Introducing improved production technologies for mungbean and urdbean in Odisha
In India’s eastern state of Odisha, mungbean and urdbean are important crops that provide a major share of people’s daily nutrition.
Farmers have grown these crops for many generations, mainly for household consumption. But seed is broadcast and left without any care until the harvest; crops are grown mostly under rainfed conditions, and yields are low.
Under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) scheme, the government of Odisha sought WorldVeg’s technical advice to improve mungbean and urdbean productivity. WorldVeg is demonstrating seed production in farmers’ fields to emphasize quality seed as the stepping stone to increased yield.
In early 2016, Legume Breeder Ram Nair introduced the seed village concept in Ganjam, Nayagarh, Khurda, Bolangir and Puri districts. Since then, Ram’s team has been helping farmers adopt good agricultural practices to increase production. Through this project, one-day training programs are being held in farmers’ fields to introduce mungbean growers in each district to improved seed production practices. Many farmers are enthusiastic about the prospect of producing their own seed stocks.
“Seeing is believing,” said Ram. “When farmers began comparing the performance of their locally cultivated varieties with the improved WorldVeg lines growing in their own fields, such as yellow mosaic resistant ML 818 and ML 1628, they knew it was time to change.” Ram explains the key principles of seed production and tells the farmers that good yields are possible if the steps are followed.
Odisha team members Reetanjali, Rathikanth and Niranjan with support from Naresh demonstrate innovations such as seed treatment, line sowing, rogueing, mechanical weeding, foliar spray and yellow sticky traps. The team members guide farmers as they practice in their own fields. Once the farmers gain hands-on experience with the weeder, they say mechanical weeding is easier than manual weeding.
State government officials from the Department of Agriculture in each district take part in the training programs and contribute technical advice. Even farmers not directly covered under the project interventions actively participate in the training—a measure of its reach and success in delivering useful information and skills.
Story and photos: Ram Nair