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Productivity enhancement & livelihood improvement

About the Implementing organization


Country: India

Year of establishment: 1972

Type of organization: Legally recognized non-profit status


There are large yield gaps between current and potential yields by around 2-4 times. Under this initiative, soil health mapping is adopted as entry point activity for need based fertilizer use. Soil samples are collected by using stratified soil sampling method to take care of topography, soil color, texture, farm size, crops/cropping system, agronomic management. The recommendations are developed at village level and also included deficient micro and secondary nutrients like S, B and Zn along with widely used N, P and K. Secondary and micro nutrients are recommended based on severity of deficiency – full dose if >50% fields are deficient, half dose if 25%-50% fields are deficient, 1/4th dose if 10%-25% fields are deficient and no dose if <10% deficiency. The full dose of deficient S, B and Zn comprise 15, 0.5 and 5 kg ha-1.
Varietal replacement with climate smart high yielding varieties is proven opportunity with yield benefits of 10% to 60%. Landform management (broadbed & furrow, conservation furrow), agronomic management, IPM, INM are other proven potential technologies. The best bet management i.e. integrated soil-water-nutrient-crop management has shown to almost double yield levels in the watersheds.
In this initiative, we work across value chain to develop/strengthen livelihood options through feed/fodder promotion, livestock improvement, nurseries, crop diversification.

Nature Element


Type of Action

Sustainable use / Pollution prevention, clean up / Awareness and education

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Climate action

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)


Environmental Impacts

Soil test based fertilizer application helped to optimize excessive applications of N and P fertilizers and helped reduce N-based pollution through enhanced N & P use efficiency. The need based fertilizer application has led to correct nutrient imbalances in soil for sustainable natural resource management.

Sustainable Development Impacts

Soil test based fertilizer application has helped smallholders to increase productivity by 10-50% and varietal replacement by 10% to 50%. This ensured excess food production for household and also linking with the markets. The yield benefits are also observed in stover production as well, which being major fodder for cattle, boosted livestock based livelihoods.
To address the issue of poor nutrition in animals, this initiative linked farmers with SABMiller brewery to use their by-producr i.e. spent malt as animal feed. As a business model, Priyadarshini women’s SHG sold the procured 2485000 kg of spent malt making a net profit of Rs.136,199/- during a period of 5 years. The farmers who used spent malt have witnessed increased gross income in milk production by about Rs 17800/- per day with a net income of Rs. 12800/- per day in the watershed village. In total, the village is getting increased net income of Rs. 384000/- per month with an average net income of Rs 6620/- per family.


The soil health and improved management has proved a scalable technology with benefit cost of 4-15 for every one rupee spent on it. With this initiative in Karnataka state during 5 years, net economic benefits through increased production were estimated at ~US $ 353 million (Rs 1963 crores).
The livelihood options have emerged on business lines in the watersheds and are scalable with initial technical and financial support required.


The benefits of watershed level soil health rejuvenation along with improved management are picked up by policy makers and various CSR partners. ‘Bhoochetana’ a scaling-up initiative with the support of Government of Karnataka is an exemplar case to cover 5 million ha under improved management in the state. Taking leads from ‘Bhoochetana, the government supported ‘Rythu Kosam’ initiative in Andhra Pradesh is unique in scaling-up/out the system-level productivity through embracing allied sectors along with core agricultural crops (i.e. Primary Sector). During 2015-16 till 2016-17 rainy season, soil health management is scaled-out in >1 million ha with yield benefits of 10% to 30%. Proofs of concept are developed in pilots for recycling on-farm wastes; climate smart crop varieties having yield benefit of 10%-60%.
The livelihood options are also co-creating wealth for men, women and youth farmers in Bhoochetana, Rythu Kosam and other pilot sites across different states in India.


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