Introduction: 

The farmers in India need to keep coming up with a variety of methods to get the best yield. The problem of water scarcity sometimes affects the produce highly. Maharashtra is one of the highest producers of rice in India. This food scientist turned farmer from Maharashtra has discovered a climate-positive technique that would be of great help. Farmers are adopting this technique in increasing numbers in the rice-growing areas. This idea not only guarantees bountiful yield but also helps to reduce cost and conserve the top soil. 

Bhadsalve came back to his village in Nagpur after studying at the University of California, in 1976. Using his knowledge he revived an agricultural land that spread over 55 acres. That later became India’s first agro-tourism initiative, named ‘Saguna Baug’. It was once degraded land. Now they use the baug to cultivate crops, bamboo, rear livestock and fish while promoting the surrounding wild biodiversity. The transformation of this place attracts several farmers and tourists. 

“My father, who worked among Adivasis, insisted that I worked in the field of agriculture and I have been at it since then,” says Bhadsavle.

chandrashekhar bhadsalve
Chandrashekar Bhadsalve

Bhadsalve saw many farmers giving up farming and moving to cities. This inspired him to develop the Saguna Rice Technique(SRT).

“I have been working on the SRT technique for a long time, perfecting it on the farmlands of Saguna,” says Bhadsalve.

Saguna rice technique:

The new Saguna Rice Technique is a unique method of cultivation developed by Bhadsalve. They cultivate the rice and related rotation crops without actually ploughing the field. Even puddling and transplanting are not carried out on raised beds. This method is the zero-till, Conservation agriculture type. This technique makes some changes in the conventional rice cultivation method. It not only saves water but also eases labour work and retains fertility. 

Procedure of Saguna rice technique

After tilling the soil, the farmers make permanent raised beds after tilling the soil. Hence, there is no need to destroy these beds. Farmers can also use them to grow various rotation crops. SRT iron forma or some weedicide should be used in between crops. Once constructed the usage of a raised bed can be five to six years. They also steer an increase in soil carbon.    

Impact and advantages: 

For farmers, this technique saves almost 50% of treacherous labour. Increases uniformity for better yield. About 4000 farmers are practicing SRT currently. 

Ananta Kale (44) of Gamnoli village in Pune’s Maval taluka tried this technique. On one guntha (1,100 sq ft) of land, he was able to procure a yield of 80 kg of rice. He followed it up with lettuce during the Rabi season and harvested 20 tonnes of the vegetable.

saguna rice technique
Farming under SRT

For soil, SRT helps retain natural fertility by avoiding puddling. The ‘no-till’ prevents the destruction of earthworms, which helps for better soil. As roots are kept intact, they prove to be useful oxygen pathways.

As there is no tilling, farmers can decrease carbon and methane emissions heavily. It uses only half the amount of fertilizer, which helps in avoiding water pollution. Overall, it is a very eco-friendly method of farming. 

“The technique strives to make agriculture sustainable so that the entire ecosystem is enriched ensuring optimum use of all inputs – water, fertilizers, seeds, weedicides, etc. In short, receiving more output from fewer inputs,” says M V Ashok, formerly of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). 

Widespread acceptance: 

The Saguna Rice Technique has been accepted by the Department of Agriculture(DoA)under the National food security mission. With the voluntary initiative of the Saguna rural foundation and social media, the technique has been able to reach a decent amount of farmers. 

chandrashekhar bhadsalve
Bhadsalve’s farm

From Ramtek in Nagpur to Karjat in Raigad, from Maval in Pune to Jaoli in Satara, from Bhandardara in Ahmednagar to Shahpur in Thane, from Armori in Gadchiroli to Mul in Chandrapur. So many cultivators across districts of Maharashtra are adopting the SRT technique of Krishi Bhushan Award winner Chandrashekhar Bhadsalve. It is also spreading into neighbouring states of Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. He also conducts free workshops for visiting farmers.

To know more about this amazing technique, check out https://srt-zerotill.com/

 E-mail them at, [email protected]  

Check out their youtube channel  https://www.youtube.com/c/SRTSagunaRiceTechnique 

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