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Eastern Plains - The Sleeping Giant

My recent visit to Purulia district of West Bengal, India was an exciting and educative one in terms of understanding the productive potential of the eastern plains. This area receives about 1200 mm annually. Yet farmers are able to cultivate not more that one rice crop every year. PRADAN a reputed NGO active in this region assisted by an ACIAR funding has shown the possibilities of turning much of this area into double crop areas by using harvested rainwater. A multidisciplinary and multi-institutional team of scientists is implementing this unique project  since 2004 in Pogro and Amagara villages  in the district. Each of the partners  (PRADAN, ICAR, and University of Western Sydney) has some thing to learn from the project besides the poor households. The co-learning and action research methodology adopted by the consortium of partners is very interesting and effective. It has produced a band of women (where men perpetually migrate in distress to cities as far as Bengaluru and Hyderabad) researchers who are now capable of finding what is the most appropriate fertilizer dosage for their rice crop. The simple looking Santhals who are not too old in their profession of agriculture are fast learning good agronomic practices. Thanks to energy of the dedicated team and novel processes adopted by it.  They are now confident of taking second crop (like vegetables, mustard or wheat) in rabi during which the land would have remained fallow.  It is time we looked away from the west (the areas that ushered in the Green Revolution) and into the eastern plains where the giant is fast asleep! I shall try coming back and sharing more on this.
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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.