Litchi based land use technique through ridges and furrow system: A novel technology to improve productivity of low lying area

Authors: R.K. Patel, S.D. Pandey, S.K. Purbey, Amrendra Kumar, Kuldeep Srivastav, Akhand Pratap Pandey, Praveen Mishra and Vishal Nath
ICAR-National Research Centre on Litchi, Muzaffarpur, Bihar, India



Introduction
Agriculture prosperity in India is evidenced by almost fivefold increase in food production after independence. This needs to be enhanced further to cope up with increasing demand of population and that too in the wake of challenges like climate change, degradation of land and water resources, shrinking of land and scarcity of water for agriculture. Majority of the farmers in India are small and marginal. They often follow a monoculture approach which leads to low farm income from agriculture/horticulture/aquaculture to run their families. Presently, most of the farmers are concentrating mainly on crop production, which is subjected to a high degree of risk and uncertainty in income due to crop failure by various factors. It is imperative to evolve a self-sustainable system in existing land use system utilizing the available natural resources through more refined and holistic manner that can assure the income and employment generation round the year. A judicious mix of horticulture and aquaculture based cropping system with associated enterprises more so condition suited to low lying/wet land conditions and socio economic conditions of the farmers would bring prosperity to the farmer. Substantial area under wastelands -waterlogged and marshy land is available and remains unutilized or partially utilized for agricultural purpose. The major problems associated with this wasteland are poor drainage and water accumulates only due to high rains during monsoon months resulting in crop failure in cultivated field. Some parts of Bihar remain waterlogged (> 1m surface water logging) for 4-5 months and become unproductive during kharif and very low utilization in rabi season too. Restoration of such lands is possible through integration of various techniques of land treatment (land shaping) horticulture and fisheries and makes them possible for use to cultivate short and long duration fruit crops, vegetables along with other enterprises in order to diversify monoculture. Land shaping technique includes modification of the surface of the land primarily for harvesting rain water for creating source for irrigation, reducing drainage congestion and growing of multiple and diversified crops round the year and efficient use of stored water.

Methodology

Land configuration based water conservation techniques in low lying waterlogged area has also been evolved through land shaping into alternate ridges (1.5 m top width x1.0 m height x 3m bottom width& 1 m top width x1.0 m height x2.5 m bottom width) and furrows system. Dug out soil from furrows is used for making ridges. These ridges remain free of water logging during rainy season. Litchi cv. Shahi & China was planted on ridges and also on mound system at 8.25x4 m spacing. The growth performance of litchi is quite promising. The furrows are used for growing seasonal crops round the year and fish cultivation (two furrows) for 5-6 months. The rain water stored in furrows is used for irrigation of litchi plants during winter season. The water stored in furrows is also used for fish cultivation and supplementary irrigation purposes.

Litchi based cropping on ridges and furrows system
Development of litchi based land use technique through ridges and furrow system in low lying area mixed with fruits (banana & papaya) on ridges and other seasonal crops and aquaculture in furrows system under optimum management conditions can be useful for rehabilitation of waterlogged soil on long-term basis to ensure nutritional security, economic sustainability, and employment generation.

Land has been converted as alternate ridges (Planting situation-PS I:1.5 m top width x1.5 m height x 3m bottom width &PS II:1 m top width x 1.5 m height x 2.5 m bottom width) and furrows system including mound (PS III: 2.0 m dia x 1.5 m height x 1.0 m top dia). Dug out soil from furrows is used for making ridges.

Litchi cvs. Shahi & China has been planted on ridges and also on mound system at 8.25x4 m spacing. The vegetative growth performance of both the cultivars planted on ridges found promising.
Performance of different seasonal crops grown in furrow system

Mustard, faba bean and maize crops have been cultivated in sunken beds of low lying area in Rabi season. Faba bean, maize and mustard crops grown under PS I produced better yield than the crops grown in other sunken bed of PS II and PS III. The highest cob yield was recorded in maize (170.0 q/ha). However, faba bean yield varied from 13.5-15 q/ha and mustard yield from 16-18 q/ha.

BA_3789
Fig.View of litchi plantation on ridges and seasonal crops (maize, mustard, faba bean) on furrow

Table-I: Expected outcome from ridge and furrow system of cultivation in one hectare low lying area (Area covered under-Ridges: 4000 sq m & Furrows: 6000 sq m)



Models

Fruit crops on ridges

Crops/fish on furrows

Total income (Rs.)

Fruit crops (Perennial)

Short duration fruit crops

Vegetable and other crops

Fish

Rainy

Winter

Summer

Option-I
(Papaya /Banana+Veg)

Mango or Litchi (208 plants)

Papaya/ Banana (364
plants)
Net income 125 Rs./Plant in papaya & 130 Rs./Plant from banana
45500/ 47320

Paddy
15000

Mustard
27000

Moong
24000

-

112000-113000
(Up to 5 years)

Option-II (Papaya /Banana+Veg.)

-

45500- 47320

Fallow

Faba bean
24000

Cucurbits
30000

-

100000 - 101000

Option-III
(Papaya /Banana+Cowpea+ Fish)

-

45500 -47320

Short duration fish

Cowpea
60000

25000

130000-132000

Option-IV
(Papaya /Banana+Fish)

-

45500-47320

Year round fish culture

54000

100000 - 101000

Mango/Litchi+Fish (After 5 years onward)

1000Rs./plant
1000x208= 208000

-

-

-

-

54000

262000
(After 5 years onward)

Existing cropping system

Practice-I: Paddy-wheat
(Normal low land)

-

-

Paddy
25000

Wheat
35000

-

-

60000

Practice-II Maize-moong
(Flush flood)

-

-

Fallow

Maize
30000

Moong
25000

-

55000


Apprehension: Almost double income can be ensured by integrating fisheries and horticulture through ridge and furrow system on time scale.

Conclusion
Location specific judicious integration of horticultural and seasonal crops with aquaculture based cropping system including resource conservation and their optimum utilization under low land conditions would bring prosperity to the farmer. Besides, restoration of cultivable waste land (low land) through land shaping techniques (making of pond, ridge& furrow, mound system) made possible for integration of various enterprises in order to diversify monoculture and create employment opportunities.

References
Patel, R.K., Pandey, S.D., Purbey, S.K., Kumar, A., Srivastava, K. and NathV. (2016).Litchi based cropping in pond: A unique technology for improving productivity of low lying area. Biotech Article. http:/www.biotecharticles.com.

Patel, R.K., Pandey, S.D., Srivastava, K. Kumar, A. Purbey, S.K. and Nath, V. 2016. Integrated approach of litchi based cropping in pond based production system. In: Souvenir of National Conference on Rural Livelihood Security through Innovative Agri-entrepreneurship (12-13 March, 2016), Patna. pp 114.

Patel, R.K., Srivastava, K. and Kumar, A. 2015.Fitting litchi in farming system of different topography and conditions.In: Compendium of lectures on Good Agricultural Practices in Litchi, Model Training Course, 23-30 November, 2015 (Eds. Nath, V., Pandey, S.D. and Purbey, S.K.) Published by ICAR- NRC on Litchi, Muzaffarpur. pp 76-83.



About Author / Additional Info:
Scientist fruit science working on litchi based cropping system, organic farming of litchi, and plant propagation and nursery management of fruits.