Since 2009, ICRISAT is leading the state-wide Bhoochetana
means land rejuvenation) to boost crop productivity by at least 20% through improved soil, crop and water management. The science-led interventions include addressing the widespread micro and secondary nutrient deficiencies
in the degraded soils of this semi-arid region. The impact has been remarkable, a doubling of yields in groundnut, pigeonpea and chickpea for instance, and Bhoochetana's replication in other Indian states and other Asian countries is in the offing.
The large adoption of mobile technologies among the rural poor in the last few years is a great opportunity to use ICT innovations to increase farmers' access to critical information such as weather forecast, pest risks and pest control advice, information on quality inputs or identifying the right credit and insurance solutions, etc. ICRISAT has developed financially sustainable ICT-mediated agro-advisory systems, Krishi Gyan Sagar and Krishi Vani launched in 2013 in Karnataka, as well as in Andhra Pradesh.
Horticulture is an important economic sector, with growing export potential for flowers, and vegetables like gherkin. ICRISAT has provided research support to Suvarna Bhoomi Yojane, a government program aimed at linking small and marginal farmers (initial target: 250,000 farmers) to high-value horticulture market opportunities.
In many farms, there are inappropriate soil and water use practices which exacerbate land degradation and waterlogging and reduce water availability. Watershed and natural resource management initiatives are going on in Kolar and Bellary districts.
Working closely with Dharwad and Bangalore Agricultural Universities, our research also looks at improved water use for agriculture (eg, the use of waste water for agriculture, Water4crops initiative), and crop improvement of pigeonpea and chickpea, food legumes of growing importance in Karnataka in the context of climate change.