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An in house newsletter of the J.R.D. Tata Ecotechnology Centre of the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation

It is a year since the first copy of e-Links was brought out to keep our colleagues, partners and donors posted on the
activities and progress made. Four issues have been brought out so far and we are heading into Vol 2 with this being
the first issue. Last June we had a retreat as a follow up to analyze the programme review document and reposition
ourselves and we will be meeting next month to see how far we have progressed. As one of the Programme Area
which has a large presence in the field and direct contact with the communities in terms of developing a integrated
people-centered model, there is a need to analyze if the activities planned are on the right path to achieve the goal
which is to research, develop, and diffuse environmentally sound technologies through appropriate delivery models
based on human centric and inclusive approach to nurture sustainable rural livelihoods. During the forthcoming
retreat we will be looking at the consolidation of the success stories we have achieved and understand the key
learning’s to see how we can scale these up. The IFS approach, which had been initiated at Chidambaram, was taken
to Kendarapara and is now being adopted at Poombuhar, Pudukottai and is being initiated at Karasanur too. The
sustainable agricultural framework, which was initiated at Kannivadi through which we are currently engaged with
1500 farmers have had a profitable season and we now have plans of scaling this up to 5000 farmers in the next two
years. The 6000 odd women with whom we work directly - we observe have had a transformation in the roles they
perform. These results encourage us to carry on with our activities.
Over the years we have learnt to work as a consortium, brought in convergence of other agencies, reached a point
where we have the community as our partners in implementation in the role change and have spent time in building
their capacities to see the transformation in them, they have worked as collectives too. The CBO’s we have nurtured
Innuyir Gramma Sangham , Kulumai and RSGA apart from the Nari shakthi and other small ones being nurtured are
blossoming very well. This year too we invested our energy and time on capacity building to strengthen them. We
hope these investments will help us to draw up our plans for scaling up.
Field testing of the liquid formulation of the Azospirillum, Phosphobacteria and
Pseudomonas in SRI method of rice cultivation in hybrid and local varieties of rice
A demonstration trial was conducted at the Biocentre, Puducherry during the Late Samba season (December 2009 to
April 2010) using SRI method of rice cultivation to test the performance of the liquid biofertilizers against the carrier
based formulations and the chemical fertilizers in the following rice varieties viz., Hybrid Suruchi 5401, PY 7 and ADT
37. The liquid formulations of the biofertilizers, Azospirillum, Phosphobacteria and Pseudomonas were standardized
in the laboratory using cell protectants. The colony forming units (CFU) and the shelf life of the formulations was
maintained up to three months with 10
cfu/ml in the liquid formulation whereas in the control (without cell
protectants) the CFU was maintained only up to 10
. The nutrient status of the soil was evaluated initially and at 15
days interval after each treatment by estimating the different soil parameters viz., pH, EC, organic carbon, available
NPK, exchangeable cations. In addition, the microbial load and the microbial enzymatic activity were also evaluated.
The nursery was raised in half a cent of land using 2 kg of seeds of all the three varieties and transplantation was
done after 15 days.
Volume 2, Issue 1, June 2010
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Three replicas of the plot were made and each paddy varieties viz., Hybrid Suruchi (M1), PY7 (M2) and ADT 37 (M3)
were subjected to 6 different treatments namely, S1 – Control; S2 – Farmers practice; S3 – Fertilizer application -
100% recommended dose; S4 – Biofertilizer/ Pseudomonas (25 % liquid form) + fertilizer application based on soil
testing; S5 - Biofertilizer / Pseudomonas (25 % peat soil base) + fertilizer application based on soil testing and S6 –
Fertilization application based on soil testing.

The field trial was carried out in 400 m
with 12 m
/plot following Split Plot Design. Initially the seed treatments was
given with 150 ml of suspension of Azospirillum/ Pseudo and made up to 1 litre. The seeds were soaked in the
bacterial suspension overnight, filtered and sown. Four applications of the liquid and the carrier formulations were
given as seed treatment, root dipping and soil application @ 15 days interval @ 0.25 l/acre were mixed with one litre
of water and given as soil drenching.

The results showed that the number of tillers was highest (27.4 numbers) in M2S6 followed by M1S5 and M2S4. The
root length was highest (12.5 cm) in M3S5 and least (8.3 cm) in M1S2 and M2S1. The shoot length was highest (78.7
cm) in M2S6 followed by M2S4. The panicle length was highest in M2S4 (25.4 cm) followed by M2S3.

The plant height was highest (112.6 cm) in M2S6 as against least (92.2 cm) in M1S1. The number of healthy grains
was highest (194.1 numbers) in M2S3 (Figure 1) as against the least (151.7 numbers) in M1S2; the grain yield was
high (61.3 g) yield in M1S5 (Figure 2 & 3) as against the least (31.7 g) in M1S1.

S1 – Control; S2 – Farmers
practice; S3 – Fertilizer
application - 100%
recommended dose; S4 –
Biofertilizer/ Pseudomonas (25
% liquid form) + fertilizer
application based on soil
testing; S5 - Biofertilizer /
Pseudomonas (25 % peat soil
base) + fertilizer application
based on soil testing and S6 –
Fertilization application based
on soil testing. Further tests
will be carried out in the
coming seasons.

IPM Lab, MSSRF Chennai

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Integrated Community Pond

The SC Colony at Thalinji Panchayat, used to get
affected by floods, which was a frequent
occurrence once every 4 or 5 years. During such
times they were accommodated in the school
buildings. In order to find a solution to this
problem, the inhabitants of the Colony and
Panchayat had a discussion and it was decided
that with the help of the Agricultural Engineering
Department, the existing community pond would
be deepened and extended and the soil would be
used for creating an earthen bund, which would
prevent of flood waters from reaching the village. Based on the resolution of the Panchayat, the Agricultural
Engineering Department was approached to do the needful. The establishment of the renovated community pond
with a water spread area of 1600 m and the bund (160 m long, 2 m wide and height 4 m), has helped in harvesting
the runoff water. This pond has been named as the M.S. Swaminathan Community Pond and is managed by the 20
women from the SC Colony who have formed themselves into a SHG. The pond and bund complex has given an
opportunity for these women to raise seasonal vegetable crops, fodder (Buffalo grass), tree crops (drumstick and
sesbania) and carry out pisiculture activities. This activity has ensured additional availability of food and water to the
23 families inhabiting the SC Colony.

Illupur, Pudukottai Site Office

Puducherry Biocentre’s Stakeholders Meeting

A Stakeholders meeting was organized at the Biocentre on 14 May 2010 in which officials from Horticulture,
Agriculture, Fisheries, District Rural Development Agency, local administration, PONLAIT, Women’s Development
Corporation and lead banks like NABARD, nationalized banks like the SBI and Indian Bank participated.
Prof. Dr. M. S. Swaminathan, Chairman of MSSRF, Dr. Sudha Nair, Senior Director of JRD Tata Ecotechnology Centre,
Ms. Shanthi Duraisamy, Principal Scientist from Chennai headquarters participated along with the staff of the
Biocentre and the Village Resource Centre at Pillayarkuppam, Pudhucherry and the Bio Council members.

Mr Rozario made a brief presentation on the progress and achievements of the work done so far. The various
stakeholders gave their impressions on the work done by the Centre and also expressed their support for activities in
the future. Prof. M. S. Swaminathan in his special address, briefly captured the genesis of the Biovillage Programme
and its replication. He expressed his concern over three important aspects relating to the depletion of the ground
water and the need for conserving it, need for increasing agricultural produce and identification of continuous job
opportunities to increase the family income and pulling up all those under the below poverty line. For this he said
that market driven enterprises should be taken up and support to be extended in all ways for the entrepreneurs to
be successful.

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Referring to Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana Scheme which specially focuses on upgradeing the lives of the
women farmers and thereby increase their income, he said it was very important to plan towards how the women
would strengthen their livelihoods/alternate livelihood opportunities, He stressed on the need for replication of the
Biovillage Programme in other countries too. Most importantly he said that the main objective has been to bring the
BPL families above the poverty line, give them employment opportunities and not just subsidies. While appreciating
the progress made in 60 villages under the Bio village framework he felt that this had to be taken to the other 200
villages of Puducherry too.

He informed that in 2011, the 20th anniversary of the Biovillage programme will be commemorated and suggested
for organizing an International Consultation on “Biovillages and Achieving UN MDGs” and work towards “every
Village a Biovillage by 2015”.

At the end of the meeting he met with the Biovillage Council members who shared with him the activities that they
have been doing in terms of a follow up on their visioning exercise, community banking and the results of the audit
reports. He requested them to partner the Centre in the ‘Every village a Biovillage’ work plan. The members agreed
to it.

Puducherry Biovillage Project Site Office

Capacity Building of Project Partners on Livelihoods

Watershed management interventions nowadays increasingly focus upon livelihoods enhancement along with the
management of land and water resources. The `Community Managed Bio-Industrial Watershed Management for
Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Enhanced Livelihoods’ project supported by the JRD Tata Trust also adopts
the same approach of enhancing the livelihoods of community in watershed areas in addition to land and water
management. Livelihood is particularly focused upon bringing in all the actors in a watershed area whether or not
they are directly linked to the watersheds- the landless, the poor, marginal and other landowners, the women, the
socially and economically marginalized sections of the area into the fold of a Bio-Industrial Watershed.

As deep understanding regarding livelihoods is important both by
the project staff and the community, a three day workshop was
organized by the Chennai Co-ordinating Cell of the Bio-Industrial
Watershed project to enhance the level of understanding of the
project partners on issues related to livelihoods at Tiruchirapalli
between 11 – 13 May 2010. Though the workshop was aimed at
two of the five bio-industrial watershed project sites namely the
Karasanur Watershed Site at Villupuram District and the
Pudukottai Watershed Site, participation from across Programme
Areas and across project sites of Ecotechnology was also invited.
The workshop was conducted in Tamil and the logistics of the
workshop was handled by our Illupur Site Office. The two
resource persons Mr. G.V. Krishnagopal and Mr. Guru Prakash from Access Livelihood Consulting (ALC), Hyderabad
who conducted the workshop, gradually took the participants across various steps towards building up successful
individual and group enterprises to enhance livelihoods. Cost-benefit analysis and rational thinking over business
plans have always been a weak area when we introduce livelihood enhancement programmes, but this training
helped the participants - both the project implementers and the communities understand the benefit of having a
strong and sound business plan in order to succeed in livelihood intervention. As the participants differed greatly in
terms of education and experience, care was taken to structure the programme, so that all understand the basics of
a business, using a mix of case studies, theory and group exercises.

The workshop drew participation from our Kannivadi site and the Fish for All Research & Training Centre,
Kaveripoopatnam site apart from the staff and community from the Pudukottai and Karasanur watershed sites,
drawing in all thirty one individuals.

Dr. C. Manjula, Principal Scientist
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Annual Review and Planning Workshop 2010 for the Grassroot Institutions, Kannivadi
The Centre has been working in Kannivadi field site with an overarching goal of enhancing the livelihood security
through science and technology based pathways for sustainable use of resource base (natural and human) of
semiarid region within the biovillage framework. The specific activities include: enhancing the knowledge and skill on
sustainable agriculture and development of the local men and women farmers and agricultural laborers; facilitating
knowledge management and information access; promote multiple livelihoods through ecoenterprises and
institutionalizing the activities through Grassroot Institutions viz; Farmer Producer Company and SHG federation.
Though all the activities are interrelated to realize the larger goal of reaching sustainable rural development, each of
the activities are supported by different projects. In order to bring greater convergence among the aforesaid
activities on thinking and actions, sustainability and scaling up of the initiatives as a follow up of decisions taken at
the last retreat two days workshop was organized from 29 to 30 April 2010. The major objectives of the workshop
was: to review the previous year activities in terms of its outputs and lessons learnt and evolve a plan for the current
year with budget; to strengthen the linkages among the various activities and to strengthen the working
relationships between two CBOs to mutually support, share resources and expertise to reach the common goal and
to increase their share of responsibilities as part of their role change process which was initiated a year ago.
The participants of the workshop were field
staff of the Farmers Producer Company,
Kulumai SHG federation, Community
Learning Centres and MSSRF staff. To enable
the facilitation and discussions lead
questions and formats have been designed
and shared with the groups. On the first day
respective teams had group discussion on
the last year achievements, results and
lessons learnt and annual plan for the
current year with budget. On the next day
the team members shared their last year’s
performance and current years’ plan to all
participants. In this, discussion was focused
on how each one of them could mutually
contribute, share and collaborate to achieve
the common goal. The workshop helped to
develop an annual action plan for the site with budget and review the previous year’s performance on the one hand.
On the other hand it provided an opportunity for the local leaders/staff to come together and think for collaborative
actions. It is planned to continuously monitor the progress on collaboration in the activities of the respective
institutions through biannual meetings and interactions and increase the roles of the CBOs as our partners in
Kannivadi Site Office

Newsletter Team: Dr. Vijay R. Subbiah, Dr. R. Rengalakshmi, Dr. C. Manjula & Dr. Sudha Nair

For further details contact: Dr. Vijay R. Subbiah Email:

JRD Tata Ecotechnology Centre | M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation
Third Cross Street, Taramani Institutional Area, Chennai – 600113, INDIA
Phone: +91 – 44 – 2254 2698, 2254 2699 | Fax: +91 – 44 – 2254 1319 | Email: | Web:

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