New methodology changing the fate of Majuli farmers

Boni Narah and her husband used to incur losses every year due to flood in the rural Majuli doing paddy cultivation. But their fortunate has changed with the new methodology. The farmer couple has enhanced their harvest by multiple times after adopting the SRI (Systematic Root Intensification) method. Now, they have become an example in their neighbourhood.

“Life was pretty tough for us. And especially cultivation of paddy was much difficult. Flood would ruin everything that we could sow,” said Boni who has a family consisting of 12 members.

They have one hectre of land in Pokajora. The major crop of the island is kharif or sali paddy which is cultivated from May/July to November/December. But due to flood which appears to happen from early April to even October, farmers lose valuable crops every year.

Boni said that they had no way other than accepting the loss of around Rs 20 thousand rupees every year due to the flood.
“We tried transplantation of seedlings again for two more times. Then again flood damaged the crops in May and July. Even after that we tried for harvesting what had left by flood but again flash flood swap away the leftover in October, just before harvesting time,” she added.

But their fortune changed after the couple attended an awareness rally of conducted by CML Tata Trusts and Mising Autonomous Council on ‘Multi-theme Livelihood Initiative in MAC areas of Assam’ in 2015. It was on Boro paddy cultivation with the SRI method.

Following that the couple tried their luck by cultivating Boro paddy with SRI method in only one bigha land which is one seventh of their total land.

“The result was a pleasant surprise for us as we obtained around 1280 kilogram. Otherwise we could not remember obtaining more than 800-900 kg by cultivating Sali paddy,” added Boni.
In 2016-17, the couple could harvest 9.89 ton of paddy in their one hector land.

“Now no one in my family will sleep without dinner,” said an overwhelmed Boni. Following this, the couple also starts promoting their formula in the neighbourhood.

Centre for Microfinance and Livelihood-Tata Trusts and Mising Autonomous Council have been promoting handloom, fishery and boro paddy based livelihood activities under a multi thematic livelihood collaborative project.

“The project has brought in huge impact among the farmers in Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Majuli and Golaghat district through SRI techniques. The introduction of ‘Naveen’, a short duration Boro paddy variety cultivation under the project brought a revolutionary impact to 9474 farmers in these ditricts,” said Rajashree Das of CML Tata Trusts.

An average production has increased from three tons per hectare to seven tons with an increase in 3576 Metric ton from an area of 894 hectors.

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