AGRICULTURE TRIBUNE Monday, January 22, 2001, Chandigarh, India
   Kuppam an improved irrigated farm model
By G.S. Dhillon
ROM Andhra Pradesh another success story is repeated, this time in the field of improved irrigated collective farming, involving a large number of small and marginal farmers. The model known as “Kuppam model” happens to be the brainchild of the Chief Minister, Mr Chander Babu Naidu.
  • Methodology adopted

  • Returns obtained

  • Impact of the Kuppam model

  • 2-KR project

Asia’s useful trees, plants
By K.L. Noatay
ACHNAR is a common Indian name for a variety of moderate-sized deciduous trees of the Bauhinieae plant family. The Asian subcontinent has a good representation of these nearly akin trees and or shrubs. Some 12 species or say “siblings” of the genus are found growing naturally in India. In addition, about 30 members of the group are climbers. 

Alternatives before Punjab farmer
By Harjit Singh
ARKETING is a stage where the producer obtains the output for his services and investment to yield a product for which marketing is done. Wheat-paddy is the prevalent crop rotation in Punjab after the Green Revolution.

Farm operations for Jan

  • Horticultural operations

  • Permanent plants

  • Bulbous plants

No agrarian solution till political will
By Khushwant Ahluwalia
T last rain gods showered some mercy and the farmers celebrated the arrival of New Year with joy and thanks-giving. During the same period I sat in a seminar discussing the future problems and prospects of Punjab agriculture.Top




Kuppam an improved irrigated farm model
By G.S. Dhillon

FROM Andhra Pradesh another success story is repeated, this time in the field of improved irrigated collective farming, involving a large number of small and marginal farmers. The model known as “Kuppam model” happens to be the brainchild of the Chief Minister, Mr Chander Babu Naidu. In this an improved mode of water management has been made use of along with proper agricultural field service guidelines dispensed on daily basis. The success of the Kuppam model has led to launching several large agricultural projects, aimed at eradication of poverty through increasing land yields.

Kuppam village falls in Chittor district of Andhra Pradesh and the model covers an area of 200 acres, involving nearly 200 farmers of Cheldiganipalli village falling in the Ramakuppam Mandal. The work on the project was started some time in 1997 and it was aimed at developing and adopting sustainable and profitable agricultural production in farmers’ land through their active participation and direct interaction with experts.

In the demonstration plot, improved agro-techniques were adopted along with close monitoring so that their adoption to the region was ensured.

In this region, though the “total precipation” received could be considered to be adequate for crop production, yet on account of its erratic distribution, drought conditions were often experienced which seriously affected the agricultural production.

Therefore, the need for an effective utilisation of each drop of rainwater was felt for which appropriate technology adoption was considered essential. In this model drip irrigation along with associated water conservation measures was adopted. This step would guard against the possible watertable decline which had been experienced earlier in the region.

The technological innovations were combined with the integrated approach through creation of awareness at the grass-roots level by adoption of improved drip irrigation combined with fertigation system suitable for small farms. Machinery availability to the farmers was made easy by provision of number of units.

Methodology adopted

The core elements of technology adopted comprised of deep ploughing which ensured improved infiltration of rainwater, increased storage capability by the soil and reduced chances of soil compaction through the use of machinery which had negative effect.

The above technique resulted in better root penetration and proliferation in addition to providing better weed control and more efficient use of water and nutrients. The drip irrigation adopted ensured optimal irrigation scheduling. The use of farm machinery contributed to improved land and water use efficiency.

Fertigation i.e. the application of fertiliser through irrigation water in the crop root zone was based on proper soil analysis and suited each stage of crop growth, resulting in the targeted yield.

The NETAFIM drip irrigation system was deployed which incorporated the worlds most accurate pressure compensating integrated drippers line RAM-16 with 0.5/0.75 m emitter spacing and 2.3 litres per hour discharge. The pressure differential mechanism deployed guaranteed high emission uniformity and clog resistance. The design afforded flexibility for the farmers to raise a wide range of crops, such as vegetables, flower, sugarcane, banana, mulberry and commercial crops round the year.

Crop planning was based on market requirements. Use of quality seeds and monitoring of the crops for pest and disease control, helped production of export quality agricultural commodities.

Returns obtained

For the net sown area of 182 acres, the production started in March, 1998, and the gross income obtained till the end of November, 2000, was Rs 2 crore. After deduction of the working capital, including farmers’ own labour, the net profit per acre worked out at Rs 10,000 per annum. This amount was in addition to generation of employment of 1,27,000 man days which was valued at over Rs 70 lakh.

The model permitted the beneficiary farmers to share benefits like irrigation system water source, marketing facilities, etc. The model allowed each farmer to have independent control over the land area.

Impact of the Kuppam model

The improved technology model had been based on the lines of Israeli farm producers and gave results which were considered a success. The increased crop productivity over the traditional farming was found vary between 40 and 70 per cent in the different crop seasons.

Impressed by the results of the Kuppam model, the Japanese Government provided a grant of Rs 6 crore for replication of the model in other areas in the region. To the above, the Andhra Government added a matching grant and this led to setting up of the 2-KR project.

2-KR project

The project covered 1600 acres in Kuppam block comprising 54 villages and 692 beneficiary farmers. For irrigation, 141 units were set up. The return or the farm income varied from Rs 12,000 per acre to Rs 47,250 per acre on account of proper field service guidelines on daily basis through direct interaction on the farmers’ fields.

The 2-KR project resulted in the assimilation of modern knowledge in the field of water resource management among poor and marginal farmers for sustainable improvement in farm income and consequently their standard of living.

The above project led to setting up Kuppam-III phase, which covered around 8,000 beneficiaries and the project cost is put at Rs 46.5 crore. In this project the existing bore wells were to be utilised and no new bore well drilled. The farmers were to be motivated to share the limited available water with abetting farmers. In this project emphasis is given to grow irrigated dry crops or those having less water demand like vegetables and commercial crops having high water efficiency.

It may be stated that the Kuppam model has provided us with an appropriate model for making available improved irrigation technology to small and marginal farmers adopting the collective farming mode.


Asia’s useful trees, plants
By K.L. Noatay

KACHNAR is a common Indian name for a variety of moderate-sized deciduous trees of the Bauhinieae plant family.

The Asian subcontinent has a good representation of these nearly akin trees and or shrubs. Some 12 species or say “siblings” of the genus are found growing naturally in India. In addition, about 30 members of the group are climbers. These plants are easily recognised by the peculiar shape of their leaves, each constituting of two identical halves, folded at the midrib. Open the fold and spread the two halves on a plain surface, the figure so projected would look like the impression of a camel’s foot.

The scientific name of the genus of kachnar being bauhinia, important tree members there of are bahanmia variegate, B. retusa, B. Malabarica, B. racemosa, etc. As these trees have a lot of similarity we take B. variegata, the kachnar proper, as a representative of the group for this pen picture.

The kachnar tree is known by many other local names like karal, kanalla, kandla, etc. Starting from Burma to North-East Indian submountainous tract, the plant has its natural habitat almost up to Afghanistan. Latitude-wise it starts from the foot of the middle Himalayas, is found growing in suitable locales in southern states too. Its favourite altitudinal range is 1,000 to 3,000 feet above mean sea level.

Kachnar is a small to moderate-sized tree. It comes up naturally in a good number and with a comparative ease, both in forests as well as agricultural holdings. It bears beautiful, white to pinkish flowers in the early spring, when the tree, being deciduous, is more or less leafless.

Young buds of the kachnar flowers are picked for a variety of tasty broth and pickles. The leaves form a very potent fodder. These are generally lopped, economically and systematically for milch cattle.

The plant bears pod-like fruit during early summer. These become red on ripening by beginning of autumn, when seed can be collected for nursery operations, where necessary.

The katchnar tree has nearly half-an-inch thick bark, dark brown in colour, having vertical cracks. When given a cut the cambium dispels a gum having limited medicinal value, rich in proteins, but seldom exploited commercially.

Bauhinias as a genus are beautiful flowering plants. Various species flower at different times of the year. Accordingly, different species have been planted in a particular avenue at the Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun, in such a scheme that the stretch has one bauhinia or the other in inflorescence for most part of the year.

The Kachnar wood is red in colour, with red and or black streaks near the core. Weighing nearly 22 to 25 kg per cubic foot, its fairly hard in texture and is generally used for agricultural implements, in addition to firewood.

The kachnar is a good species for planting in open wastes as well as vacant dividing butts and bunds of agricultural holdings. The new crop can be raised by direct sowing of the seed before monsoon or by raining seedling in ploythene bags in a central nursery having irrigation facility.

Further, with a view to promoting tree planting in respective areas, the forest departments of nearly all Indian states provide kachnar seedlings to interested farmers and land owners at highly subsidised rates viz 50 to 100 paise per plant. Accordingly, people interested in covering their fallow land, having rich fodder for their milch cattle, or beautifying their drive-ways and landscape or otherwise enriching the environment, should grow this species of considerable economic value. 


Alternatives before Punjab farmer
By Harjit Singh

MARKETING is a stage where the producer obtains the output for his services and investment to yield a product for which marketing is done. Wheat-paddy is the prevalent crop rotation in Punjab after the Green Revolution. Foodgrains were required in large quantities for the country to be self-sufficient in food, and Punjab played a major role in it. But with the passage of time, other states of the country also become self-sufficient in foodgrains. So the need of Punjab foodgrains started declining slowly and slowly. On the other hand, micro-nutrient deficiencies took place in Punjab soil with continuous wheat-paddy crop rotation and soil became deteriorated due to leaching down of nitrates with more use of fertilisers. It also put a bad effect on the wheat-paddy produce. Due to decline in the quality of Punjab foodgrains, these are being neglected by market agencies like the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and Punjab Government agencies.

It is not desirable to increase the output of produce for which there is no market.

Godowns of the FCI and state agencies are packed with 42 million tonnes (July, 2000) stock of foodgrains which are even sufficient to fulfil the consumption needs of the country for more than two years, although 36.31 per cent of the population is not able to purchase it. The Government of India has fixed the minimum support price for 27 crops. Some of these crops are grown in Punjab. But the question arises whether the farmer has got the MSP for other crops consistently except for wheat and paddy. The answer is no. The reason is that wheat and paddy crops are more security providers than other crops without which one cannot survive. Moreover, the MSP also does not put any legal binding to purchase the other crops below the MSP level. So the farmer gets the price for these crops according to the demand and supply position in the market. The government is only a facilitator, but not a provider to maintain the price.

The second alternative available with the farmer is to increase the price of the produce through value addition. Although value addition reduces the services of traders as well as mediators creating the additional income to the producer, yet he may face the problem of more supply with less demand resulting into a price decline. The apni mandi concept was started in 1987 to increase the producers’ share in consumers’ rupee, but it could not become successful.

If we thoroughly examine the agricultural crisis, it seems more complicated in the near future. It itself has fetched too many problems to be removed, especially in Punjab. The state farmers have made so much major investments on advanced technology that these are underutilised by them. There are not many large farms in Punjab and so much expenditure was not necessary for an average farmer. Had the farmers adopted this mechanisation in farming on cooperative basis, the condition of the farmers would not have been so bad. Inorganic manures as well as weedicides have disrupted both soil health and manual labour.

Ultimately we find no solution without organic farming. It was the duty of the agricultural institutions to guide farmers that not weedicides but manual labour was the better alternative for higher yield in spite of incurring so much expenditure on weedicides and destroying the soil status for this populated and poor economy. Similarly, diversification could also be promoted to some extent by making contract farming obligatory and contract should be taken into consideration both from buyers and sellers’ point of view.

It will not be correct to say that the country does not need to produce wheat and paddy in large quantities as the buffer stock is already available in abundance. The availability of abundant buffer stock in India is mainly due to the fact that a large chunk of the population is below poverty line who cannot buy the square meals a day. Moreover, the annual growth rates of rice and wheat in the 1990s are 1.21 and 1.96 per cent, respectively, while the annual growth rate of population is 2.14 per cent.


Farm operations for Jan

Horticultural operations

— Pruning of deciduous fruit trees like peach, plum and pear should be carried out during January. For grapes the pruning should be initiated in the second fortnight of January and completed by the first week of February.

— The deciduous fruit plants like peach, plum and bare-rooted ber and planted during the second fortnight of January while pear and grapes are planted in the first fortnight of February before they start new growth.

— Check that the young plants are protected from frost and mend the thatches where required.

— If the growers have not applied farmyard manure and fertiliser to the fruit plants last month, it should be given now. Apply the farmyard manure, superphosphate and half nitrogen and half potash to the grapes after pruning.

— One irrigation should be applied to the ber trees during this month and the fruits are in the developing stage.

— The best time for harvesting kinnow fruits starts on January 15. For the fruits intended to be consumed after more than 10 days, individual seal packing should be done. Use high density polyethylene (NDPE) bags of appropriate size of micron thickness. Seal the open end by heating or with rubber band after narrowing and twisting it.

— To rejuvenate the declining citrus orchards after harvest, remove the dead wood during January-February before then new growth starts. Spray Bordeaux mixture (2:2:250) immediately after applying the Bordeaux paste to cut surface and trunk of the trees. Apply Bordeaux paint to the trunk after the week.

— Trees of inferior varieties of peach, plum and mango may be headed back now. These trees will give out new shoots which could be budded in February-March with superior scions.

— Bark-eating caterpillar in citrus should be controlled by removing the webs and filling the holes with kerosene during January-February as was done in September-October. Treat all alternative host plants in the vicinity. Treat foot rot/gummosis and canker in cirtus by decortication and disinfection of wound on the truck with Bordeaux paste. After the paste dries up in about a week, apply Bordeaux mixture (2.2.250).

— Nymphs of mango mealy bug should be prevented from crawling up the trunk by applying a slippery or sticky band one metre above ground level.

— Pear diseases, phoma leaf spot and black mould of ber can be checked by spraying the trees with Bordeaux mixture (2:2:250) or 0.3 per cent copper oxychloride 50 per cent in 500 litres of water.

— To keep off foot rot or collar rot of grapevines, plant cuttings after dipping in 0.2 per cent Ziram suspension.

Permanent plants

The deciduous plants (which shed their leaves in winter) can be transplanted before they start sprouting without any earth ball. Similarly, pruning and training of deciduous plants may also be carried out before they start sprouting. Tree pits can be prepared for plantation of all types of permanent plants in February-March. Generally, 3’x3’ size of pit is dug for big trees and 2’x2’ for creepers and shrubs. The pits should be filled with a mixture of 2/3 parts top soil and 1.3 part of well rotten farmyard manure.

Bulbous plants

Produce bulbs of amaryllis, haementhus, zephyranthes and tube rose, etc. to be planted in next month.

— Progressive Farming, PAU


No agrarian solution till political will
By Khushwant Ahluwalia

AT last rain gods showered some mercy and the farmers celebrated the arrival of New Year with joy and thanks-giving. During the same period I sat in a seminar discussing the future problems and prospects of Punjab agriculture.

In my opinion the seminar was over at the inaugural session itself when Mr R.S. Mann, Chief Secretary, Punjab, bid hands up highlighting the plight of the bureaucracy and the politicians. Rest were mere statistics because the problem, in my opinion, lies in lack of will and purpose, Diversification is not an isolated step. It extends far beyond the farm and will require a tangle of farmers, researchers, input suppliers, farm advisers, processors, retailers, consumers, middlemen and policymakers.

The situation is ironic. The problem has been identified, the solutions lie within sight. But yet the farmer is in the doldrums waiting for Act-2 to happen which shall be termed as “the wheat crisis.”

So the burning question is with whom does the solution lie? Does it lie in political will? Will somebody take the initiative and try to resolve a crucial issue which has the potential of turning into a quantitative social unrest? Well at the present moment indifference is at its peak whether it is the government, the administrators or the opposition.

India goes nuclear ! The credit of allowing India to take such a daring step should go to the Indian farmer. It was because the government realised that India could manage its food security threat whatever the sanctions that it decided to go ahead with the tests. And yet we do not care for the farmers.

Then there is useless debate on the WTO eara. Each political party is locked in a stance which gives them political advantage. This is ridiculous, especially when we have two jobs on hand. One to tackle the domestic agrarian crisis and secondly to prepare our farmers to shift from one particular economy to another. Do we have time for all this?

We are functioning in two extremes. The respondents to the question that will the WTO harm us are taking the other extreme by saying that the WTO will benefit us, whereas the factual position is to tackle the problem of excess sowing of paddy and wheat. These extremes have triggered an unnecessary debate to settle political and intellectual supremacy, whereas we should by now have come to grip with realities and started achieving the desired goal.

So where does a farmer go from here? Is there any hope for him?

Will he take to the streets or will we witness a spurt in suicides ? If we reach such a situation who shall be responsible?

The recommendations of the outcome of the seminar would have reached the government but there is a slip between the cup and the lip. What will a new suggestion do when it is not within the government’s reach to fulfil an already accepted one? And what is the guarantee that the Union Government will not twist Punjab’s arm again to grow wheat and paddy under the pretext of food insufficiency in the case of a drought and any other natural clamity.

The answer lies sensitising our system and making it more responsive to emerging trends rather than allowing it to collapse and then reincarnate it to gain fresh political mileage.