• Approach

  • Interventions

1Consortium of knowledge generating and transforming orgs - ICRISAT as a catalyst
Convergence of projects

Combining several agriculture
development programs to work together

10,000 Farmer Facilitators

Trained as extension workers

4Capacity building

Bridging the knowledge
gap by imparting skills
and technologies

5Knowledge sharing
through ICT
  • Tablet-based extension system (Krishi Gyan Sagar) for each farmer facilitator to disseminate customized information
  • Voice Message Service (Krishi Vani) known as the green sim, short messages sent to farmers about best farming practices
  • Farmer-to-farmer videos
  • WhatsApp groups
6Other knowledge sharing
  • Wall writing for wide sharing of agricultural information and proper practices
  • Farmers’ field school
  • Farmers’ days

Consortium led (PPP) – ICRISAT as a catalyst

  • Dr L Shantha Kumari Sunder, Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner, at ICRISAT, nurturing the seedling of the project.

  • Dr William Dar and Mr S Subramanya, Principal Secretary, Agriculture, Government of Karnataka signing the MoU.

  • Kaushik Mukarjee, Chief Seceratory, Karnataka during the MOU signing.

Convergence of projects

  • The State-level coordination committee reviews the project’s progress in the districts.

  • Communication via videoconferencing facilitates easy monitoring and follow up.

10,000 Farmer Facilitators

Capacity building

  • Building the capacity of farmers in growing finger millet.

  • Empowering farmers with greater knowledge.

  • Training session for trainers.

Knowledge sharing through ICT

Other knowledge sharing

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Soil and water management
  • . Soil Health Mapping
  • . Water management
  • . Soil and Water Conservation Techniques
  • . Integrated Soil and Nutrient Management
  • . Daily rainfall monitoring, seasonal rainfall situation
Inputs Management & improved seed systems

Distribution of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, chemicals, good quality seeds and machinery made available at 50% subsidy at cluster village level to maximize incomes

Farmers’ Preferred Improved Varieties

High-yielding, short-duration, stress-tolerant cultivars of major crops and major crop varieties are selected from popular choices of farmers

Crop diversification

Intercropping and planting different crops protect farmers against climate variability, crop loss and diseases

Integrated Pest Management

Education about safe use of proper levels of pesticides to decrease risks to health and the environment

Mechanical interventions

Promotion of machinery, including ICRISAT designed Tropicultor, provide more efficiency and consistency of farming methods.

Soil and water management

  • The nature of soils in the districts of Karnataka state, India.

  • PH status of Karnataka soils

  • Electrical conductivity.

  • Organic carbon status.

  • Available phosphorus status.

  • Available potassium status.

  • Available sulphur status.

  • Available zinc status.

  • Available boron status.

Inputs Management & improved seed systems

Farmers’ Preferred Improved Varieties

  • Sunflowers being grown in Gulbarga district

  • The groundnut of their choice.

  • Maize grown in Haveri district.

  • Pearl millet in Bidar district.

Crop diversification

  • Drum seeded rice plantation saves labour and time.

  • Machine transplanting of rice, a far cry from its manual counterpart.

  • Wider row spacing of pigeonpea in Nivalkhed village.

  • Soybean-pigeonpea intercrop in Bagalkot district.

Integrated Pest Management

Mechanical interventions

  • A tropicultor in use in Haveri district.

  • Machine transplanting.

  • Paddy transplanter.

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About 60% of the population in India’s Karnataka State depends on agriculture that contributes to 18% of the Gross Domestic Product. However, yields from rainfed agriculture were not measuring up to their full potential and a stagnant to declining growth rate between 2000 and 2008 underlined the need to revive agriculture in the state.

The Bhoochetana project was launched on 23 May 2009 in Haveri district to fulfil the need to increase crop productivity and strengthen agriculture-based livelihoods in the state. Following ICRISAT’s successful implementation of the Sujala Watershed Project (2001-2009), the Government of Karnataka set up a high-level committee and ICRISAT was asked to develop a strategy proposal to bridge the yield gap of rainfed crops. ICRISAT signed an MOU with the Government of Karnataka on providing technical backstopping for this mission mode project. The project aimed to make a difference in the lives of farmers in all 30 districts of the state by increasing average productivity of select crops by 20% in four years.

The project initially spanned the six districts of Kolar, Chikballapur, Tumkur, Chitradurga, Haveri and Dharwad and was implemented across 0.225m ha, 1440 villages and benefited 200,000 farmers. It covered 50,000 ha of postrainy (rabi) area. Yield increases ranging from 22-66% were observed in the intervention areas.

A clear distinction was made betweeen Farmer Management (FM) practices that refer to the blind application of fertilizers without a scientific understanding of what is lacking in the soil (no soil analysis) and the lack of any specific water management interventions and Improved Management (IM) practices that refer to soil test-based integrated nutrient management, improved rainwater management, and a host of other project interventions.

The activities during this initial phase included capacity building of stakeholders; awareness and publicity campaigns for farmers; buidling farmer awareness on soil nutrient status and soil mapping; daily monitoring of seasonal rainfall and crop planning.

“The scientific knowledge and experience I have gained is an asset. I will now intensify the adoption of livestock integration and vermicomposting,”

Mr Adinarayanappa, Shyamanakere village, Chikkaballapur district

Chief Minister of Karnataka Mr BS Yeddyurappa
at the project launch.


Rainy season

Total cropping target: Groundnut, ragi, maize, soybean and contingent crops on 88,000 ha

Actual area sown: 159,546 ha; contingency plan helped farmers make up the shortfall.

  • ICRISAT assisted DoA, Karnataka in setting up a soil analytical laboratory with appropriate scientific standards and the ability to handle a large numbers of samples.
  • Maize yield increased by 37-51% (average grain yield was 1.5 tons and of fodder 3 tons/ha) in Haveri district; by 22-45% in Chitradurga and between 1480 and 2990 kg/ha with an increase in seed yield of 39% in Dharwad district.
  • Finger millet: Mean grain yield varied from 35-66% in Kolar, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts


District-wise nutrient status maps were prepared using GIS-based extrapolation techniques.

Postrainy season

The main crops were chickpea, postrainy sorghum, sunflower and postrainy groundnut.

  • Groundnut: Yields increased by 32-41% across all the districts
  • Chitradurga, Haveri, Dharwad districts could grow these postrainy crops with stored soil moisture

Outcome: Achieved 78% sowing target in postrainy sorghum and 90-100% in soybean, chickpea and sunflower.

Source: Bhoochetana Annual Report 2009-2010


Ten more districts -- Bengaluru Rural, Bidar, Bijapur, Chamarajanagar, Davangere, Gadag, Gulbarga, Hassan, Raichur and Yadgir -- covering 5030 villages, 850,000 farmers and 1.2 million ha in the rainy season and 332,000 ha in the postrainy were included during this phase.

"This science-led approach was a revelation of the
untapped potential of my remaining 6 acres,”

Mr Devendrappa,
Janwada village, Bidar district


Yield enhancement of 21-57% was observed.

Crop yields across districts

Groundnut: Pod yields increased up to 1.5 tons/ha even in farmer managed (FM) plots due to an improved variety. Pod yields across districts increased from 33-49% in plots with improved management (IM).

Green gram: Dry spells during July-August led to low yields in Bijapur and Gadag. Yield increase ranged from 31% in Yadgir to 57% in Gadag in plots using improved management practices.

Maize: Mean grain yield ranged between 3,840 kg/ha in Chitradurga and 7,510 kg/ha in Haveri in farmer managed plots as farmers exploited the genetic potential (improved varieties) of maize.

Pearl millet: Mean grain yield varied from 1,260 kg/ha to 1,960 kg/ha in farmer managed plots. With IM, yield ranged from 1,530 kg/ha to 2,670 kg/ha (21 to 37%) and fodder yield increase was 35% in Bijapur and 30% in Raichur.

Sorghum: Grain yield increased by 25% in improved management plots.

Pigeonpea: Yield increase ranged from 26% in Bijapur to 38% in Bidar.

Economic impacts on farmers.
  • Investment on micronutrients, estimated at ₹ 1,580/ha, was available to farmers at 50% subsidy from the Rythu Samparka Kendra.
  • Postrainy groundnut was the top earner across 7 districts, ranging from ₹ 10 to 14.5 ($0.15 to 0.22) per additional rupee invested on micronutrients, as pods and fodder fetched a good market price.
  • Reasonably good returns were seen from pigeonpea, soybean, finger millet, green gram, black gram, sorghum and pearl millet.
  • Maize was the second best earner, with an additinal income ranging from ₹ 8-12.6 ($0.12 to 0.19) per rupee invested.
Qualitative impacts
  • Micronutrient application led to improved pod filling and enhanced shelling percentage.
  • Farmers obtained a better price for the pods.
  • Root growth and tillering were profuse in finger millet.
  • Fully filled maize cobs gave farmers higher returns in Haveri district.

Nutrient deficiency in soils following analysis of 92,900 soil samples, mapping and diagnostic studies in 16 districts of Karnataka.

OC = Organic Carbon, S = Sulfur, B = Boron, P = Phosphorous, Zn = Zinc, N = Nitrogen and K = Potassium.
Olsen P is a commonly used soil fertility and soil quality monitoring indicator.

Source: Bhoochetana Annual Report 2010-2011

14 DISTRICTS, 13,800 villages, 2 million farmers

Fourteen more districts -- Bagalkot, Bengaluru Urban, Belgaum, Bellary, Chikkamagaluru, Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu, Koppal, Mandya, Mysore, Ramanagara, Shimoga, Udipi, and Uttara Kannada -- were brought under the project during the 2012 rainy season, bringing it to a total of 30 districts across 25.4 lakh ha in 13,800 villages covering 20 lakh farmers. The post-rainy cover was 5.40 lakh ha.

In the rainy season, productivity enhancement IM technologies were implemented on 2.6 million ha with five major foodgrain cereals, five major grain legumes, and four major oilseed crops as against a target of 2.9 million ha.

In the post-rainy season, 695,951 ha were sown in 13 districts where farmers traditionally grow rainfed crops as against a target area of 856,521 ha.

Yield enhancement of 29-41% was observed.

Rainy season

Scaling up productivity enhancement activities

  • Crop area covered in the first six districts increased from 50% in Year 1 to 75% in Year 3
  • Crop area expanded from 33% to 66% in the next 10 districts covered
  • Expanded activities to cover 50% area in the newly added 14 districts.


Evaluation of improved cultivars


  • Groundnut cultivar ICGV 91114 was popular due to its early and uniform maturity, attractive pod and seed shape, and high shelling percentage. It showed up to 75% higher yields than the local variety.
  • Pigeonpea hybrids ICPH 2671 and ICPH 2740 were found promising with respect to yield, stability and disease resistance, along with good flavor, taste and cooking time.
  • Castor hybrid DCH 177 with high yield (1550-2130 kg/ha), early maturity, pest tolerance and 49% oil content gave 28% more yields across all districts.


  • Finger millet cultivar MR 1 yielded 2,550 kg/ha, 63% higher than the traditional variety.
  • Groundnut variety ICGV 91114 yielded 35-40% more than the local variety. Farmers liked it for its high yield despite low rainfall and drought conditions.


  • Pigeonpea trials with 6 improved cultivars gave 15-20% higher yields than the local variety.
  • Sorghum variety CSV 23’s grain yield from 4 districts was 2,580 kg/ha, 28% higher than the local variety.
  • Finger millet variety MR 1 yielded 15-25% higher than the local variety GPU 28.
  • Groundnut variety ICGV 91114 yielded a maximum of 2,790 kg/ha while the local variety gave 1,120 kg/ha.


  • Pearl millet hybrids ICTP 8203 and HHB 67: Medium-duration ICTP 8203 was tolerant to both drought and downy mildew. HHB 67 yielded 29% more than the traditional variety.
  • Pigeonpea variety Asha recorded a 12% higher yield over the local variety.
  • Chickpea cultivars JG 11 and JAKI 9218: JG 11 was preferred for its early maturity, high yield, attractive large seed and tolerance to Fusarium wilt. Average yield was 55% higher than the traditional variety.

Overall impact

Finger millet
  • In Ramanagara, Mysore, Bengaluru Urban and Rural districts mean grain yield was >2.5-3 tons/ha with IM. Yield increase ranged from 24% in Mysore to 40% in Ramanagara.
  • 26,900 tons of additional finger millet grain being added to the Karnataka granaries due to the application of balanced nutrients and adoption of scientific techniques on 94,083 ha.

  • Grain yields increase ranged from 24% (Bengaluru Rural) to 44% (Koppal) with improved management.
  • 5.5 tons/ha yield in 10 districts with improved management compared to 1.5 tons/ha under FM.
  • Balanced nutrients and other interventions increased maize production by 0.3 million tons in the 2011 rainy season.

Yield increase in pulses using improved management practices.

  • Grown on 165,512 ha, of which 91,081 ha received balanced nutrients in 4 districts.
  • 35% yield increase in Bidar; 42% in Ballarri and Davangere and 47% in Koppal.
  • Additional 98,215 tons of grain produced during the 2011 rainy season.


Yield increase in oilseeds using improved management practices.


Focus was on the high rainfall districts of Kodagu, Udupi, Shimoga, Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada, where of the 67,800 ha grown, 17,033 ha were treated for nutrient deficiencies.

  • Paddy recorded a minimum of 4 tons/ha under farmer management practices.
  • Yield increase recorded with IM ranged from 21% (Kodagu) to 32% (Dakshina Kannada).
  • Additional 23,562 tons produced during the 2011 rainy season.
Enhanced productivity
  • Pulse production increased by an additional 0.2 million tons, providing food and nutritional security in the rainfed districts.
  • Foodgrain production of cereals is estimated to have increased by 0.4 million tons during the rainy season of 2011. A proportionate increase in fodder production was recorded.

Source: Bhoochetana Annual Report 2011-2012


Year 4 of Bhoochetana was targeted to cover 443,000 ha to enhance rainfed and irrigated crop productivity in 30 districts during the rainy season of 2012-13. The program was extended to 500,000 ha of drylands and 5000 ha of irrigated area. It reached 26,000 villages covering 4.2 million farmers. The area covered during the post-rainy season was 1.86 million ha. An 11-37% increase in yield was observed.

Rainy season 2012

With scant monsoon rains during the season, farmers could sow only 82.5% (3.65 million ha) of the targeted area, with maize, paddy and pigeonpea being the most preferred crops. Five major cereals (paddy, finger millet, maize, sorghum and pearl millet); five major grain legumes (pigeonpea, green gram, black gram, field beans and cowpea); and four major oilseed crops (soybean, sunflower, cotton and groundnut) were the crops planned.

Post-rainy season 2012

A total of 2,348,626 ha was sown with rainfed crops against a target of 2,637,855 ha. Chickpea and sorghum were sown over large areas. Across the 12 districts, farmers in Bijapur were the highest users of micronutrients in the recommended quantities. However, the total quantity distributed were higher in Haveri, Davangere, Bidar, and Gulbarga districts.

Increase in crop yields using Bhoochetana’s improved management practices, rainy season 2012.

Increase in crop yields using Bhoochetana’s improved management practices, post rainy season 2012-13.

Overall Impact 2009 to 2013

Rainwater use efficiency (RWUE)

Water is a scarce resource in the dryland regions of Karnataka and research has shown that rainfed regions have low rainwater use efficiency (RWUE). In the light of climate change-related risks, RWUE has to be enhanced. Results show that under FM the limiting factor is ineffective utilization of available water and therefore the very low RWUE for food production. With IM, more food was produced from the same water due to greater RWUE.

Improved management practices served the purpose of converting unproductive evaporation into useful transpiration and was thus a very effective strategy to manage rainwater to increase water productivity.

Economics of Improved Management

The benefit-cost ratios of improved management practices on farmers’ fields during 2009-2012, Karnataka state, India.

Net benefit accrued due to improved management practices followed by the Bhoochetana project.

Source: Bhoochetana Annual Report 2012-2013

Bhoochetana Phase II

Strengthening Bhoochetana

Significant increase in farmers’ participation and area covered had been witnessed during Phase I of the project. About 3.1 million farmers and 7.4 million ha in rainfed regions had been covered by 2013-14. Based on this success, the Government of Karnataka extended the initiative to cover irrigated crops in the state in Phase II.

The 4 Cs approach – consortium, convergence, collective action and capacity building – was continued. Inclusivity, innovation, integration and intensification were instrumental in achieving economic benefits, protecting the environment and enhancing efficiency by empowering stakeholders. All the technologies from the previous phase, such as in-situ soil and water conservation, integrated nutrient management, and integrated pest management were scaled up in this phase. Soil analysis was repeated in all the districts.

Karnataka received normal rainfall during the monsoon (934 mm of rainfall against 835 mm, which is a 12% surplus) and deficit rainfall post-monsoon which partially impacted water availability to crops.

  • Raise crop yields by 20% over Phase I gains, in 30 districts in 5 years.
  • Strengthen village seed banks, participatory research for development, inputs supply, agricultural machinery hiring centers and farm extension through farm facilitators and communication systems.
  • Assess climate change impacts on anticipated shifts in crop-growing periods, water availability, crop yields in different agro-ecoregions and evaluate adaptation strategies to develop climate resilient farming systems.

3.1 million farmers, 7.5 million hectares

A total of 17,497 men and women were trained on different technologies at the district (38) and taluk (184) levels. At the cluster/village level, 0.49 million farm men and women were trained in 30 districts before the season began.

Cluster and village level trainings were imparted to men and women farmers across 30 districts in Karnataka

Using crop-growth simulation models to assess projected climate change impacts on pigeonpea, field experiments were conducted with four varieties of pigeonpea at Farhatabad in Gulbarga district and at ICRISAT.

This involved layer-wise soil sampling, soil analysis, applying recommended balanced nutrition, assessing soil moisture and continuously observing crop growth. Ten climate change scenarios together with the present scenario were used to assess the impacts of climate change on pigeonpea using calibrated APSIM model. Simulation results showed that the scenarios could reduce pigeonpea yields by 3-28% and flowering and maturity by 5-10 days.

Pigeonpea cultivation at Farhatabad in Gulbarga district
Accurate soil analysis can improve crop productivity and minimize wastage of these nutrients.
  • A 1°C and 2°C rise in temperature could decrease grain yields by 9% and 16%, and decrease total biomass by 5% and 9%, respectively
  • A 10% decrease in rainfall together with a rise in temperature could further reduce grain yields by 5% and 4%
  • A further 20% decrease in rainfall and a temperature rise of 1°C and 2°C would lead to 21% and 28% loss in grain yield, respectively
  • Better water and nutrient management, integrated watershed management, and the adoption of heat-tolerant and short-duration varieties would help sustain pigeonpea productivity under future climate change scenarios.

Rainfed crop planning

Rainy season 2013: Crop productivity enhancement technologies were implemented on major cereals, legumes and oilseed crops on 5.4 million ha, as against a target of 5.6 million ha.
Postrainy season: Improved management practices to enhance both rainfed and irrigated crop productivity were implemented on 2.6 million ha in 15 districts, as against a target of 2.5 million ha in 30 districts.


Yield analysis of major crops

Cereals: Yield increase ranged between 20-53% during the rainy season in Karnataka. Maize yielded the highest and pearl millet the highest incremental yield (43% more compared to farmers’ practice).

Legumes: 28-37% yield improvement over farmers’ practice.

Farmer Basavaraju from Salapanahalli village in the Sandur taluk with his maize crop
Pearl millet crop with micronutrient application in Bagalkot district of Karnataka

Performance of improved varieties

  • Groundnut cultivar ICGV 91114: Grown in 12 districts (26 trials on 9.2 ha); maximum yield of 2.59 t/ha in Raichur district; low yields in Bagalkot and Gadag due to poor rainfall.
  • Finger millet cultivar MR 1: Grown in 6 districts (56 trials on 28 ha); average yield of 2.53 t/ha was 20% more than that from the existing cultivar GPU 28.
  • Soybean cultivar JS 9560: 8 trials on 3.6 ha; average grain yield was 2.32 t/ha, the highest was in Dharwad district.
Successful groundnut farmers from Dharwad and Davangere districts of Karnataka
Finger millet field trials as part of the Bhoochetana project
High yielding soybean cultivar JS 9560
  • Sorghum cultivars CSV 15 and CSV 23: Grown in 8 districts; average CSV 15 yield was 2.24 t/ha, the highest of 2.64 t/ha was registered in Koppal. Average CSV 23 yield was 2.58 t/ha, the highest yield of 2.88 t/ha was in Raichur district. Heavy rainfall damaged trials in both cultivars in Bidar and Gulbarga districts.
  • Castor cultivars DCH 177 and Jyothi: Trials held in 8 districts, 6 were successful; 58 trials of DCH 177 on 20.8 ha saw 5-19% more yields than for cultivar Jyothi.
  • Pearl millet cultivars ICTP 8203 and HHB 67: 36 trials on 19.2 ha; average yields were 1.37 t/ha for ICTP 8203 and 1.42 t/ha for HHB 67.
  • Sunflower cultivar DRSH 1: 8 trials in 4 districts on 3.4 ha; maximum yield of 1.57 t/ha was obtained in Raichur district.

  • A women farmer in sorghum field in Karnataka
    Filed trials of castor variety DCH 177 in Karnataka
    Field trails of high-yielding pearl millet cultivars
    Happy and successful sun flower farmers from Bagalkot

    Integrated water resource management in Kolar

    An initiative in partnership with Coca-Cola India Foundation and the Government of Karnataka in Kolar, which has severe water scarcity, aims to improve the availability of water resources by adopting a watershed approach, improving crop yields, and enhancing water use efficiency.

    • Constructed 2 farm ponds for rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge
    • Formed community-based self-help groups (SHGs) to discuss watershed issues, savings and micro-enterprises
    • Conducted farmer participatory activities (border planting and intercropping)
    • Conducted demonstrations with improved cultivars of finger millet, castor, pigeonpea and groundnut.
    Rainwater harvesting ponds constructed in Kolar
    Border planting and intercropping were introduced to the farmers as part of the Bhoochetana project

    Waste water re-use in agriculture

    The watershed in Mudavatti village has a masonry drainage canal of about 2,000 m, which collects rainwater and domestic waste water from close to 400 households. Two farmers are using the waste water to grow vegetables during the postrainy season. ICRISAT proposes to convert the water collection facility into a constructed wetland to treat waste water.

    Overall Impact

    In irrigated areas, soil test-based nutrient management practices, direct seeded rice method; drip irrigation, single eye bud planting and wider row spacing significantly increased paddy and sugarcane yields.

    • Field trials with improved groundnut cultivar ICGV 91114 showed maximum yield of 2.6 tons/ha in Raichur district; average productivity ranged from 1 to 2 tons/ha in different districts.
    • Farmers preferred improved varieties of finger millet, soybean, sorghum, pearl millet, castor and sunflower due to higher yields (29 to 67%).
    Wider row spacing in the pigeonpea field at Nivalkhed village, Vijayapur district, Karnataka
    ICGV 91114 field trials at Raichur district

    Source: Bhoochetana Annual Report 2013-2014

    5.1 million ha

    Activities were targeted to cover 5.8 million ha to enhance the productivity of rainfed and irrigated crops. The project implemented technologies on 5.1 million ha, about 87.7% of the target area was used for major cereals, legumes and oilseeds.

    Improved crop production practices

    Transplanting in pigeonpea: This practice in which seedlings grown in polythene bags are transplanted on to the main field was adopted by farmers in Bidar, Gulbarga, Yadgir and Kolar districts. The practice helps overcome late sowing and consequent lower yields; sowing can be done in the second week of May even if it does not rain at the right time; insect damage can be avoided; and only 2 kg/ha of seed is required as against 10-12 kg/ha in normal practice.

    Guli cultivation in finger millet: Despite using high-yielding varieties, fertilizers and chemicals, finger millet yields barely cross 0.7 tons per acre. Farmers in Karnataka practice the ‘Guli Vidhana’ that is square planting, similar to the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), in which yields of up to 5 - 20 quintals/acre are possible compared to 8-9 quintals/acre.

    Paired row planting of pigeonpea: Pigeonpea is often intercropped with legumes or cereals in rainfed areas. Intercropping with paired row planting of pigeonpea considerably reduced the need for other financially and environmentally costly weed control measures.

    Pest monitoring with pheromone traps: Populations of pest species including Helicoverpa and Spodoptera are marked by sex pheromones. Pheromone traps are used to obtain data and predict infestations that enable timely use of control measures. Bhoochetana farmers use these traps to monitor pest incidence in order to take suitable control methods.

    Pest-tolerant cultivars: ICRISAT has developed cultivars tolarant to pests, diseases and drought in sorghum, pearl millet, groundnut, pigeonpea and chickpea. These were included in farmer participatory varietal evaluations and selections in all the districts.

    Cultural control: Integrated pest management options such as early/delayed sowing, selection of intercrops, altering plant density/arrangement and sowing genetic mixtures are used to reduce insect/pest infestation severity.

    Natural control: Farmers are encouraged to adopt natural and eco-friendly measures of pest control since some pests are beneficial and attack/consume other parasites/pathogens.

    Technologies adopted in irrigated paddy and sugarcane

    Single eyebud demo: This method was adopted in sugarcane on over 746 ha in 12 major districts, with wider row spacing (28,925 ha), and drip irrigation (16,075 ha).

    Direct-seeded rice: A feasible alternative in rice cultivation, it saves water and labor, mitigates greenhouse gas emission and adapts to climate risks. Yields are comparable to transplanted rice but with greater benefits.

    Drum-seeded rice plantation: Pre-germinated seeds are directly sown in a well-puddled and leveled wet field, doing away with many steps in the traditional method. One person can sow a hectare in 5-6 hours compared to 3-4 days of transplanting by 30-40 persons under traditional sowing.

    Machine transplanting: This labor and time saving method was adopted on 4,278 ha.

    Bud chip method of sugarcane planting: A vegetatively propagated crop, sugarcane’s planting material is a large mass that poses transportation problems, handling and storage. It is easier to plant excised axillary buds known as bud chips to aid the rapid multiplication of new varieties.

    High-density planting of sugarcane: This significantly improved crop yield per unit area.

    Training: 0.3 million farm personnel were trained across 30 districts. At the district level, 7,165 DoA staff, farm facilitators, and ICRISAT staff were trained. At the taluk level, agricultural assistants, newly appointed farm facilitators and lead farmers provided hands-on training and demonstration of seed treatment, soil sampling, tropicultor use, crop harvest sampling and village-level record-keeping to 15,769 men and women. Cluster/village-level trainings for farmers focused on discussions on soil/crop issues, pest management, and other related issues.

    High-density sugarcane planting


    Evaluation of improved cultivars


    • Groundnut cultivar ICGV 91114 was popular due to its early and uniform maturity, attractive pod and seed shape, and high shelling percentage. It showed up to 75% higher yields than the local variety.
    • Pigeonpea hybrids ICPH 2671 and ICPH 2740 were found promising with respect to yield, stability and disease resistance, along with good flavor, taste and cooking time.
    • Castor hybrid DCH 177 with high yield (1,550-2,130 kg/ha), early maturity, pest tolerance and 49% oil content gave 28% more yields across all districts.


    • Finger millet cultivar MR 1 yielded 2,550 kg/ha, 63% higher than the traditional variety.
    • Groundnut variety ICGV 91114 yielded 35-40% more than the local variety. Farmers liked it for its high yield despite low rainfall and drought conditions.


    • Pigeonpea trials with 6 improved cultivars gave 15-20% higher yields than the local variety.
    • Sorghum variety CSV 23 grain yield from 4 districts was 2,580 kg/ha, 28% higher than the local variety.
    • Finger millet variety MR 1 had 15-25% higher yields than the local variety GPU 28.
    • Groundnut variety ICGV 91114 yielded a maximum of 2,790 kg/ha while the local variety gave 1,120 kg/ha.


    • Pearl millet hybrids ICTP 8203 and HHB 67: Medium-duration ICTP 8203 was tolerant to both drought and downy mildew. HHB 67 yielded 29% more than the traditional variety.
    • Pigeonpea variety Asha recorded a 12% higher yield over the local variety.
    • Chickpea cultivars G 11 and JAKI 9218: G 11 was preferred for its early maturity, high yield, attractive large seed and tolerance to Fusarium wilt. Average yield was 55% higher than the traditional variety.

    Yield analysis of major crops – Rainy season 2014

    Area (ha) covered by crops and the increase (%) in grain and fodder yields in the 2014 rainy season following the use of improved crop management practices.

    Integrated water resource management in Kolar district

    An ICRISAT-Coca-Cola India Foundation-Government of Karnataka initiative aims to enhance the livelihoods of farmers in Kolar district by adopting a watershed approach, improving crop yields as well as enhancing water use efficiency. Kolar is marked by severe water shortage.

    • Baseline survey: Available secondary data on land use patterns, demographic composition and agricultural practices were collected. A household survey that included the landless and women was conducted.
    • Registration of farmers: Basic information on each household (farmer information and photo) in the watershed was collected using Android-based tablets and Open Data Kit ( ODK) Collect app.
    • Rainwater harvesting: Constructing low-cost water harvesting structures was an important intervention for groundwater recharge. Farm ponds were promoted.
    • Productivity enhancing interventions: An analysis by ICRISAT revealed the potential to fill the large yield gaps in all main rainfed crops using available technologies in farmers’ fields.
    • Water treatment and re-use: Apart from using freshwater, Bhoochetana plans to harness domestic waste water for vegetable cultivation after primary treatment. A wetland set-up has been constructed in Mudavatti village.

    Integrated watershed management in Bellary district

    Land degradation, improper water management, poor markets and limited infrastructure support are the root causes of unbalanced development of Bellary district. Under a PPP arrangement between Jindal Steel’s JSW Foundation, ICRISAT and the Government of Karnataka, a pilot watershed program was implemented in four villages (Doddanthapura, Chikkanthapura, Kodalu and Joga) in Sandur taluk.

    The activities carried out included soil analysis, soil and water conservation measures, setting up an automatic weather station and hydrological gauging station, groundwater level monitoring, avenue plantation, and income generating activities (vermicomposting, seed distribution to SHG women for kitchen gardening).

    Evaluating the quality of extension services under Bhoochetana

    In 2014, a survey of 640 farmers in 8 districts to assess their perceptions about the benefits accrued from the extension services provided by farm facilitators, revealed the following:

    • Farm facilitators and awareness programs are very critical in mobilizing farmers to take advantage of the program and to enhance their crop productivity.
    • Farm facilitators took the lead in planning and conducting Farmer Field Schools (FFS), through which farmers were equipped to take the right crop management decisions at every stage of the crop, and to monitor their farms for pests and diseases.
    Overall Impact - Social benefits of Bhoochetana

    Re-investing additional income on asset formation

    • Almost 40% of the farm households re-invested the additional income in agriculture and related infrastructure
    • About 13% of them bought white goods, such as refrigerators, ceiling fans, mixer grinders, mobile phones and vehicles
    • Money was spent on repaying loans, infrastructure and education
    • 7% used it for health-related expenditure
    • Money was ploughed into small savings.
    Knowledge enhancement

    Apart from increasing crop productivity, Bhoochetana enhanced stakeholders’ knowledge of agricultural operations.

    • Knowledge dissemination initiated by ICRISAT and carried out by master trainers from the State Agricultural Universities and the Department of Agriculture had a huge impact, as more than 50% of the households acquired better knowledge about different aspects of agricultural development in the state
    • Knowledge about soil health status, micronutrient application and improved seed varieties improved significantly (in more than 85% of households)
    • Nearly 80% of households learned new methods to control pests and diseases so as to increase crop yields.
    Addressing gender equity

    An analysis of the decision making process by men and women farmers following Bhoochetana practices revealed that:

    • Women play a meager role in crop and variety selection, land preparation, fertilizer application, irrigation, harvesting, threshing and marketing.
    • Many decisions affecting these objectives were taken jointly, showing consensus among men and women.
    • Women had more control over labor-intense activities such as transplanting, hand-weeding, and interculture.
    • Men had greater control over almost all the activities, especially marketing.
    • More than 70% of men and women farmers made joint decisions about seed selection, harvesting, threshing and storage.

    Source: Bhoochetana Annual Report 2014-2015

    3.6 million ha, 30 districts

    During the third year, Karnataka State received deficit rainfall (-22%) from June to September in 81 taluks and 2 taluks received scanty rainfall. Despite this, crop yields increased by 17-34% after implementing crop productivity enhancing technologies on 3.6 million ha.


    Yield analysis of major crops – rainy season 2015

    Data from crop cutting experiments undertaken in the 30 districts revealed a 17- 34% yield increase depending on the crop, with black gram recording the highest yield (34%) and cotton the lowest (17%) using improved management practices.

    Yields of major crops by district

    Area (ha) covered crops and the increase (%) in grain and fodder yields in districts of Karnataka following the use of improved management practices.

    • District level trainings: 36 training sessions, 3102 staff trained.
    • Taluk level trainings : 97 training sessions, 6,725 men and women trained.
    • Cluster/village level trainings: 113,589 farm men and women trained.

    Source: Bhoochetana Annual Report 2015-2016