S M Sehgal Foundation)