River Bank Watermelon Cultivation Improved Livelihood of Farmers of Dhenkanal
The river Brahmani flows in the vicinity of Dhenkanal Sadar cluster of Dhenkanal district of Odisha. The six villages of the cluster viz. Khectarellibandha, Nuagaon, Mandapal, Talagotha, Khectaremara and Kotapala are located in the right side of the river. Although the river is rainfed, but availability of water during the rabi and summer season is sufficient. Earlier, the soil of the region was sandy land and was infested with Kans (Sacchectarerum spontaneum) weed. Farmers of the region used to cultivate watermelon at river bank. In the Year 2004-2005, only four farmers cultivated watermelon in an area of 1.6 hectare with low productivity of 8.75 tonnes/ hectare. They were using low yielding and low quality varieties and seeds.
Interventions of NAIP
During 2011-12, the NAIP sub- project under component-3 ‘Sustainable Rural Livelihood and Food Security to Rainfed Farmers of Orissa’, Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), Bhubaneswar and the consortium partners attempted to improve livelihood of watermelon growing farmers through cultivation of good quality high yielding varieties like BSS Bejo Seetal, Sugar baby, Madhubala, Karan, Agasta and Poonam with improved management practices. Training on cultivation practices and critical input support were provided for cultivation of the crop in an area of 14.8 hectare involving 40 households. With these interventions, productivity of crops enhanced upto 25 tonnes/hectare. During the year 2011-12, local farmers yielded total production of 370 tonnes from an area of 14.8 hectare and their net income increased upto Rs. 65,000/hectare.