The Goal of this DFID-funded project was to improve rural livelihoods through accelerated adoption of resource conserving technologies (RCTs).
This is the report of the study conducted by Narendra Deva University of Agriculture and Technology (NDUA&T).
Farmers in two villages, Vishunpurva (an adopted village) and Dammar Jot (a non-adopted village) were assigned to one of the four socio-economic groups, i.e. landless, marginal, subsistence or large (= food surplus/cash cropping farmers), depending on their ability to take risks involved in adopting new technologies.
Data collected under Output 1 indicated that all socio-economic groups have benefited from using the zero tillage (ZT) machine. However, in terms of adoption, at the outset of the project the larger (food surplus and subsistence) farmers were using the machine more than the poorer groups. The main benefit is income generated from the sales of increased production. There does appear to be an issue of labour displacement; the extent to which this is a problem remains unclear and it is recommended that the project team continues to monitor the situation.
On investigating the ways in which farmers access information, for Output 2, it was found that larger (food surplus and subsistence) farmers have many more channels available to them whereas the marginal and landless have the fewest. Women farmers are dependent on their families for new knowledge and information.
The channels of information range from government departments and the private sector to farmers’ fairs and local meetings known as 'chaupal'. On further scrutiny, the channels of support available do not tailor their information to meet the specific needs of all socio-economic groups of farmers. It was revealed that ‘one message does not fit all’.
Researchers identified that marginal farmers much preferred on-farm activities such as demonstrations and explanations on site, and exposure visits to local farms whereas the larger food surplus and subsistence farmers preferred to engage in dialogue with manufacturers and scientists. The project team recommended a community based workshop for disseminating information so that women can also participate.
The project team has demonstrated that through improved knowledge, the adoption of the ZT machine increased among the marginal groups but decreased among food surplus farmers. This was because the food surplus farmers were hiring their machines out rather than using them themselves in order to raise a cash income. During this research it became apparent that many of the machines in use in the satellite and sub-satellite villages were there as a result of the KVK demonstration model which had been introduced prior to this CABI project. The real test of long term adoption will only become apparent when support for these models are removed from the project satellite and sub-satellite villages.
Data collected from the researchers did show that in the satellite and sub-satellite villages, the area of wheat sown using the ZT machine ranged from 8-16% of the area of traditionally sown wheat. This does indicate that some change is taking place but the real success will be when this figure reaches more than 70%. This will only be achieved through using appropriate knowledge dissemination practices.
This report is associated with this work:
Assessing the Impact of Resource Conserving Technologies in the Indo-Gangetic Plain: Identifying Agricultural Knowledge Systems and Overcoming Blockages to Enhance Uptake of Agricultural Technologies to Optimise Pro-Poor Development
CABI-Europe, UK, 41 pp.