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Title: Bio-mulching for ginger crop management:Traditional ecological knowledge led adaptation under rainfed agroecosystems
Authors: Singh, Awani K
Singh, Ranjay K
Singh, AK
Singh, VK
Rawat, SS
Mehta, KS
Kumar, A
Gupta, Manoj K
Thakur, Shailja
Keywords: TEK led adaptations;Bio-mulching;Mid hills;Rain-fed;Agroecosystems;Ginger;Crop diseases;Resource farmers;Livelihood security
Issue Date: Jan-2014
Publisher: NISCAIR-CSIR, India
IPC Code: A61K 36/00, A01
Abstract: Sustainability of organic farming depends on the organic inputs. As such, other than a few fertilizers and plant protection measures, there have been scanty resources available to farmers for continuing organic farming. Some farmers in India have evolved traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) based location specific practices to sustain their agroecosystems and continue organic farming. In this paper, an attempt has been made to explore TEK-led adaptations in bio-mulching to grow ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) as a crop and to test empirically the best practices including identifying the best leaves and local bio-mulching materials applied by farmers. The role of TEK-led adaptive practices for controlling moisture loss, temperature regulation, reduced disease incidence, quality yield and economic aspects of ginger production are examined. The study was conducted in nine randomly selected villages of Champawat district, Uttrakhand (Western Himalaya). Data was collected using open ended questions in association with participatory rural appraisal (PRA) tools. Results indicated that farmers have developed major TEK led adaptive practices for organic ginger production after seeding in the field, namely using the leaves of oak (Quercus leucotrichophora A. Camus.), chir pine needles (Pinus roxburghii Sarg.), local mixed grasses (e.g., Chrysopogon fulvus (Spreng.) Chiov, [Cymbopogon distans (Nees ex Steud.) W. Watson], [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R.Br. syn. Setaria glauca (L.) P. Beauv], [Heteropogon contortus (L.) P.Beauv. ex Roem. & Schult]. shrubs [Chromolaena odorata (L.) R.M.King & H.Rob.] syn. Eupatorium odoratum L.) and animal wastage. This last consists of mixed oak, bhimal (Grewia optiva J.R. Drumm ex Burret), kharik (Celtis australis L.), timala (Ficus auriculata Lour.syn. Ficus roxburghii Stud.)  leaves, grasses, paddy and finger millet straw and cow dung and urine. Women were observed to be using more of these TEK led adaptive practices than men. Empirical field studies carried out on TEK led adaptive practices under rain-fed agro ecosystems of farmers revealed significant results including longer rhizome length (up to 6.50 cm), higher number of rhizomes per plant (35.30), higher ginger yield (211.50 q/ha), higher B:C (benefit to cost) ratio (1:2.18) and lower percentage of disease (bacterial wilt; soft rot and leaf spot) incidence (17.5%) in oak leaf mulch. Soil moisture conservation (44.75%) and optimum soil temperature (24.80 0C) were recorded as significantly better under the oak leaves for using bio-mulching as compared to all other TEK led bio-mulching practices for organic ginger production. The oak leaves used as bio-mulch in organic ginger increased yield by 43% and net returns by 61% as compared to no mulching (control). It is concluded that, under temperate climate and rain-fed agro ecosystems, TEK led adaptive practices by farmers in growing ginger are economically feasible, energy efficient and ecologically sustainable, through the addition of soil organic carbon. However, there is need for scientific and institutional promotion in participatory modes for such practices, with a provision for integrating these practices with science and policy on climate adaptation.
Page(s): 111-122
ISSN: 0975-1068 (Online); 0972-5938 (Print)
Appears in Collections:IJTK Vol.13(1) [January 2014]

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