Enhancing Food and Nutritional Security and Improved Livelihood through Intensification of Rice Fallow System with Pulse Crop in South Asia–  a time-bound  farmers’ friendly  project funded by international repute organizations; ICARDA & IFAD, has been in operation  in the state of West Bengal  under the umbrella of Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya.  The main objectives of this project  aims at  increasing area, production and productivity of pulses   and incorporating pulse based farming systems  with technological intervention  in backward and stressed  areas of the state.  Last year  this project  covered  Paschimanchal, Sundarbans and  parts of alluvium regions covering more than thousand  stakeholders.  Major emphasis was given to the dry-tracts  of the state  including   a good number of blocks of Paschimanchal falling under Paschimanchal.

Considering tremendous response from the farming community Prof. Rajib Nath- the Project Co-ordinator  has targeted Bankura district with larger areas annexing more blocks in the coming rabi-season.   Accordingly, one day interactive session  cum workshop  was held in Bankura headquarters on  4th September 2017.

 A team of Scientists and Scholars of BCKV led by  Prof.Rajib Nath  started  journey towards Bankura on 3rd Sep. from Kalyani in the morning.  The team halted at different  spots of the district  while on move, observed  topography,  standing paddy crops,  and other criteria for  pulse possibilities in the stressed areas.  On the spot interactions with locals were also held  at G.Ghati and Chhatna  blocks.   A new area  dominated by tribal  in Chhatna block was  studied.  Tribal leaders of the village Gurputa were interacted .  Across discussion  members of the Farmers club were invited to join in the scheduled workshop at Bankura.

The venue of the scientist-farmer  interactive workshop  was at Krishi Bhawvan.  Joint Director of Bankura range  arranged  logistic facilities for the event. Moreover, he requested  agricultural officials of different blocks of the district  to share  during workshop.

More than eighty farmers  representing Chhatna, Bankura-2, G,Ghati, Raipur, Ranibandh and Simlapal assembled in the program.   Many of them were mouthpieces of Farmer’s clubs, Co-operatives,  Local NGOs and farmers-friendly bodies.
In the beginning Prof. Rajib Nath  introduced the house with the objectives and mission of the pulse-project. A brief on the plan of action  was presented  to the stakeholders.

Dr.D.D. Patra, Vice Chancellor of BCKV inaugurated  the workshop and Prof. A.Mitra, former Director of Research   presidedover the function.  Incidentally, both Dr.Patra and Prof.Mitra  are son of the soils of Bankura.

Vice Chancellor in his majestic speech pointed  to the opportunities of growing pulses  in the present scenario of farming.  According to him pulses could  be incorporated  as a relay pattern or as mixed crop with winter vegetables or other crops. Further, he highlighted  cost-effectiveness  of pulse growing and its  power of soil improvement properties in terms of adding nitrogen in the soil.  In his address he cautioned them for using indiscriminate and excessive fertilizers  in the soils.  The merits of using bio-fertlizers, balanced nutrients and  suitable cropping pattern  were addressed by him.   He emphasized for inclusion of at least one pulse to mitigate soil degradation.

Rammoy Patra, Former Dy.Director of Bankura, Agril.Department requested the participant-farmers  to grow pulses instead of potato as the latter’s market  is volatile  and potato  involves  much expenditures.  He also discussed on the nutritive deficiency  of rural people  and  advocated pulses to mitigate  it.  According to Patra farmers could fetch  more prices  if milling is done.

Bidyut Das  presented a synoptic agricultural status of the district.He lamented for the sordid position of pulses in the state . According to him pulses are grown in the  marginal lands  without care.  In his deliberation he mentioned  the various socio-economic constraints of pulse growing and urged for collaborative  drive   in a convergent  mode.

Sadananda Maharaj graced the occasion and  welcomed BCKV-project officials for its mission in the district as well as in G.Ghati.

Sri Pachanan Layek a progressive farmer of the Chhatna block cited his experience of pulse-growing  in his cluster.  According to him  BCKV  intervention  ,particularly the replacement cultivars of Khesari and  Chick-pea  yielded  more than expectation  as well as average yield of the area. However, musur yield was not as high  as the other types.  Low yield performance of musur in Bankura district was discussed.  Prof. Somenath Bhattacharyya pointed out the reason of late sowing as one of the major causes.. In Bankura farmers  normally harvest  their paddy in late comparing to Gangetic regions.  He advocated for growing short term  paddy cultivars so that lentil could be sown by October .

Prof. Rajib Nath in his deliberation  discussed on the importance of  pulse-growing  to mitigate hungerm malnutrition and poverty.   From last year’s  records he  mentioned the hopeful perspective of pulses in Bankura district. He shared his in situ experience of cluster visit . According to him     some minor changes in the technique of the production  could give better results in terms of yield. He stressed for  appropriate  variety, rhizome uses and management practices  for higher yield.

Dr. Binoy Saren,  Visva Bharati discussed in length on the scientific cultivation process  of pulses. In his  long speech he  pointed to the issues  of  (a) varietal choice, (b) seed treatment and seed priming, (c)plant protection, (d)weeding and harbicide use, (e) life saving irrigation and (e) pest management.

Dr.Tapas Biswas  discussed on the importance of using organic manures and bio-fertilizers. The technique of  using  rhizobium was  shown to the participants with visual aids.. Merits of organic pulse growing was discussed in course of deliberation.

Next, Dr. Raju Das interacted and shared with the house  in pest-management practices. Farmers’ queries were answered by him.  Dr. Das asked them not to rely on  retailers or dealers  for  pest control . According to him they need to identify the  diseases, pests  with the support of technical persons or experts to overcome unnecessary costs.

Prof. Somnath Bhattacharyya  nicely conducted the interactive session and recorded the points of intervention in the coming days.
Prof, Mitra summarized the proceedings and Prof. Bhattacharyya gave vote of thanks.