Rekha is a woman farmer from district Nuh, Haryana. Her family has 1.5 acres of agricultural land but it has low productivity, is saline, and is rain‑fed, and she has no irrigation facilities.
In June 2021, a CSR supported integrated village development project being implemented by S M Sehgal Foundation began in her village. This project works on water, education, health, sanitation, nutrition, and agriculture.
In most villages of the block, including her village, traditional agriculture with low efficiency is practiced. In order to address this, the project team conducts trainings on modern agriculture practices as well as sets up hands‑on practical demonstrations of these practices in some farmers’ fields so that all the farmers can observe the advantages. As part of this initiative, in October 2021, Rekha was provided with a sustainable Package of Practices (PoP) kit for her wheat cultivation, and was trained on its use. This PoP includes micronutrients to improve soil health, as a consequence of which the crop yields increase.
Under the supervision of the project team, Rekha cultivated wheat in one acre of her land; scientific PoP was used in 0.5 acres of the land, and used the traditional cultivation method in the adjacent 0.5 acres for comparison. The farmers of the village observed the improved length, canopy, and color of the plants in the demonstration plot during the growing phase of the crop.
Upon harvest, Rekha obtained an increase of 3.2 quintals of wheat in the demonstration plot compared to the control. The demonstration plot also produced an additional 4 quintals of fodder. The increase in wheat yield translated to an increase in income of INR 11,040 from 0.5 acres, at the rate of (INR 2,200 per quintal), due to the use of the new method.
A field day was organized in Rekha’s field for the farmers to discuss the experience and benefits of the scientific method of wheat cultivation. As a result, the farmers were convinced and enthused to replicate Rekha’s wheat cultivation method using the newly introduced PoP, in the subsequent seasons. Rekha says, “The micronutrients are not only improving the yield of wheat but also restoring the soil health in my farm.”
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)