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FRONTLINE DEMONSTRATIONS ON RICE

        Improved technology played the most vital role in increasing rice production and ushering in green revolution in high potential irrigated areas. Rice production in the country increased from around 40 million tones annually during 1960's to 85 million tons by late 1980's, transforming from the net importing stage to self sufficiency and even exporting 2-4 million tons annually. But the eastern states comprising Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal having nearly 2/3 of rice area account for only 35% of this increased rice production. Obviously, the green revolution has not impacted rice yield to the desired extent in this tract despite claims of having developed appropriate high yielding varieties (HYVs). However, it is now becoming increasingly clear that this vast area can contribute greatly to increasing rice productivity /production if there is a better application of technology tempered by appropriate transfer methodology. The superior performance of presently available HYVs can be demonstrated together with recommended practices through extensive compact block demonstrations to expose and educate farmers and sensitize the extension personnel working in area about potentials of the technology. These demonstrations also help internalize rapid spread of the HYVs introduced for such large scale on- farm demonstrations offer excellent opportunities for seed multiplication by farmers themselves. Frontline Demonstrations (FLDs) are thus rooted in the philosophy that superior technologies developed by research institutes are directly transferred to farmers to adopt as part of recommended package of practices.

        Rice is grown in a wide range of ecological conditions in eastern India ranging from upland areas with little moisture to situation where stagnating water is 3-4 meters deep. Hence, development of appropriate varietal and management technology packages for various target ecologies (Upland, lowland, semi-deep) and their rapid diffusion through frontline demonstrations are central to attaining higher rice yields in eastern India.

        Thus, In order to supplement/complement and accelerate the ongoing efforts of state and central governments and national and international voluntary organizations and to effect rapid transfer of technology in eastern India by reducing frustrating time lag, compact block FLDs have been conceived and initiated by the Directorate of Rice Research (DRR) during Kharif 1990 as a part of its Silver Jubilee celebrations. Financial support was extended by the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operation, Government of India under the ICDP Scheme. And in close collaboration with state agricultural universities and state departments of agriculture in the region, they have been continued till to date after two years of break in 1992 and 1993.

        The demonstrations have been extended since 1994, to a few selected rice growing irrigated areas where yields were very much affected by biotic/ abiotic stresses and technology spread was rather slow. The first set of hybrids was released in 1994. The rate of adoption of hybrids was much slower in the initial phase. Hence from 2000 onwards, FLDs were also organized on hybrid rice for popularizing and large scale adoption.

OBJECTIVES

        The major objectives of FLD programme when initiated in eastern India in 1990 were;

  • Demonstrating the cost effective varietal cum whole crop and pest management technological options including the management of endemic pests/diseases/irrigation induced soil salinity/alkalinity problems for rapid spread of new technologies in eastern India.
  • Providing better rice varietal choice for diverse agro-ecosystems that exists in eastern India.
  • Facilitating rapid multiplication of quality seed/ organized spread of newly introduced high yielding/ pest resistant cultivars.
  • Complementing the ongoing efforts of Ministry of Agriculture/ other agencies for achieving improved rice productivity in eastern India.
  • • Acquainting extension functionaries & the local farmers with frontline varietal and management technologies. Overtime, as the programme, based on the need, has been extended to other regions, the objectives got modified accordingly. As hybrid rice technology was introduced to Indian agriculture during 1995, FLDs on hybrid rice were also taken up recently from 2003.

TECHNICAL PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATION

        The frontline demonstrations have been organized since 1990 with a gap of two years during 1992 and 1993. The modus operandi of the programme implementation includes the following details.

TARGET AREAS

Rain fed ecosystem:

        Eastern Indian States covering Assam, Bihar, Eastern M.P, Eastern U.P., Orissa, West Bengal and from 1997, Maharastra (Western India).

Irrigated Eco system:

        Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra and Punjab Selection of FLD centres, ecology-wise, technology-wise, varieties and management practices is done in a separate session especially convened at the Annual Rice Research Workshop meetings involving the co-operating scientists/ Directors of Research of State Agricultural Universities (SAU) and their representatives/nominees of Directors of Dept. of Agriculture of the participating states. Agricultural Commissioner or his nominee normally chairs the sessions and officials from Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation, Director, Directorate of Rice Development, Patna regularly participate in these sessions, to give their expert advice and suggestions.

Size and location of the demonstrations

        In the beginning, it was decided that for effective and rapid diffusion of technologies demonstrated, a compact area of 20 acres (8 ha) of contiguous plots involving multiple farm holdings (cluster approach) belonging to small and marginal farmers, is to be selected for each demonstration with a provision to shift every year to new areas/farmers for a wider coverage. It was decided later to have compact block area of 4ha. each in a cluster approach.

Figure- 3: Operational Flow Chart on the Linkages and Functions

Demonstration number

        State-wise /ecosystem-wise/ technology- wise/ problem-wise/centre-wise allocation of demonstrations is decided for each year in Annual Rice Workshop of DRR and the targets are communicated to implementing agencies in advance. Upto year 2000, the each acre under FLD was considered as one FLD. From the year 2001 onwards, each hectare area covered had been considered as one FLD.

Critical inputs/funding of the demonstrations

        Funds to cover critical inputs such as seed/fertilizer/ pesticides/ parasites/pheromones, to supplement cultivation charges, funds to organize field days farmers' day, distribution of published material, display board, POL, contingencies, for preparation of reports are provided. The funds provided by the Ministry of agriculture, Govt. of India are channeled through ICAR-DRR and organizing agency of SAUs/ICAR institutes. The provision is Rs. 1200 per acre or Rs. 3000 per hectare. The break up of approved expenditure for four hectares is given below.

Break-up of the expenditure of Rs. 12,000/- for a block of demonstration of FOUR ha. on new technologies /Varieties (Revised)

Break-up of the expenditure of Rs. 12000/- per FOUR ha. for conducting FLDs on Hybrids (Revised)

Monitoring

        Monitoring is being done by DRR and local SAU scientists concerned, on regular basis through visits to the demonstrations during crop season for not only to evaluate ongoing programmes but also to get feed back from the farmers and extension workers. It is to be noted here that, there is no provision of fund for the overall monitoring of the FLDs at Macro level by the implementing agency (DRR).

Training programmes/Field days

        For effective transfer of technology, seasonal training to the local farmers/extension functionaries are organized by scientists concerned. The training is followed up with field days at appropriate stages of the crop to expose/educate the local farmers/extension functionaries about the demonstrations

Control/check plots

        For objective comparison, neighboring farmers' fields under similar farming situations are taken as check/control plot. This is based on the premise that contiguous plots tend to yield alike. One should exercise all possible care while choosing a check or control plot for comparison.

Data Reporting

        An overview of the work done by different centers and its highlights are brought out every year in the form of an Annual Report by the implementing agency (DRR) and the same is presented and discussed in one of the sessions of the Annual Rice Research Workshop.


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Concept : Dr. Shaik N Meera (Senior Scientist & CPI)      Copyright © 2010-2012 by DRR Hyderabad. All Rights Reserved.