Seed Paddy Comes Out Trumps!
THIS PROJECT HAS BEEN FULLY FUNDED.
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UEnd has a policy that requires project partners to fundraise for their projects elsewhere in addition to being featured on the UEnd website. Therefore, projects may become fully funded before they reach the funding amount required on our website. This is what has happened when a project is marked as completed but appears to require more funding. We do this because having the project start quickly is what we consider to be ideal. Updates from the field, however, may be viewed on this page following the funding completion of this project.
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Kiribamunagama Grama Niladhari Division with 240 families have among them only 65 acres of paddy under the Kiribamunugama tank. Not everyone owns paddy land there. Most of these families receive income support under the official Poverty Alleviation Programme, Samurdhi.
This village still remains mostly poor due to high production costs and unstable prices for their paddy crops. Their Community Based Organization (CBO) of 20 families Swashakthi Prajamula Sanvidanaya in collaboration with the local NGO Praja Kriyakarithwa Padanama have after several rounds of consultation opted for a surer way out of their debilitating poverty.
At present they have to spend Rs.25,000 for cultivating one acre of paddy. Their average yield is 65 bushels (1 bushel = 22 Kgs.) per acre in the Maha season (November – March) and even less for the Yala season, when the water in their village irrigation tank does not permit the full 65 acres to be cultivated due to lower rainfall and lower availability of water in the tank in Yala. At current prices they can earn for a season on an average an income in the region of Rs.32,000, for which their cost of production is around Rs.25,000 i.e. a net income of only Rs.7,000.
If this CBO of 20 farming families goes in for production of seed paddy they can get a minimum of Rs.65,000 per season for an acre / per farmer, while their costs remain at around Rs.25,000, thereby getting a return of Rs.40,000 on their expenditure, which net income is about 5-6 times what it used to be. This is for a period of four months.
The seed paddy has to be cultivated under the supervision of the local Agricultural Instructor and the Agrarian Services Department officials. If you can meet their stringent quality standard the Agriculture Department certifies and buys such seed under their Certification Scheme at about Rs.45 per kilogram.
At present these farmers more often than not end up being in debt to the village usurious money lender and therefore they propose that the CBO / NGO be given funds to commence a Revolving Loan Fund of Rs.375,000 (Rs.25,000 × 15 families) where the monies will go back to a revolving pool at the end of the season managed by theCBO which will go on providing this support to the farmers at a lower rate of interest. They have to pay the village money lender an interest rate of sometimes going up to 25 to 30% per season of 4 months. The CBO will charge around 10% or less. The farmer stands to lose even more when they are most often forced to sell their paddy to the local money lender cum trader (mudalali) at much lower than the market prices. The Revolving Loan Fund of Rs.375,000 will be able to support the balance 5 families from the CBO during the succeeding year (2010/2011) to expand seed paddy production to another 5 acres.
Update from the field: September 2012
The prevailing long drought in the Kurunegala district with no rains in sight yet has discouraged any new participants in the seed paddy programme. The same forty nine participants who have already participated in the programme however will continue working on their seed paddy production while three farmers will be extending it to another 4 acres in the coming Maha season. They have already started the preliminaries with assistance from the local Department of Agrarian Services. They will all be now using their own seed paddy from the previous crop. Experience sharing is also currently taking place among these seed paddy farmers thereby enriching their knowledge and skills for seed paddy production. Those who have never received any start-up capital so far will be given a loan of Rs.15,000 per farmer.
The success achieved by just one of the forty nine who have participated in the seed paddy multiplication project hailing from Dekaduwala in the Kurunegala district is documented below in some detail for your information.
Success Story for 1 of the 49 participants:
Resident of Maeliya, Dekaduwala and member of the NGO, Sri Lanka Kriyakarithwa Sanwardena Padanama of Polpithigama. Mr. V.R. Vimal aged 36 is a paddy farmer from the Kurunegala district who has participated in the seed paddy production project funded by Uend and supported by SLCDF. He used to cultivate paddy previously for sale as consumption paddy. Then he managed to get a yield of 100 – 110 bushels per acre which he used to sell at Rs.660 per bushel in the open market. Last year he came to know about the seed paddy production project initiated by the NGO in 2010 at Aragama and had the opportunity of been trained at the local Divisional Agrarian Services Centre in the production of certified seed paddy. These new participants in the programme were gifted the seed paddy they needed to start production by the NGO. Vimal used this seed paddy for cultivating one acre of irrigated paddy land under the Hakwatuna Irrigation Scheme. He was also given Rs.15,000 as a loan from the original Revolving Fund now a going concern with repayments coming in from previous successful farmers in the programme.
Vimal realized a harvest of 110 bushels from his one acre seed paddy farm during Yala 2012 (the lean season). From this harvest of paddy he was able to sell 80 bushels certified by the Department of Agriculture as quality seed paddy at a price of Rs.1430 per bushel realizing a total revenue of over Rs.114,000. A part of the balance seed paddy he has exchanged with other farmers needing good quality seed paddy. Out of the seed paddy produced by one farmer a total of over 60 farmers were able to satisfy their need for quality seed paddy for the coming season.
Now with the proceeds of the sales effected Vimal was able to repay the loan he obtained in full along with the attendant interest. The profit he earned from the new exercise amounted to over Rs.90,000 as compared with Rs.46,000 he earned the previous season when the produce was sold as consumption paddy. These profits have been utilized by him for educating his two young children and for improving their health status.
The seed paddy farmer intends cultivating another acre or two during the next Maha season thereby extending his seed paddy farm by investing part of the profits he earned, for leasing additional paddy land in the vicinity, under irrigated conditions.
This is the story of just one of the farmers who have joined the growing group of successful seed paddy producers in the Polpithigama Divisional Secretary’s Division from the administrative district of Kurunegala in Sri Lanka.
Update from the field: June 2012
The two successful groups of seed paddy producers have managed to sell their production of 1570 bushels at Rs.65 per kg. (Rs.1430 per bushel) as planned, realizing a total of Rs.2,256,100 from sales to be shared among 20 farmers, with each farmer’s profit being around Rs.75,000 from that season.
Though of poorer quality, the three groups who faced problems of irrigation water deficits managed to sell a part of their seed paddy at Rs.60 per kg due to serious problems in seed paddy supplies in the neighbouring villages. Through these sales these farmers realized a total of Rs.745,000.
The total seed paddy sold, i.e. 2090 bushels, will be used next Maha season (the major season – September / October – Feb / March 2012 / 2013) for around 800 acres.
Due to currently prevailing drought conditions in the area, all five groups could not launch into the planned seed paddy production in Yala (the lean season). They will however continue with the seed paddy production projects in the coming Maha season when the next cycle of rains is expected. All five groups will get into seed production projects in the coming Maha season when the next cycle of rains is expected. All of these five groups have gotten into seed production utilizing the Rs.150,000 provided by us as start up capital to the first group of 10 farmers, and have been revolved over the last two seasons from the original loans repaid by them.
Update from the field: March 2012
Of the five groups in seed paddy production, three groups had problems with timely rains and therefore had to suffer a severe shortfall in production, as anticipated in the previous progress report. Their total production of 960 bushels of paddy would not qualify as certified seed paddy and therefore had to be sold at much lower prices of Rs.20 per kg. as consumption paddy, after keeping a stock for domestic consumption.
The two successful groups in seed paddy production were fortunate to get a harvest of 1570 bushels, which can be sold at Rs.65 a kilogram in the near future thereby realizing a total revenue of Rs.2.0 million.
As a direct result of this increasing interest in seed paddy production despite the temporary setback they have faced during the last season, there are another two groups of 11 participating farmers who hope to take to seed paddy production in the coming Yala season (lean season) commencing in April 2012.
Update from the field: November 2011
The two groups in seed paddy production so far have ben able to sell 945 bushels as seed paddy at Rs. 1300 per bushel (ie. Rs. 60-65 per kg), realizing a total income of Rs. 1.2 million. There is an increasing demand for quality seed paddy at present.
Altogether, 5 groups have gone in for seed paddy production, for a total of 50 farmers in 5 locations during the current Maha season (October 2011-February 2012). Of these, two groups face problems of a possible shortfall in supply of adequate water All of these farmers hope that the Maha rains will come, even if belatedly. Timely rain is a factor in determining the quality and quantity of seed paddy produced and any decline in quality may naturally affect the saleability of the seed paddy produced.
One of these groups is keen on producing seed paddy of traditional varieties with higher nutritional and even medicinal value for the coming season. We hope to support them in this endeavour.
Update from the field: September 2011
From the seed paddy harvested by the first group, over 150 farmers around their neighbourhood were able to cultivate their paddy lands during the last Yala season (the lean season).
The first group of seed paddy farmers along with another five participants went in for seed paddy production during the Yala season. Due to a decline in rainfall this season, their crop was adversely affected and a total of only 420 bushels were harvested. But they hope to continue with production during the next season as well.
The second group which went in for seed paddy production were more fortunate during the season that was just completed, as their minor irrigation tank provided water supply and therefore harvested a crop of 735 bushels among 10 participants. One of those farmers was able to harvest 120 bushels per acre with conservation farming techniques. The market price of seed paddy continues to be Rs.65 per kg.
During the coming Maha season (the major season / October – February) another 3 groups have been selected for expanding the seed paddy production project. They have all been given the necessary advice and training by the local agriculture officers of the Government, and will receive registration as seed paddy producers, which assures them a steady market and income.
It is this replication going on in the area that will bring about exponential benefits to agriculture in the coming years.
Update from the field: June 2011
The first group of seed paddy farmers have been able to sell around 430 bushels of seed paddy at Rs. 60 – 65 per kg. in and around their community (1 bushel = 22 kg) and exchanged 61 bushels realizing a total of Rs.560,000 for the group plus the value of paddy received in exchange. They have repaid all their loans to the NGO, which they borrowed for the first round of production. This price they managed to get for seed paddy was around 125% of the market price of consumption paddy, which they would have realized if the paddy was sold prior to the seed paddy production project.
The first group has by now gone in for another round of seed paddy production, now with improved capacity for production, with the knowledge, skills and experience gained by them from the first round. This time they have utilized their own financial resources, with savings from the improved income they secured from the first round.
The NGO has mobilized the second group of 10 cultivators drawn from hamlets around Ibbagamuwa and Hiriyala and has given a RLF loan of Rs.15,000 to each farmer. They have also received the appropriate training from officials of the Department of Agriculture. They are cultivating their paddy fields for seed paddy drawing water from the Hakwatuna irrigation tank an assured source. This group as usual will receive technical advice and supervision from officials of the Department of Agriculture.
Their crop is now around 1 ½ to 2 months and these farmers expect a harvest of 80 bushels per acre. The process of replication has now been firmly established and seed paddy production in the coming seasons will benefit more and more farmers, in the neighbouring villages thereby strengthening their capacity for securing higher productivity.
Update from the field: April 2011
The group of 10 farmers have already harvested the seed paddy in February, 2011. The total harvest was 610 bushels of seed paddy, each family getting between 58 – 65 bushels. They have stored the seed paddy in their homes. They are waiting to sell the seed paddy during the beginning of the Yala Season, which usually begins April. This year, however, the rains have delayed and they are anxiously waiting to sell the seed paddy for a higher price. Only after the sales can they earn an income and able to make the loan repayment. Each family will get around a total of Rs.81,000 from the sale of seed paddy getting a price of around Rs.80 per kg. This program contributes to increase food security through ripple effects by enhancing the number of farmer families in seed paddy production and the extent of cultivable paddy lands.
The other group of 10 farmers is eagerly waiting for their turn of the loan, which will be possible only after the first group repays theirs. Currently there is a big demand for seed paddy in Sri Lanka. Most of the agricultural districts were affected by the 2011 January floods and there is an acute shortage of seed paddy. Several requests have been made by the NGOs in Eastern Province of Sri Lanka for seed paddy. Presently, Kurunegala and Batticaloa District Consortia of NGOs are negotiating regarding the sale of seed paddy.
Update from the field: November 2010
With the Maha season rains (major season) a group of 10 farmers have started work on this project. They have already received one round of training from State Agricultural Extension officers of the Department of Agriculture and have with the rains broadcast selected paddy seed, all 3-1/2 month varieties, so that the seed paddy produced will be available for the shorter Yala season paddy cultivation.
These farmers have started to fertilize these paddy lands with organic fertilizer and other nutrients on the instructions of the Agricultural Officers. They have also weeded out excess plants and weeds again strictly monitored by the officers of the Agriculture Development.
These farmers should be able to harvest the seed paddy somewhere around end of January in 2011 and sell it at a very attractive price of Rs.65 per kg. The going price for paddy sold for consumption purposes is highly volatile and seesaws between Rs.18 to Rs.28 per kg.
Since the funds already raised is grossly insufficient SLCDF has gone onto supporting this highly worthwhile project with its own funds though with great difficulty. The project had to get started with the ongoing rains as if you miss this season it will take another 5-6 months to get going.
Other farmer groups are anxiously watching the progress of this project and are awaiting further contributions of funds by those interested in this type of path breaking activity.
These seed paddy farmers are also actively considering going in for cultivation of traditional varieties of rice, which have tested medicinal properties, while fetching attractive prices, during the succeeding seasons.