ODISHA, India—Around 30 extension officers from various government agencies are now master trainers and are ready to disseminate modern crop production practices to more farmers in Odisha.
The extension professionals from Regional Institute of Training & Extension, Department of Agriculture, Deputy Director Agriculture-Plant Protection, and Institute on Management of Agricultural Extension (IMAGE) were trained in laser land leveling, direct seeding of rice, line sowing of pulses and oilseeds crops using a seed-cum-fertilizer drill, and best management practices. The sessions also included machine calibration and troubleshooting. The training was provided by the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) to help make extension workers better at explaining and demonstrating the technologies to farmers who still employ traditional practices.
Most farmers in Odisha use manual transplanting in rice or broadcasting followed by cross plowing using bullocks, 35-40 days after sowing. Then women also rearrange the plants by transplanting left-over healthy seedlings to maintain the desired spacing. Other crops like pulses, oilseeds, and maize are also sown by broadcasting, dibbling, or by using a bullock-drawn plow. These practices make crop cultivation tedious and more expensive because of the higher labor and seed requirements. Weed infestation also poses a serious problem.
Laser land leveling increases the rice yield considerably, reduces total water requirement and makes weed control easier. The line sowing of rice and other crops (green gram, black gram, mustard, toria, sunflower, groundnut, and maize) using a seed-cum-fertilizer drill ensures proper spacing, depth of sowing, uniform germination and optimum plant population. Machine-sowing facilitates proper fertilizer placement and mechanical weeding and other intercultural operations. The use of the new technologies reduces the cost of cultivation, labor requirement, and drudgery. By adopting these new practices, farmers can increase their productivity and profitability
The 3-day training was organized by IMAGE in collaboration with CSISA Odisha Hub in Bhubaneswar on 20-22 February.