Ragi is the main crop grown in the region. To make the farmers empowered with regard to the selection of sowing seeds, the programme was started by NABARD. The programme has received good response from the farmers. The Seed Corporation of the agriculture department supplies varieties to the farmers. Hence, the supply of seeds from the private and MNCs are less. Here, farmers have the opportunity to select the seeds of their choice.
The farmers of Narasipura, Machenahalli, Govinapura, K B Hal, Bhaktarahalli villages have sowed varieties of ragi like GPU 28, Indaf 5, Indaf 9, Kullanaragi, Nagamaleragi in half acre field each. One can view varieties of ragi grown side by side in the field. The experienced farmers visit these plot and make the observation of these varieties once in 10 days. After the ragi crop ready for harvesting, all the farmers from the neighbouring villages will visit the farms and vote for those varieties of ragi which is suited for their region.
‘Bhoomi’ Organisation’s Jayaprasad Ballekere said “while selecting the variety of ragi seeds, farmers look for the variety’s capacity withhold drought situation. If rain fails 10 days after sowing, the seedling should survive.”
The farmers look into the size of an ear of corn, size of ragi, the yield even during failure of monsoon, ability to withhold disease, average yield, said Ravi of Belavadi village.
Farmers select the best variety through voting. Voting will be held in five villages separately. A stick is placed before half acre land. All those farmers who take part in the voting will be given a piece of thread. If a farmer likes a particular variety of ragi, then he should tie the thread on the stick placed in front of a particular plot where the variety is grown. The seniors in the village will calculate the thread at the end of the day. The seed which receives majority vote will be developed into breeder seed and will be distributed among the farmers.
The programme was started to enable the farmers to select the variety of seed which would be suitable in their village. There are 2,443 families in five villages where the research on ragi variety is being carried out. Of which, 1,500 grow ragi. About 500 farmers use traditional seeds for sowing. The remaining 1,000 farmers get seeds from outside. Those who were using traditional seeds got mixed with the other varieties.
Hence, in some varieties the ear of a corn gets fast compared to other varieties.
There is a need to maintain purity in variety of seeds. The yield will be good, if the seeds suit the geographical condition of the region, feel farmers. The Bhoomi organisation is also planning to make a study on horse gram, along with ragi. It has already identified 19 varieties of seeds. The sowing will be done in the next month in these villages.