Integrated Productivity Management in Cropping Systems, Punjab

Punjab, once the leading state in North India to harness the benefits of the Green Revolution, is witnessing environment pollution and deterioration in ground water and soil fertility due to over-exploitation of its natural resources. To address these challenges, the Tata Trusts launched the ‘Reviving the Green Revolution’ (RGR) programme in collaboration with the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

The RGR initiative, launched in 2002, covers 1,300 villages in 40 blocks of nine districts in Punjab with a focus on agriculture and allied livelihood building activities, especially in rain-fed, drought-prone areas, in order to increase profitability and productivity for small and marginal farmers. It encourages agricultural diversification by shifting to economically viable, water-saving crops, and focuses on improving soil health, arresting environmental degradation through the judicious use of agrochemicals, reducing the cost of cultivation and making agriculture economically viable and sustainable.

The need for crop diversification in this region is critical; the years of rice/wheat mono-cropping system has been responsible for a sharp decline in ground water levels in the region. To counter this, the Trusts introduced the Integrated Productivity Management in Cropping Systems programme. Supported by the RGR cell, this programme aims to maximise yields and the income of farmers through the adoption of a complete package of practices for the production of cotton and wheat. Basmati rice replaces water-intensive varieties of paddy. Cultivation of maize and pulses, especially black gram, also diverts sizeable areas from the cultivation of paddy. Water-saving technologies and crop-residue management were introduced.

The main emphasis is on the need-based use of pesticides and fertilisers. The RGR Cell popularised Integrated Pest Management and judicious use of pesticides. It also organised farmers into groups for collective production and marketing and set up producer companies for profitable marketing of crops.

The goal is to significantly improve the livelihoods of farmers in the region through lower costs of production and enhanced yields.

Key achievements
  • Better Cotton Initiative: Intensive training on better cotton technology resulted in 8 producer units in Punjab becoming licensed Better Cotton Producers; over 100,000 metric tonnes of better seed cotton were produced and marketed.
  • Judicious use of agri-inputs (17% less than other farmers) and increased yield resulted in beneficiary farmers gaining 20% on net profit (and 10% increased yields) over non-beneficiary farmers.
  • Vegetable nutrition gardens were established to demonstrate the potential of vegetable gardens for economic gain and nutritious diets. Azolla pits were established for meeting year-long requirements of green fodder for livestock.
  • The flagship mKRISHI programme resulted in 200,000 farmers receiving year-round timely information on best agricultural practices to be followed in six crops – cotton, basmati, wheat, onion, gram and maize.
  • Pest/disease outbreak alerts were sent to farmers in advance, thereby giving them a head start in addressing the outbreak, while also engendering a behaviour change towards being responsive instead of reactive.

Area of operation

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