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Chhattisgarh farmers adopt "Madagascar" method to enhance their crop yield

Hoshangabad (Madhya Pradesh), Wed, 20 Apr 2011 ANI

Hoshangabad (Madhya Pradesh), Apr. 20 (ANI): With food security emerging as a major challenge, India can ill-afford the rising cost of agriculture inputs, declining productivity, non-availability of basic infrastructure and core facilities like irrigation.


Though the Central Government is in the process of hammering through a framework of a Food Bill in Parliament, it has to seriously consider and accept that crop yield has to be good, and that this yield is dependent on a variety of inputs, techniques and farming practices.


It is a known fact that if farmers cannot make enough from their land, they are likely to quit farming, sell their lands and migrate to towns and cities to ensure their socio-economic well-being,


It is also known that the agriculture sector still feeds and sustains most parts of India, and the recent Bollywood hit "Peepli Live" went a long way in highlighting the urban-rural divide and disconnect as also the "underbelly of the television media".


It showed the woes of the agriculture sector, a sector that still provides a majority of Indians with their livelihood. "Peepli Live" brought disturbing figures to our homes and television screens such as the fact that about eight million farmers have quit agriculture between 1991 and 2001.


This is no doubt an alarming statistic, but it also provides an opportunity to be creative.


For instance, there is "Farmers' Collective" in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, which has for the last seven years, promoted a unique practice to bring down the money guzzling inputs into farming, as also to ensure a good crop yield.


The practice goes by the unique name of "Madagascar" (an island nation in Africa) and works on the simple and sound principle of working the soil with standard inputs like water, organic manure and labour.


The "Madagascar" method makes do with minimal use of water for cultivation and at the same time seeks to boost paddy yield.


The technique uses a curious hand-held device called "Beeder" for tilling the soil. The tossing and turning of the soil helps earthworms to work their way to deeper levels, thus opening air channels for roots to allow them to breathe. Smaller roots, twigs and leaves are worked up into pre-mix form of compost. Thereafter, the crop is tilled with the help of the "Beeder" after a gap of ten days.


So popular is the method, that farmers across Chhattisgarh are eagerly adopting it and have been successful.


Institutions are now moving in to promote the practice. A heath center in Ganiyari has actually grown paddy using the Madagascar method.


The crop yield using the Madagascar method has been way above the yields achieved through traditional farming.


Pradan, a non-government organization working on livelihood issues affecting the rural poor, has actively promoted this practice. Now, about 3900 farmers are using this technique to boost crop yield to as high as 50 quintals per hectare.


The Madagascar method is a small dot of hope in an Indian agricultural scenario that has remained by and large bleak, marred by distress and farmer suicides.


The Madagascar method has turned traditional paddy farming on its head by not insisting on the excessive use of water for cultivation. It sees standing water as an impediment for the crop, and something that could contribute to root loss.


According to experts, this is organic farming at its best. It could herald a much needed change in the fortunes of farmers in the tribal-dominant state of Chhattisgarh. (ANI)


Read More: Bilaspur | Chhattisgarh

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