Soil erosionl



Capturing climate resilient practices and technologies in action

Video documentation of successful climate resilient interventions under NICRA was initiated in Vadavathur and Jambumadai villages in Erumapatti block of Namakkal District, Tamilnadu during March 24-27, 2014. An interface meeting  with 50 farmers and officials from line departments and extension functionaries was held  at the farmer service custom hiring centre in the village established under NICRA project. 

Farmers in the village shared their experiences in tackling climate aberrations like delayed onset of monsoon rains during the last two years. Small and marginal farmers could take up timely sowing of sorghum and groundnut with precision placement of seed in the moist zone during the narrow periods of soil moisture availability. This was facilitated by the custom hiring center for farm implements established at a cost of Rs.6.25 lakhs comprising of 12 equipments including seed-cum-fertilizer drill, ridge former and rotavator. The center made available seed drill  on hiring basis (Rs.100/h) to farmers who do not own such equipment to enable timely sowing.  Higher crop yields were realized due to good seed germination and optimum crop stand.

Namakkal district receives about 317 mm rainfall from the south west monsoon and about 291 mm rainfall during the north east monsoon. In 2012, the project villages received a rainfall of 157 mm between June to September and about 355 mm during October to December.Hence, harvesting of rainwater was accorded utmost priority in view of the low and erratic rainfall experienced in this area.  In Aairamkuttai village, large community farm ponds (301 x 206 x 16' size) were dug under the project through convergence with MGNREGA prior to the onset of monsoon during 2013.  This created a potential capacity of water storage of about 28500 m3 which can irrigate 57 ha (@5 cm/irrigation) by each pond. In 2013, good water storage in the ponds led to recharging of 45 open wells and 112 bore wells in the surrounding areas which were used to cultivate onion crop in 54 acres.  Several farmers dug individual farm ponds (sizes ranging from 17 x 60 x 6' to 57 x 40 x 6'). However, in this predominantly red soil belt, percolation loss of stored water is enormous and is a serious constraint for taking up successful crop production with harvested water. To prevent seepage losses, lining of ponds with HDPE sheets (500 micron thickness) was taken up in 16 farm ponds with support from the project at a cost of Rs.12000-15000 per pond.  Farmers saw the benefit of lining with enough water storage lasting for extended period till March/April. The harvested water was used for providing supplemental irrigation to the second crop (rabi sorghum, onion, turmeric and tube rose) at times of moisture stress.  Seeing the success of the lining technique in this area, Veerasami, Palanisami, Dhanasamudram and 14 other farmers took up lining of their farm ponds at their own cost for increased water storage and its efficient use  for a successful high value second crop in this rainfed tract.


Introduction of drought tolerant cultivars of groundnut (TMV-4, 6 & 13) and short duration varieties of green gram (VBN variety) and black gram (Vamban) to farmers in the village helped in nearly doubling the crop yield to 600 kg/acre compared to conventional varieties despite prolonged dry spells faced in 2012 and 2013 seasons.  Crop diversification is key to enhancing farm income in this dry area. A high temperature tolerant local jasmine variety was sourced from Ramnathapuram and promoted in the village under sprinkler irrigation using harvested rainwater.  

Livestock production is an important activity in the project villages. These farmers face fodder and feed shortage in deficit rainfall years which generally leads to decline in milk productivity and income.  Villagers were encouraged to take up dual purpose, multi cut perennial fodder sorghum variety (Co-FS 29) and napier bajra grass (NBCO4) which could survive less frequent irrigation once in 15-20 days. In this tract, livestock production also suffers from high temperature stress coupled with deficient mineral nutrition which adversely impacts fertility in cattle.  Village women were trained in preparing mineral mixture blocks for feed supplementation to reduce the rate of infertility.  Tolerant breeds of sheep (Nariswarna) and goat (Tellicherry) were introduced in the villages for higher productivity and breed upgradation.

Mr. Ranjit a village youth was trained to regularly collect rainfall data from the weather station installed in Vadavathur village. This information is reported to the KVK which in turn provides value added agro-advisories to farmers in the project villages so as to plan and take up appropriate farm operations. A bi-weekly (Tuesday-Friday) weather bulletin is also broadcast  in the local news channels in association with VCRMC, Namakkal.

Empowerment of villagers in climate risk management was accomplished through establishment of village community risk management centers (VCRMCs) comprising of villagers who manage the custom hiring center and other community interventions such as establishment of seed and fodder banks (sorghum : COFS29 & CO300 and groundnut: TMV-13 and CO6).

Farmers in NICRA adopted villages have learnt to cope with climatic variability by way of creating bio-physical resilience through rainwater harvesting and itsrecycling through efficient water use by providing supplemental micro irrigation and increasing cropping intensity. Cultivation of drought tolerant varieties of rainfed crops and crop diversification  activities have brought stability to farm outputs and incomes.

Dr. V. Mohan, Programme Coordinator, KVK, Namakkal and his staff and Dr. K. Nagasree, Senior  Scientist (Agril. Extension), CRIDA, guided the entire documentation process with the cooperation of farmers from Vadavathur and Jambumadai villages.




K. Nagasree and Y. G. Prasad





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