COMPENDIUM, IEEC-2023   ( ISBN : 978-81-967860-4-5 )
Theme 2: Recent Trends in Agriculture and Resource Management

Empowering Smallholder Farmers for Sustainable Agri-food Systems: A Case Study of Soil-SMaRT Interventions in Rangareddy District, Telangana, India

Amtul Waris, Brajendra Parmar, Arun Kumar, B. Nirmala, P. Muthuraman and RM Sundaram

ICAR-Indian Institute of Rice Research, Hyderabad


Smallholder farmers play a vital role in global food security, and the health of their crops heavily relies on the condition of the soil they cultivate. However, soil degradation has been a significant challenge, leading to the loss of livelihoods and substantial economic losses among smallholder farmers. This success story highlights the implementation of the Soil-SMaRT framework, a step-by-step approach designed to deliver balanced nutrients to crops, and its dissemination to smallholder farmers in Rangareddy district, Telangana, India. The farmers were facing an issue of poor rice crop growth. Leveraging technology, farmers posted pictures of their affected fields on WhatsApp, drawing the attention of a team of scientists from the Indian Institute of Rice Research, Hyderabad. Through on-farm testing using rapid diagnostic soil testing kits and laboratory analysis, the problem was identified as inland salinity and salinity-induced damage to the crops. The Soil-SMaRT framework was introduced to the farmers. The intervention started with comprehensive soil testing to map nutrient deficiencies and acidity/alkalinity issues. Based on the findings, appropriate recommendations were provided to the farmers. Due to contaminated water with a high pH level of over 8.0, leaching of the soil was not a viable solution. Instead, the application of cow dung slurry was suggested as a soil amendment. Within a short span of 2-3 days after implementing the remedial measures, the crops showed significant improvement in growth. The farmers recorded a yield of 24 quintals per acre through the utilization of organic amendments. Vermicompost preparation for effective nutrient management was promoted resulting in an average income of Rs. 2300/- for the farmers. The success of Soil-SMaRT interventions showcases the significant positive impact that targeted soil analysis and tailored recommendations can have on smallholder farmers' livelihoods.

IEEC-2023 at RARI (SKNAU, Jobner), Jaipur, Rajasthan organised by Society of Extension Education, Agra, India