Increasing yields and lowering costs in Chikantapura
Increasing yields and lowering costs in Chikantapura, (31/12/2016).
For Rudramma, a farmer in Chikantapura Village in Karnataka, India, the source of information matters. “When my son comes to me with new ideas, I have to listen to him,” she says simply. One of the new ideas introduced by her son, Shivappa, is the use of micronutrients on their farm. “The micronutrients make our soil smooth,” Rudramma says. “Last year the maize grew without fertilizer. We only applied micronutrients. We got 18 quintals per acre. This is more than expected. The average we were getting was 15 quintals per acre.” This season, Rudramma and her husband, Honnurswamy, are growing chickpea intercropped with chilies. They are growing JG 11, a short-duration chickpea variety they obtained from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), which is highly resistant to fusarium wilt disease. Before sowing the chickpea seeds, they sprinkle a mixture of zinc and gypsum between the rows of chilies. They also treat their seeds with Trichoderma, a fungus that promotes chickpea germination and vigor. In the last five years, Shivappa has helped more than just his family by becoming a farmer facilitator and receiving training under the Bhoochetana project. “While training I told my family how to increase our yield. They listened to me and applied micronutrients,” he says. Shivappa works with 50 farmers. “Most of them are older but they are open to learning new things.”