Successful planting and care of improved varieties of fruit trees requires basic knowledge of plant needs, and many specific skills and inputs.
Training is provided in small groups with field demonstrations, across the project area, according to a detailed schedule. Training is also provided to some individuals and groups in grafting techniques. The trained people set up nurseries to meet the project’s need for saplings, and also meet demand from other farmers in the area, which grows as Wadi plots start yielding. Read a related case study.
Plot-owners are also given an annual and seasonal calendar of aftercare activities they have to undertake on their own. A `package of practices’ (PoP) is prepared in the local language for each fruit tree species and crops selected for promotion of improved agriculture practices. Instructional video films have also been produced.
Low-cost, micro-irrigation systems such as pot-drip irrigation are promoted, to minimise use of water. This is especially critical in summer months. Flood irrigation and broadcast method of sowing seeds for crops are discouraged.
Whenever required, qualified field staff address specific plant-related problems. At times, expertise of agriculture universities or research institutes has to be used to deal with unexpected challenges such as sudden disease or pest attack.
Integrated pest management, involving organic methods of pest control, along with use of safe (`green label’) chemical pesticides, is promoted.
Likewise, nutrient deficiencies in soil are tackled by using a combination of organic and chemical fertilisers. The entire plot is protected from stray animals and intruders by fencing.
Nominal wage support is provided to each plot-owning family, for planting and maintaining plants up to a period of five years. Families also get planting material and basic equipment like a spade, crowbar, pick axe and secateur. Sprayers and drums are provided to groups of families. Optimal packages of chemical and organic fertilisers and insecticides/fungicides are provided to each family every year for a period of five years.