Three knowledge-sharing and watershed projects aimed to improve crop productivity in Karnataka were launched by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in collaboration with the Karnataka government, JSW foundation and Anandana Coca-Cola India foundation on Thursday at Icrisat headquarters in Patancheru.
The projects which were launched are ‘KrishiGyanSagar and Krishi Vani: An innovative extension system under Bhoochetana II; Intergrated Watershed Management in Bellary district and Integrated Water Resource Management in Kolar district.
While launching the projects, Karnataka agriculture minister Krishna Byre Gowda said, “Icrisat started these projects three years ago and there was a substantial increase in crop productivity in these three years. These projects which improve productivity in the same lands using better inputs and optimum fertilizers are important as they help in increasing income of farmers and their lifestyle.” Explaining the projects, Suhas P Wani, principal scientist, Resilient Dryland Systems, Icrisat, said, “The main aim of KrishiGyanSagar and Krishi Vani is to provide vital information and knowledge about crops which is not reaching farmers.
This will be done by developing tablet- based programs which will be imparted both in local language and English at farmer field schools and farm facilitators in all the districts. These facilitators will also help us in understanding the needs of farmers and also in analyzing the productivity. We are also developing voice mail systems which will be sent to farmers’ phones.”
William D Dar, Icrisat director general, said, “We see Bhoochetana projects as platforms of green revolution. There was a net profit of $130 million because of technology and inputs of Bhoochetana project. These projects are very profitable for farmers as an investment of one dollar can yield $3-12 of returns”.
When asked about other uses of these projects, he replied, “Farmers are participating in the growth of state economy through these projects. We are also imparting agriculture knowledge in audio and visual forms which will help farmers, and they can teach other farmers also.”
While launching the Integrated Watershed Management project, Sajjan Jindal, chairman and managing director of JSW group, said, “We thought Bellary is the right place to launch this project as it is a dryland area. Our idea is to spread it step by step from taluks to the whole of Karnataka.”