MISSION AND GENESIS
The Reviving Green Revolution (RGR) Cell was registered in 2008 under the Society Registration Act, 1860 and is committed to improving rural livelihoods through agricultural development. The origin of RGR Cell is from the Reviving Green Revolution (RGR) Initiative of the Sir Ratan Tata Trust and Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust. In 2002, the Trusts launched RGR in Punjab with an objective to promote diversification in agriculture; thus, making it sustainable and economically profitable, especially for small and marginal farmers. In order to successfully use agriculture as a vehicle of livelihood enhancement the RGR Initiative operates with due attention to the development of new agro-technologies and their adoption by farming communties. The overall success of the Initiative, coupled with major expansion and coverage under projects, encouraged the Trusts to scale up the level of funding through a registered centralised organisation with a dedicated team. Thus, in 2008, the Reviving Green Revolution (RGR) Cell was registered as a Society and is housed within the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana.
- Support large scale activities for adoption of technologies by the farmers in prime areas of concern in agriculture.
- Support development departments of State governments and the private sector in frontline extension activities for increasing agricultural productivity and augmenting economy of farmers.
- Support activities that build market linkages for farmers, encourage agro-based entrepreneurship and growth of subsidiaries.
- Support researchable issues in agricultural universities to fill in the gaps of agricultural technologies developed.
- Prioritization of thrust areas of funding in PAU and TNAU, besides monitoring progress of ongoing projects.
- Idea incubator for developing potential sustainable agriculture technologies.
PUNJAB: OUTPUT AND IMPACT
Over the last twelve years, much has emerged from research undertaken and then piloted at field level by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana. One of the key success stories has been PAU’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) technology development and validation of improved production technologies for Cotton, Basmati, and Groundnut, the success of which has lead to diversion of cultivated area to these crops from the erstwhile coarse paddy - a water intensive crop and thus, reducing pressure on groundwater. Adoption of IPM technology by farmers has further reduced input costs and minimised the use of costly pesticides. Seeing the substantial benefits accruing to farmers, the Government of Punjab (GoP) has provided a matching grant for scaling up IPM-Cotton and Basmati rice across Punjab.
The Cell has successfully promoted cultivation of Summer Moong and Groundnut, in addition to forming Producer Companies (PCs) for marketing of branded packaged Moong and Groundnut. This has helped build farmer confidence by entering the market and circumvented their susceptibility to unscrupulous buyers. RGR Cell is also making inroads in addressing nutritional concerns, through promoting nutrition gardens for home consumption. The impact of the project is such that it has increased vegetable consumption to approximately 280 grams/day which is closer to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recommendation of 300 grams/day.
REVIVING GREEN REVOLUTION (RGR) INITIATIVE - TAMIL NADU
During 2007-08, to strategically expand its engagement in the agriculture sector to different parts of the country, the Trusts sanctioned five projects to Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore, thus initiating activities in Tamil Nadu within the RGR Initiative. The projects, targeting over 1,800 farmers in Tamil Nadu, focused on:
(a) Refining IPM technologies in Rice and Vegetables
(b) Popularizing dry land technologies
(c) Disseminating resilient and productive rice varieties
(d) Popularizing small millets in hilly tribal areas
(e) Popularizing Azolla cultivation as feed supplement for cattle and poultry
TAMIL NADU: OUTPUT AND IMPACT
In 2010, through the RGR Cell, Punjab, the “Reviving the Green (RGR) Cell, Regional Centre (RC)” was set up in Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore to function as a central coordination point for the RGR - Tamil Nadu Initiative. Like the RGR Cell in Punjab, the Regional Centre in Tamil Nadu has initiated direct implementation of projects. Last year, the IPM-Cotton project being implemented by the Regional Center covered 1900 households and resulted in an increase in household income by approximately Rs.7,300/acre. In addition, to TNAU popularizing little millet across 3000 hectares in Javadu Hills, the RGR Cell, Regional Center facilitated setting up five Mini Mills for millets managed by women SHG’s who prepared and sold value added product such as little millet flour. Similarly, through sale of Azolla, farmers were able to earn an additional Rs. 2,250/month. Women SHGs producing Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF) bio-fertiliser produced and sold 30.5 tonnes of bio-fertiliser at Rs.15/kg through a direct market linkage developed in Coimbatore district. From the pilot projects, the Integrated Pest Management in Turmeric project being implemented by the TNAU Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Salem district has shown promising results and made a substantial impact in ensuring farmers have healthy seed rhizome for the next season. As seed cost is the major cost in turmeric cultivation, this itself results in significant cost-saving. In addition, on an average IPM farmers’ received a 38.18% turmeric yield increase as compared to the non-IPM field, mainly due to reduced seed rhizome damage and better pest/disease management.
TAMIL NADU: WAY FORWARD
In Tamil Nadu, from initial piloting, the initiative has now matured to identifying four districts i.e. Perambalur, Coimbatore, Ramnad and Javadu Hills in Thiruvannamalai in which all future work will be concentrated. The approach being adopted is of “Convergence-Saturation”, wherein multiple project interventions will be converged within a set geography to maximum impact and visible improvement in quality of life. The base interventions in these districts are Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Cotton (Perambalur), Azolla Production and Marketing (Coimbatore), Popularising improved little millet Co 4 variety (Javadu Hills) and Popularising drought- tolerant hybrid rice variety “Anna R-4” (Ramnad). These base interventions will be juxtaposed with nutrition, marketing, efficient water management and scaling up IPM to cover the entire cropping cycle. Concurrently, new potential technologies will continue to be piloted with Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore.