Enhancing food security and sustainable livelihoods in the North-Eastern India through tuber crops technologies

Tuber crops play a crucial role in the food and nutritional security of the people living in the North-Eastern India. Though tuber crops are found in most of the homesteads under multiple cropping systems in this Region viz., homestead and mainly in Jhum areas. No systematic effort was undertaken to improve the efficiency of these production systems by careful application of improved tuber crops technologies. This project was implemented to enhance the food, nutritional security and livelihood of people in North-Eastern Region by careful application of improved tuber crop production and processing technologies. To start with the project was implemented in four NEH states namely Manipur, Meghalaya, Meghalaya and Nagaland. The project is in operation on partnership mode. The major partner of the project is ICAR Research Complex for NEH region ( ICAR NEH) apart from partnership with Agriculture Department, Nagaland and Non government Organisations which include Ukhrul District Community Resource Management Society, Manipur, Volunteers for Village development, Ukhrui, Manipur, Shiba welfare, Nagaland , Divodhya Krishi Vignan Kendra( Sri Ramkrishna Seva Kendra, Kolkata) . Through the partners the project is executed by 10 implementing centres.

Implementing Partners- Villages adopted by Partners

Sl.No States Partners and Linkages Adopted villages (main) No. of farmers participating directly
1 Meghalaya ICAR RC Umiam Kweng 10
2 Meghalaya ICAR KVK Tura Rongsep Kamagre 40
3 Manipur ICAR KVK Ukurul Riha 15
4 Manipur UDCRMS, Ukhrul (NGO) Ramva 10
5 Manipur VVD, Ukhrul (NGO) Marangphung, Lureishimphung 21
6 Nagaland Agri Department KVK, Mon Ngangching 12
7 Nagaland Agri Department KVK, Mukokchung Ungma 33
8 Nagaland Agri Department KVK, Tuensang Alisopur 15
9 Nagaland Shibawelfare, NGO Jalukie 14
10 Tripira KVK, DKVK (Ramakrishna), NGO Boltoli 31

Livelihood Surveys

The livelihood surveys on all the adopted villages were completed and a workshop was organised to familarise the partners in the livelihood analysis. Some of the constraints observed during livelihood surveys are as follows.1.low productivity 2Lack of quality seed / planting material 3.Subsistence cultivation 4.Poor pest management 5.Poor post harvest management 6.Marketing 7.Absence of market information 8.Absence of knowledge of technological advances 9. Dissemination of information 10.Lack of proper water management technologies 11.High rain fall and humidity 12. Inadequate infrastructure13. Water logging 14.Land erosion and degradation 15. Shifting or Jhum cultivation 16. Land tenure system / small operational holdings 17. Lack of authentic up-to-date data base 18.Locational disadvantages 19.Absence of risk management system 20.Vulnerability to natural calamities 21.Limited capacity for resource utilization 22.Absence of long term perspective & vision, etc

Field Demonstration on tuber crops technologies

The main mode of technology dissemination and education on the technology was through field demonstrations in the farmers fields.The technologies included for transfer through field demonstrations are 1. Improved varieties of Cassava ( Sree Vijay, Sree jaya and H165) 2. Improved variety of Greater yam ( Orissa Elite ) 3. Elephant Foot yam ( Gajendra ) 4. Value addition in tuber crops. It was also envisaged to make use of the farmers for production and distribution of planting materials from the seed supplied to them.

Planting materials supplied under the programme

State Qty of planting materials to be sent
Meghalaya Cassava - 2000 stems, Yams - 2500 Kgs, Taro - 3150 Kgs
Nagaland Cassava - 4500 stems, Taro - 3150 Kgs
Manipur Cassava - 4500 stems, Taro - 3150 Kgs
Tripura Cassava - 1500 stems, Taro - 1050 Kgs, Elephant Food - 4800 Kgs.

It was also envisaged to equip farmers with the capacity to adopt value addition technologies of tuber crops. To support the farmers in the area of value addition, stainless cassava chipping machines were supplied one each to all the implementing agencies except KVK of Mukokchung and Tura who received two each as a community input . Similarly cassava slicers which would help preparation of cassava chips for frying were also distributed two each to all centre. Field demonstrations on the improved varietied were organized with all the participating farmers either in homesteads or jhum area where farmers have demonstrated the varieties on group basis. Like wise demonstration were arranged on use of chipping machines and cassava slicers to all participating farmers .

Technology support through capacity building programmes.

Various technology support activities like organizing training for farmers , farmer women and field level staff of the partner institutes accompanied by printing , exhibitions , press coverage and distribution of extension publications. Regular field visits were made by the partner staff as well as monitoring of the programme was done by ICAR-CTCRI scientists. During 2013- a series of training programmes and workshops were organized . Starting with a 1.Monitoring Workshop on livelihood at ICAR NEH, Manipur April 24, 2013 in which field level functionaries of all the implementing centres were equipped with livelihood survey analysis.2. A farmers meet was organized at at Ukhrul on 25, April, 2013 which was inaugurated by Mr. T.S. Angelus Shimreingam, Asst Commissioner of Ukhrul. 3.Farmers training and demonstration on value addition at Tura, on July 22, 20134 . The programme was inaugurated by Shri. John Lesley Sangma, MLA. A Value addition training cum demonstration at Mukokchung on 26, July, 20135 was organized .5.Value addition training cum demonstration at Tuensang, Nagaland 27, July, 2013. A Farmers seminar and training at Jaluki, Feren, Nagaland on 30, July,2013 Other capacity building programmes organized are Farmers discussion on September 24 th, at Lambui, Ramva , Manipur,Action plan Workshop December, 6, 2004 at Riha , Manipur, Farmers training cum demonstration on 9th December, 2014 at Chebri, Tripura, Value addition on tuber crops to NEH partners at ICAR-CTCRI , Trivandrum ,March 24 -29, 2014 in which field functionaries of implementing centres were trained.

Performance assessment of Demonstrations:

The performance of the introduced varieties of cassava, taro, EFY in the demonstration plots were assessed by the partners with the participant farmers through field visits and surveys.. In general it was found that all the varieties could yield better than existing land races and cooking quality and pest and diseases tolerance were good. Only in the case of Mukthakesi (Taro), farmers expressed that the yield is slightly less and the tuber size was small. However the variety was liked for its taste and quality and disease tolerance. Performance appraisal of Demonstrations, Tripura

Sl.No Parameters EFY (Gajendra) Taro (Muktakesi) Cassava (Sree Vijaya)
1 Establishment >75% >75% >75%
2 Growth Good Good Good
3 Disease symptoms Tuber rotting Nil Nil
4 Severity Very Less 0% 0%
5 Pest incidence Nil Nil Nil
6 Field 4kg/Plant 750 gm/ Plant 3Kg/Plant
7 Yield comparison Good Poor Good
8 Shape Good Good Good
9 Size Good Good Good
10 Quality Good Good Good
11 Positive Low Acrid, Cooking quality Low Acrid, Good quality best cooking quality
12 Negative - Poor yield -
13 Utilization
food 10% 50% 50%
feed Nil - 50%
Seed 25% - Nil
Marketing 65% 50% Nil

It could be seen from the table that the introduced varieties established well in spite of the fact that the materials took more than two weeks reach by trucks to the villages adopted. The growth, disease tolerance , quality and yield were good. The produce was used as food , feed and marketed.