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TASMAC - A Research Report

Magasool wins 1st prize at IIM Calcutta contest - http://ecelliimc.com/events/i2i/

Pilot launched to provide processing and marketing services to millet farmers

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Millets Processing


We experiment improved techniques of farming alongside conventional method and once significant impact is demonstrated over conventional method, it is taken to the farmers around. Cultivation of crop involves a multistep process involving land preparation, nursery, sowing, fertilization, weeding, pest control, harvesting and marketing. Magasool tries out experiments where one of these steps is altered with an improved technique rather than many steps or everything. Hence the other procedures remain same as the farmer’s existing practices and the new improved step is compared against current practices. The primary reason for such an approach is to ease the implementation. Even though multi-step changes could result in far better yield, replication of such a program on a large scale for many small and marginal farmers is extremely tough. Hence we look in for one step changes which will still result in increased yield/ decreased cost and is simple to be taken to a large number of small and marginal farmers. The other steps are added one by one later as and when such a step ensures better productivity. Most of the improved techniques that are being tried out are not new innovations but ones that are successfully used by progressive farmers and other organizations elsewhere and have shown the potential for a significant improvement in yield or decreasing input cost.

We are trying out several experiments at the same point of time and the one that shows significant difference with respect to farmer’s practices is taken up with a few farmers around the experiment farm as a pilot. The outcome from our experiment farm along with pilot is used to evaluate the component’s impact and is then taken up with large number of farmers with intensive training and follow-ups.

Some of the experiments that are being tried and in the pipeline are:

pH Adjustment

pH plays a very important role in plant growth and yield. Most crops prefer pH in the range of 6 to 7. However, when pH is outside this range, most of the nutrients becomes less available to plants even if the land is fertilized with such nutrients. Magasool is testing for effective ways to increase pH in soils less than pH of 5. There are two experiments that are being tried out, one using the addition of dolomite and limestone and the other using organic ways.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Several agricultural universities have developed and demonstrated methods of pest and crop disease management that combine the power of biological, chemical and physical tools (http://agritech.tnau.ac.in/crop_protection/crop_prot_ipm_introduction.html). The aim of these methods is to reduce the use of chemical pesticides, minimize harm to environment and humans and save input costs for farmers. Magasool will test the suggested methods of IPM in 3 test plots this year.