Smallholders India - Kalahandi Project

The challenge - food security

Syngenta Foundation India (SFI) selected Kalahandi to develop agriculture and partnered with Kalahandi Association for Rural Reconstruction and Total Awareness Benefit of Youth Action (KARRTABYA). KARRTABYA is a non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to developing the capacity of the people in the region through schools, training, and health programs. 

Kalahandi is primarily known as an agricultural district: 87% of the workforce derive their livelihood from agriculture. Known for recurrent drought, Kalahandi came into national focus in the 1980s when famine was a cause of many deaths. Since then, many development efforts have been undertaken, the most important being the region's irrigation resource development. Despite these developments, more than 70% of the people still remain below the poverty line.


SFI worked with KARRTABYA to transfer technology to develop rice, the principal crop of the district, and to introduce vegetables as a cash crop.

Technological Options Chosen by Kalahandi Centre for their Absorption at Farmers' Level

 Technological Options
1.Hybrid/HYV paddy cultivation
2.Systematic Rice Intensification (SRI) method of paddy cultivation
3.Hybrid vegetable cultivation (kharif (autumn) and rabi (spring))
4.Crop protection techniques
5.Low cost nursery raising technique


In Kalahandi, technological improvements were introduced in both paddy (general as well as hybrid) and all vegetable crops which were in general cultivation before the introduction of the project. As a result of the interventions made in the project, there have been improvements in terms of area of varieties, production, and productivity of most of these crops.


The project interventions in vegetable crops showed substantial positive impact due to farmers enthusiastically adopting hybrid vegetables: tomato production increased by 220%, brinjal by 311%, chilli by 380%, cauliflower by 110%, and cabbage by 331%. Productivity increases varied from 20% (chilli) to as high as 100% (tomato): a major achievement.

In rice, productivity increased by 25% from the pre-project status due to farmers adopting technology advice, and the average yield per acre of hybrid paddy varieties showed improvement over the high yielding varieties in the order of 6%.


Average gross income received by the farmers as a result of the interventions grew by 15% for high-yielding paddy and by 27% for hybrid rice with SRI techniques.

In some vegetables the increase was even more substantial. For example, average gross income per acre for tomato doubled to INR 51,200; cabbage and brinjal increased by 85% and 67% per acre, respectively, while cauliflower rose by 42% per acre. Chilli also showed a growth of 20%.