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Different techniques tried in Naigaon village of Gram Gourav Pratishthan, in village Ralegan Shindi and in village Adgaon where watershed development programme was undertaken; can be mentioned as under with their pros and corns.
NAME OF THE TECHNIQUE : In Adgaon and Ralegan Shindi a low cost method of soil conservation is adopted i.e. Contour bunding.
NATURE AND PURPOSE OF THE TECHNIQUE : Contour bunding is one of the simple method of soil and water conservation. Bunding is a embankment of earth. It plays an important role in soil and water conservation in the field with medium slope. In between two contours agriculture can be practisised. Along bunds trees which fixes nitrogen in to the soil are planted with grass along the bunds.
Contour bunding helps in soil and water conservation. When there is rainfall, contour bund acts as a barrier to the water flow and checks the velocity. This reduces chances of soil erosion. When water starts flowing along the fields bund becomes obstruction for it. Due to the obstruction velocity reduces and water percolates behind the bunds. This allows infiltration of water into the soil. Thus bunding on the fields with moderate slopes helps in soil and water conservation.
WHO WILL ADOPT THIS TECHNIQUE: In Maharashtra state percentage of barren land along the sloppy agricultural land is quite large. Due to slope, soil and nutrients erode fast which makes agriculture on this land very uneconomical. People having such type of land can adopt this technique. Also this technique can be adopted on common land or government land.
WHY THIS TECHNIQUE SHOULD BE ADOPTED: Instead of uneconomical agriculture farmers can construct bunds along the fields and grow trees on the bunds. Marginal farmers can start small primary unit of compost with trees on the bunds and grass along the bunds can be used for cattle. Thus he can get some economic returns from the land with improved fertility. Soil and water conservation due to bunding work will increase water availability in their wells and to stop further degradation of the land. Plantation on the bunds will satisfy basic need of fuel wood, fruits and fodder.
HOW TO ADOPT THE TECHNIQUE: Adoption of this technique is very simple and this does not require any hi-tech knowledge. For bunding first step is to mark contours on the agricultural fields. The next step is to mark contours. Then bunds can be taken along the contours. The height of the bund should be 0.3 mtr and top width 0.3 mtr. The slopes should be 1(V):1(H). Spacing of bunds will depend upon slope of land. As slope increases distance bet two rows will be less and vice versa. Along the bunds grassland can be developed along with tree plantation. Trees which will satisfy basic needs of a village can be planted along the down stream side of a bund. Water stored behind the bund for few days, infiltrates into the earth increasing well water level.
In between two bunds agriculture can be practisised. When in-between agriculture is practiced, tree plantation on bund is possible. These trees can be selected from the category that they will fix nitrogen in the soil and become useful to the crops. Trees will be useful for compost which will improve fertility of the soil.
RESULTS AFTER ADOPTION OF A TECHNIQUE: The results can be mentioned as under: 1. Soil along the sloppy fields is protected from erosion caused by flowing water. Thus work of soil conservation is done without any special hi-tech technique. 2. Huge biomass is generated along the bunds which can be used for cattle as fodder and compost used as an organic manure. 3. As flowing water is obstructed, rate of infiltration is increased. At Adgaon village there is good recharge of groundwater. 4. Income level from eroded land increased. 5. Yield in the intercropped agriculture increases if legume plants are planted along the bund. 6. Income generation from the trees in the form of fodder, nitrogen in the soil, fruits, fuel, green manure etc.
PROBLEMS IN ADOPTION: It is very difficult to convince people for bunding. The main reason is that people feel that land under bund goes as waste and so crop out put is reduced. The advantage of bund should be shown to the farmers.
SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM: In Adgaon village meetings with the people were useful for contour bunding, in the area privately owned. If people are aware about increased yield and rise of water level due to contour bunding, they did all work without hesitate. This solution is also adopted in Ralegan Shindi.
The people are ready to adopt technique when they see overall increase in the crop yield due to increased water level; increased percentage of organic matter in the soil; improved fertility of the soil and reduced requirement of chemical fertiliser.
KEY FACTORS IN SUCCESS: Factors contributing success can be stated as below: 1. Local technique, easy to adopt. 2. Low cost technique. 3. External input to the village is zero. 4. Participation of villagers in each and every stage of implementation of the programme. 5. Some financial assistance to the villagers from state government. 6. Huge employment is generated. 7. Whole work is done considering village as a unit.
Centre for Management of Local Resources