Journey of SDTT in SRI Programme
Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT) based at Mumbai, is one of the oldest, non-sectarian philanthropic organizations in India. It was established in 1932 by Sir Dorabji Tata with the prime purpose of encouraging learning and research in the country, of meeting costs of relief during crises and calamities and of carrying out worthwhile charitable activities. The Trust’s vision of constructive philanthropy has been sensitive to the fast-growing needs of a developing nation, while the work initiated by it holds contemporary relevance as it continues to support innovative enterprises in development. In addition to the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, there are a number of Allied Trusts which also focus on overall developmental issues.
The involvement of Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT) in SRI promotion dates back to 2006, when the methodology was piloted with a couple of partners under its existing livelihoods programme. The number of partners increased to five during 2007 with a coverage of 11,000 farmers. The appreciable success of the initial years and the encouraging studies of the report presented by eminent rice scientist Dr V. P. Singh prompted the Trust to start a full-fledged program on System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in 2008. This program was launched as part of the Trust’s strategy to address the issue of food security at household level in rainfed areas for small and marginal farmers. A budget of INR 10.94 crores was allocated for this dedicated programme on SRI. This started with coverage of eight States during 2008 which by the end of 2010 has reached to eleven states. Keeping in view the extent of expansion, during 2009, a SRI Secretariat was established by SDTT at Bhubaneswar for coordinating the SRI Programme activities with NGO partners, management of information system and taking up research activities. The program till the Rabi 2012 season now covers a total of 1,50,082 farmers across 47,391.16 acres through 127 partner organizations. Against an average area of coverage of 0.23 acres during 2008, the average area increased to 0.33 acres during 2011, despite water stress situations. Till date, the program has spread to 94 districts which is almost one sixth of the total districts of the country. Apart from extension activities, SDTT has concentrated upon on-farm research on SRI directly through partner organizations and collaborative research with State Agricultural Universities.
One of the major objectives of the Trust is oriented towards mainstreaming SRI in Government Programmes. There has been diverse response from different State Governments on the efforts of SDTT in SRI – some of which have been extremely encouraging. In Odisha for example, the SDTT-SRI Secretariat hosted by Livolink Foundation, Bhubaneswar, has collaborated with the State Government that has sanctioned INR 3 crores for promotion of SRI through SDTT partners. The programme has been taken up by ATMA in convergence with the State Plan/RKVY. The Trust has taken up an Evaluation Study of the SRI Programme during the year 2009-10, results of which have been upbeat. After positive feedback of the review conducted by three prominent scientists the Trust took the initiative to extend the SRI Programme to the Second Phase of implementation during the phase 2010-13. Early on in 2012, another review of the SDTT-SRI programme has been conducted that has presented positive and encouraging feedback on the initiative of the Trusts.