A Report from Champaran

March 12-13, 2016

Visited various villages of the districts  – East Champaran and West Champaran with Director Research; Director Extension Education; Director, Sugarcane Research Institute; Nodal Officer (KVKs), Univ. Prof & Head (Microbiology); Univ. Prof. Cum Chief Scientist (Pulses) and the entire team of Irrigation Water Management (namely – Dr. Vinod Kumar, Chief Scientist (IWM); Dr. Mukesh Kumar, Sr. Scientist (Soil Physics); Dr. S. K. Jain, Sr. Scientist (SWC); Dr. A. K. Singh, Jr. Scientist (Soil Chem.); Dr. Rajan Kumar, Jr. Scientist (Agronomy) and Dr. Ravish Chandra, Jr. Scientist (SWC)), with the objective of having interaction with the farmers of the area on-site, understand their problems related to agricultural affairs particularly under the change in climatic conditions and device some sustainable solutions to make their business more profitable. Interaction was made with about 50-60 farmers in every village which is summarized in the following paragraphs.
Khairimal, Jamunia (Chakia Block) Dist. East Champaran
The sugarcane growers of the village reported the unavailability of the seed of suitable varieties a main problem. Regarding insect/ pest management, the problem of top borer was the major issue. The farmers were unaware of the biological control measures for insect/ pest control. During interaction it was observed that there is an urgent need to create awareness about proper irrigation schedule for different crops. Irrigation is being provided through tube wells (about 150 ft deep) using diesel pumping sets, mostly 5 hp capacity. Under the prevailing circumstances, solar pumping sets may provide a better alternative. The farmers showed their interest in laser leveling of their fields for efficient utilization of water resources. The farmers were also required to be educated in crop residue management.
The land holding of the majority of the farmers was reported to be between 20 -25 acres but in the absence of land consolidation the farmers were facing difficulties in its management.
Also met few educated young girls who received training in mushroom cultivation and were growing mushroom, but only for household consumption. Keeping their interest in view, they were assured to provide training in cultivation of button mushroom and spawn production through experts and some of them will be made master trainers who will train the other young girls of the village.
Champaran-1 Champaran-2 Champaran-3
Jasoli Patti (Kotwa Block) Dist. East Champaran
Although the village has canal but in the absence of a proper schedule of operation and inadequate water in the canal the farmers of the village remain devoid of the canal water supply. Hence, they were dependent on the ground water for irrigation which is a very costly affair for them due to poor spending capacity. The farmers were aware of the zero tillage cultivation of wheat but were not properly educated about its use. They informed that this technology is not being used primarily due to extensive growth of weeds and secondary due to unavailability of the seed drill. Most of farmers had a land holding of about 1 acre. A lot of land was reported to be under low land situation which was not being utilized in anyway. Farmers were practicing indiscriminate use of agro-chemicals.
Champaran-4 Champaran-5 Champaran-6
Pipradih (Block Piprakothi) Dist. East Champaran
Champaran-7Visited the site of installation of a solar pumping system in the field of Sri Manoranjan Singh. Sri. Singh, who owned about 6-7 acres of land, expressed his satisfaction with the pumping system which was enough to irrigate his entire farm. Such pumping system can be adopted on large
scale, if some mechanism is developed for their popularization. It is well known that such small farmers cannot afford to pay the high initial cost of the system. Although subsidy to the tune 90% is being given to the farmers, but, it is restricted in number. Hence, government needs to develop suitable strategy so that more and more farmers can be encouraged for installation of solar pumping systems.
Chandraiya (Block Motihari) Dist. East Champaran
During the interaction with farmers, shocked to know that they were hardly using any insect/ pest control measures since none of them could afford to have a sprayer/ duster. Most of the farmers owned land less than 1 acre land. The farmers of the village need to get the benefit zero-tillage cultivation through some mechanism. A group of women of the village showed the products developed from mushroom. Other women of the village are also required to be encouraged in mushroom production business. The women folk also need to be trained in medicinal and aromatic plant cultivation, food products formulation, clothing & textile, vermicompost production, dairy & goatry management, etc. to improve the socio-economic status of the community.
Champaran-8 Champaran-9
Katraw Jamunia (Block Gaunaha) Dist. West Champaran
This village is located at the borders of Nepal. The residents belong to the Tharu tribe community. Being at the foot hill of Himalaya, there are number of small natural streams running which originates from the artesian aquifers. These natural streams provide source of irrigation water to the farmers of the area, round the year. The farmers are entirely dependent on these streams for irrigation and hence there are no tubewells. Presently farmers construct an earthen dam for diversion of the water from one of the stream, which gets washed away during floods, every year. Keeping requirement in view and to provide relief to the farmers, the team of water management scientist had selected this location in consultation with the farmers, for construction of a permanent diversion structure to divert the water for irrigation, whenever required.
In addition to the routine problems of the farmers, this matter was also discussed in length with the beneficiaries. All the aspects related to the stability and operation of structure were discussed with the group and they were assured that their worries related to stability of the structure will be kept in mind but its operation will be the responsibility of the beneficiaries. If required, a water user association will be formed who will bear this responsibility.
Champaran-10 Champaran-11 Champaran-12
Future Thrust
Visit of these villages and interaction with the farming community has clearly indicated to take necessary steps for following:

  1. Availability of proper seeds of all the required crops. For this KVKs at Piprakothi and Madhopur needs to pay special attention.
  2. Demonstration of IFS system for multiple uses of water and use of low lands for boosting the economy of the low land owners.
  3. Demonstration of Solar Pumping System to counter the increasing cost of irrigation and utilization of solar energy.
  4. Availability of Zero-Till Seed drill.
  5. Proper nutrient and pest management.
  6. Techniques of crop residue management.