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Casilda Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announced that Bhoochetana programme of improving soil health will be reintroduced in Karnataka.
- Bhoochetana scheme had been started by the then Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa in 2009.
- The scheme focused on protection of soil health and improvement of crop yield through proper management of nutrients and fertilizers, it was needed now to ensure efficient utilisation of fertilizers and nutrients.
- Bhoochetana was a mission to increase crop productivity, enhance farmers’ incomes and improve nutrition and livelihoods in the target regions. It was extraordinary in that it was successfully scaled up to include all the districts in Karnataka and also to other states in the country.
- Bhoochetana’s initial phase was focused on building farmer awareness on soil nutrient status and soil mapping; daily monitoring of seasonal rainfall; and crop planning. Slowly, other interventions such as soil and water management; seeds/inputs management; supplying of farmer-preferred improved varieties; crop diversification; integrated pest management; and development/dissemination of agricultural machinery were also employed.
- ICRISAT scientists applied the ‘Four Cs Approach’ to the project: Consortium, Convergence, Collective action and Capacity building. Other organizations came together to deliver knowledge solutions, technological inputs and a holistic program where multiple government projects could work together to synergize their capacities. Select farmers were trained as ‘facilitators’ so that they could support other farmers in their villages. Awareness programs, farmers’ field days and training sessions to familiarize farmers with technology, machinery and techniques were conducted. Mobile phones, videos, social media groups and voice messages were all used to create and disseminate farming-related information to remote villages.
The main objective of the programme
- To increase the crop productivity in dry land/rain fed areas of 30 districts of the State, by adopting improved technology, conduct soil tests, prepare soil test maps based on GIS in all districts, capacity building through the involvement of ICRISAT and KVKlSAU.
- The project was implemented with technical support/assistance from ICRISAT, Hyderabad.
Bhoochetana, an example of successful scale-up, is now extended to three more states (Undivided Andhra Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha) in India, in partnership with the respective state governments.