Well aware of the short comings of his land, Mr Gulok Mandal of Dharampur knows that cultivating crops in soil with high moisture (water logged) can weaken young samplings and affect overall productivity. Further, the practice of late sowing is associated with water shortages in the summer season and late harvests. Crops cultivated under such conditions also fetch prices below the market average, resulting in lower incomes earned.
With ‘Live Better with Floods’ being implemented in his village, he was exposed to a gamut of technological options which would help him improve incomes. A technological intervention of relevance to him; and one in which he showed a keen interest was the practice of cultivating on raised beds.
With an average elevation of approximately one foot above the ground, he constructed a bed of 5 meters square using mud, compost and water hyacinth. He also used bamboo to reinforce the structure and prevent its sides from being eroded. With bunds around his fish pond also developed as part of the IFS model, he decided to improvise with the technology and replicate it along the bunds. Traditional mesh like structures locally known as chang/jeng were also constructed and placed over the raised beds to support cultivation of creepers. By reducing contact with the saturated soil, as well as improving drainage, he is using these raised beds to raise both saplings and cultivate crops permanently.
He has effectively used these raised beds to cultivate crops like bottle gourd, pumpkin, brinjal and cabbage. He is also using these raised beds to nurture saplings of rice, for subsequent transplantation in the field.
It is an example of successful adoption of existing technologies. While increase in productions were not really his target, timely sowing and harvesting of crops despite the waterlogged conditions have helped him fetch a higher market price for his produce. These market prices have added an additional Rs 19,700 to his kitty. One of few farmers to have adopted this technology, he hopes to be an inspiration to others faced by the same challenge.