Frontline Demonstrations (FLDs)
ICAR-Indian Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology (IIAB) has been implementing the Front Line Demonstration (FLD) program since 2016-17. Under this program, IIAB has demonstrated a cafeteria of rice and mustard technologies in 142 hectares of land of 228 farmers from different districts of Jharkhand. Out of the 28 lakh hectares cultivable land in Jharkhand, around 18 lakh hectares is used for rice cultivation, which is often impacted by the delay in the onset or early exit of monsoon in the state. The most viable option to reduce this risk would be to adopt drought-tolerant varieties. IIAB has conclusively demonstrated the performance of the rice variety IR64-drt-1 under such situations. In many instances, this variety had out-yielded the popular varieties by 10-15%, mainly when the monsoon receded early. Since protein-energy malnutrition is prevalent among the tribal children of Jharkhand, IIAB has also conducted a significant number of FLDs of two newly released high-protein rice varieties, namely CR Dhan-310 and CR Dhan-311. Nearly 2.0 lakh hectares of area under rice cultivation in Jharkhand remains fallow during the rabi season. IIAB has successfully demonstrated the scope of cultivation of high-yielding Indian Mustard varieties, namely NRCHB-101, and DRMR-150-35 in the rice fallows. A continuous motivation by the IIAB scientists through a series of farmer scientists interaction meetings, training, field days, etc. has lead to general acceptance and interest in these varieties by the farmers. The FLD program of IIAB has also been successful in convincing the farmers about the effectiveness of scientific crop management practices. The FLDs have revealed that there is tremendous scope to bridge the yield gap in rice in the rainfed upland of Jharkhand by large scale adoption of drought-tolerant high yielding varieties. Moreover, there is a vast potential of extending the cultivation of short/medium duration Indian Mustard varieties in rice fallows, which would enhance not only the cropping intensity but also the crop diversity in the state.