The objective of POR in India is to increase productivity and profitability for organic cotton farmers by developing locally-adapted solutions. POR concept in India employs a methodology of working ‘with the farmer, for the farmer, by the farmer’ to find solutions to most imminent farming challenges in cotton-based production systems. Trials and activities are designed and implemented in a participatory manner involving local farmers’ committee representing local farmers.
During the last two phases from 2012 to 2018, biocontrol techniques have already been elaborated to reduce pest and disease incidences. bioRe now actively assists farmers in the production and application of various organic pest sprays including ‘Garlic-Onion-Chili spray’ and ‘TopTen mixes’. Some of these mixtures are mass produced by bioRe through women self-help groups at village level and distributed to farmers. Similarly, the technique for improved manure management through composting and ‘acidulated rock phosphate enrichment’ has been transferred from research to bioRe advisory services increasing yields at the farms between 10 and 80%.
While the tested interventions had an impact, many of the bottlenecks to improving cotton yield still remain to be addressed. The FiBL-bioRe team will be involved at both ends of the spectrum of research and dissemination. Hence, the project not only aims to develop innovative locally-adapted technologies but also aims at empowering the bioRe team in creating an innovative environment at the local level based on enhanced practice-oriented research capacities. The focus of POR activities for the fourth phase (2018-2022) are:
- Crop productivity and soil fertility: a. Enhancing nitrogen availability to crops b. Best organic pest management strategies c. Introduction of nitrogen fixing plants (alley cropping trial)
- Capacity building: a. Enhancing capacities of research staff in technical skills on analysis and interpretation of results; b. Building up capacities of extension/training staff by equipping them with necessary knowledge to enhance the technical efficiencies on farmers’ fields. c. Prepare bioRe for an eventual takeover of SysCom activities at local level.