In the year 2008, Sunil realized that the fertility and water holding capacity of the soil is degrading rapidly because of excessive use of chemical fertilizers.
One day while inspecting his paddy crop, Sunil observed an unusual panicle of paddy in the field. The panicle had more number of grains and the plant height was lower. With technical support of BAIF-MITTRA he was able to learn the technique of improving soil fertility and the use of organic fertilizers. He also received training in production of organic fertilizers and cultivation of paddy using the SRI method for higher production than the traditional method.
In 2010, Sunil got involved in BAIF‟s „Crop Germplasm Conservation Programme‟ and conserved about 21 landraces of paddy through in situ conservation of the germplasm and became an expert in „participatory seed selection‟ in paddy, finger millet and proso millet.
Sunil has now developed a rice variety called “Ashwini” by selective breeding and he has now applied for registration under Protection of Plant varieties and farmers Rights Authority (PPV & FRA), Ministry of Agriculture, New Delhi.
Scalability and Impact
He would like to scale up through the following steps:
- Distribution of the elite germplasm of Ashwini variety to selected farmers.
- Seed production on 50 acres of land
- Organizing exposure visits of farmers to these fields at maturity stage.
- Seed distribution through community seed bank.
Awards and Recognition
Sunil received the Plant Genome savior Farmer Recognition 2011-12 from Protection of Plant varieties and farmers Rights Authority (PPV & FRA), Ministry of Agriculture, New Delhi. This award proved helpful to spread message about “Ashwini variety”