JOHAR project staff get hands-on practice

Farmers in Jharkhand are happy to take delivery of a package of improved vegetable production practices.

Trainer Devender Kaur demonstrates a pheromone trap to an engaged group of trainees.

Vegetable productivity in Jharkhand state, eastern India, is lower compared to the bordering states of West Bengal and Bihar for most crops. Low productivity, lack of access to good seeds, use of outdated production practices, and limited market access constrain the potential of vegetable farmers in the state.

WorldVeg aims to change this situation by providing technical advice to the Jharkhand state government through the Jharkhand Opportunities for Harnessing Rural Growth (JOHAR) project, funded by the World Bank.

Through several one-day courses, the WorldVeg team in Jharkhand has trained around 3,000 partner staff to use a package of production practices for five major vegetable crops: tomato, chili, okra, eggplant and cabbage. Many more thousands of farmers across the state have now learned the new practices from the trainees.

WorldVeg trainer Devender Kaur and her team focus on gaps in existing cultivation practices, using hands-on demonstrations to engage participants in active learning.

When course feedback was recorded via video, many trainees volunteered to speak in front of the camera. “I have learnt the practice of treating commercial garden pea seed with Rhizobium culture for the first time,” said Mr. Parameshwar Munda. “I have never done it before. I will try it in my field and check how it is going to change the nutrient requirement of my crop.”

Another participant, Ms. Rajamani, said: “We have been growing tomato for many years and we never paid any attention to proper staking. We did not know it was going to impact our net income. We will take this message back home from this training and spread it across our villages.”

Trainees can clearly see the difference between the way they currently farm and the improved production methods. WorldVeg’s focus on bringing good practices into existing farming systems is helping smallholder farmers and their families around the state create the conditions to ensure sustainable incomes.

Active participants ready to answer questions and learn more about the improved package of practices.

Story and photos: Abhilash Miriyapalli