Strengthening Bhoochetana: a sustainable agriculture mission for improved livelihoods in Karnataka, annual report 2015-2016.
In order to unlock the potential of agriculture in the state of Karnataka through science-led participatory research for development (PR4D), and to increase agricultural productivity and profitability for small farm holders, the Bhoochetana Mission Program (BCMP) was launched by the Government of Karnataka in 2013. The goal of Bhoochetana is to operationalize an integrated and participatory-knowledge led integrated systems development approach. The objective is to increase agricultural productivity by 20 per cent in five years through convergence and better coordination among different agriculture, research-extension and development sectors in the state to sustainably improve the livelihoods of the farmers. Empowerment and capacity development is done with an approach that is knowledge-based, market-oriented and farmer-centric. During the third year of BCMP (2015-16), an ICRISAT-led consortium provided technical support to the DoA of the Government of Karnataka to help it implement a number of improved technologies. During 2015-16, the state received deficit rainfall (-22%) from June to September. Fifteen districts received deficit rainfall of -21 to -41%. However, the week by week data revealed that 81 taluks received deficit rainfall and two taluks received scanty rainfall. A number of capacity building courses in the area of climate change and adaptation strategies were conducted. In addition, improved management technology courses at the cluster, taluk and district levels were conducted for DoA officials, lead farmers and farm facilitators by the State Agricultural Universities (SAUs), Krishi Vignan Kendras, DoA staff and ICRISAT scientists. The objective was to train 1,35,413 participants through 3,667 village level, 169 taluk level and 55 district level capacity building courses. In spite of erratic and scanty rainfall during the rainy season of 2015-16, crop yields increased by 17 to 33 per cent over the farmers' practice, with improved technologies. At the state level, on an average, cotton yield increased by 17 per cent whereas wheat yield increased by 33% over farmers' practice. At the district level, paddy yield increased by 11 to 28% with improved practices as compared to farmers' practice. Similarly, finger millet crop yield increased by 19 to 35%, groundnut crop yield by 18 to 30% and pearl millet crop yield by 21 to 30%. Detailed results of crop yields in various districts during the rainy and Rabi seasons of 2014-15 are also presented for all the districts. Overall, a net economic benefit of nearly Rs 146.48 crore was generated through increased crop yield by adopting improved management practices in different crops. In summary, in spite of a deficit rainfall of 22% in the state, BCMP through science-led development by adopting a holistic approach benefited the farmers through increased crop yields ranging from 17 to 33 per cent for various crops. Improved management options helped farmers build resilience when it came to variable rainfall. Crop intensification with green gram during the pre-rainy season, growing a new crop like castor in drought prone districts and the use of improved cultivars benefited farmers immensely in the state.