Establishment of Seed Plots by Participatory Entrepreneurs
Wheat and lentil are important crops to ensure food and nutritional security in dryland region. However, yield of these crops is quite low. Farmers plant local varieties using their own unimproved seeds. Low crop yield affects livelihood of these low income group farming communities majority of who have limited livelihood beyond agriculture. Increasing population and shrinking land and other resources indicate that crop yields in barani areas will have to increase per unit area on a sustainable basis to ensure food and nutritional security. Improved crop cultivars have been developed by NARS and were selected by farmers for their ecologies during the last season. However, their adoption would depend on availability of quality seed. After training of partner farmers in seed processing and training, the farmers were provided assistance in establishing seed increase plots of most promising cultivar of wheat and lentil in their ecologies under CRP Dryland Systems to enable farmers to work as seed entrepreneurs in dryland areas. The seed entrepreneurs planted wheat cultivar “Dharabi-11) on six acres and lentil cultivar “Markaz-09” on two acres. During the process, farmers learned various skills to avoid mixing of other varieties seed which are usually present in seed drills. Moreover, selection of the fields with low weed infestation would also help them to produce quality seed. The assistance and support provided under the project is expected to help rural farming communities to produce quality seed in their own areas not only for themselves but also for the nearby communities and is expected to help them increase crop yields, resilience and farmers income.