More professionalism in farming

SKDRDP provides higher priority for developing agriculture as it is the main occupation for villagers. All the programmes for developing agriculture come under Agriculture division. It has specialized organization structure inside SKDRDP to better implement these programmes. The agriculture and related programmes are generally geared towards head of the family. The agriculture programs facilitate farmers in 3 aspects.

  • Knowledge and Capacity Buildingvia Training Programs.
  • Financial Supportvia Linkage to the bank (erstwhile Pragathinidhi), Motivational subsidy.
  • Social supportvia Pragathi Bandhu Groups (PBG), Farmers Clubs/Federations.

Organising the Community

SKDRDP’s formula for prosperity involves organizing the community into viable groups, conducting continuous capacity building, arranging the linkages, ensuring the continuity in group activity and whenever required provide them with additional support like marketing.

Pragathi Bandhu Groups

Developed by SKDRDP, "Pragathi Bandhu" is a unique model in which 5-8 farmer members organize themselves to form Self-help Groups that center around the farm development activities through labor sharing. Such groups organize and empower small and marginal farmers and laborers through the transfer of governance to village level. By promoting compulsory labor sharing one day in a week for performing individual and community tasks, each group member works for the other members of the same group for one day in a week. This has helped thousands of small farmers to complete their important farm works.

Women Self Help Groups

Started in the year 1993, SKDRDP had been organizing 10-20 women from the vulnerable sections of the society to form Self Help Groups. The philosophy behind Women Self Help Group centered around empowering the women member which inturn leads to the development of their families. This makes them self confident and one of the decision taking members of the family. Added to this, the group dynamics, certain practices of the group, the social empowerment trainings conducted for the group member would permanently change the status of the woman in the family and in the society. As a result of the women SHG movement the women could improve their livelihood, take up new livelihood activities and support to the income of the family.

25-30 groups organize themselves into a PBG/SHG Federation and all the members of the federation conduct review meeting once in a quarter for enabling smooth running of the groups and development of member families. Sub-committee with 12 members consisting of the office bearers of the federations, members of  documentation committee, Field Supervisor and Sevaprathinidhi is formed in the federation to ensure the credit requirement of the members/groups and make recommendations for loans.

A five year farm plan and annual plan/credit plan prepared by a member of a PBG/SHG in consultation with his/her group, the Field Supervisor and the Sevaprathinidhi provides the much-needed help to his/her family. Through such collective action, the community can implement development activities.  As planned in the credit plan, these groups also provide micro-credit assistance to their members primarily for farming activities, non-farm/livelihood activities, creation of infrastructure and other needs.


Young people Joint Liability Groups

To support the unemployed/ underemployed youth in the villages, SKDRDP has started promoting Joint Liability Groups consisting exclusively of young men and women. NABARD has formulated a scheme for such groups and has sought the support of the Grameen Banks for linking such groups with bank credit. Special higher provisions are made for availing credit.

Special Features:

  • Consisting of five to eight young people in the neighborhood as members.
  • Undergo the training and capacity building for making them eligible to get linked with the bank.
  • They prepare business plans for taking up micro enterprises.
  • They undergo skill training with the neighborhood training institutes.
  • Borrow money for setting up micro enterprises.
  • Weekly meetings and weekly repayment.

Krishi Mela

Kissan Mela is a major annual event and is a platform for farmers, specialists and agriculture scientists from different parts of the state to share and exchange ideas. It is a forum to acquire skills, technology and updates on the latest developments in the field of agriculture. Beside farmers, manufacturers of agricultural equipments, fertilizers, pesticides, seed and seedling dealers, nurseries, banks and financial institutions and government departments participate in this mega event. The Mela inspires confidence among the farmers and provides rural artisans with their own space to display their skills and sell their products.

Krishimela are annual events and they attract a large footfalls. Hence Seminars are conducted on various subjects relevant to the agricultural community. The topics included are water and soil conservation, significance of mixed cropping, women on path to success, role of Self Help Groups in the development of dry land agriculture, microfinance programs. interviews with administrators and political leaders are also done. To promote agriculture top notch farmers are felicitated in these functions.

Dignitaries from various departments were present at the Mela as subject matter specialists who could shed light on various topics. The crowd-puller is the exhibition cum bazaar, which brought people together to shop and to exchange information. Videos on health and sanitation, nutrition and rural development were shown continuously. Folk artists have an opportunity to exhibit their talents and their handicrafts at the Mela. Cultural programs showcasing yakshagana and dances are organized in the evenings. The highlight of the Mela is the cattle show, which had more than 400 entries in the past. Various breeds of cattle were exhibited and the finest were honored with an award too in the past events. There are around 400 stalls on average in the mela and it normally witnesses close to 300,000 visitors.

Dairying & Animal Husbandry

Dairying is a farming practice of breeding and raising livestock. Many farmers are of the opinion that animal husbandry is not necessarily profitable as farmers look for direct benefits such as milk and meat and ignore indirect benefits like manure and gobar gas.

SKDRDP conducts regular awareness camps, trainings and demonstrations on animal husbandry activities to educate farmers on the full range of products that animal husbandry can be used for. SKDRDP creates awareness and supports to purchase cows, to construct low cost sheds, compost and vermicompost units and gobar gas plants. The organization also introduces modern technologies and exotic cow breeds and high yielding fodder grass varieties in order to increase the milk yield and income of farmers. SKDRDP supports the marketing of milk by developing infrastructure in KMF dairies.

Apart from dairying, SKDRDP also motivates and supports farmers to take up other animal husbandry activities such as poultry, sheep rearing, goat rearing, piggery etc. which form the part of integrated farming and add to the farmer income.


Yanthra-SRI, mechanized paddy cultivation system

Paddy is a major food crop grown in Karnataka and major portion of farmers depend on it for their livelihood. But, the area under paddy is depleting gradually day by day because of factors such as cost- income ratio, shortage of water and labour, attraction towards commercial crops etc. It is very must to convert the paddy cultivation into farmer friendly and a profitable venture.

As a solution for the above non-promising factors, SKDRDP came out with a revolutionary method of paddy cultivation named Yanthra-SRI which is a blending of advanced cultivation practices and mechanistion. It is proved that the cost of cultivation is reduced and yield level is increased in this model by mechanizing major portion of activities and timely operations.

Objectives :

  • To reduce the dependence on labour and animals by replacing with machineries.
  • To carry out timely cultivation practices.
  • To reduce the cost of cultivation.
  • To increase the yield level and income.

Machineries/equipments are used  for green manuring (Tractor mounted disc harrow), land preparation (Tractor/Tiller  mounted cultivator), nursery preparation (Trays), transplanting (Transplanter), weeding (Weeders), harvesting (Reaper, Combined harvester) and threshing (Thresher).

More focus is given on practices such as green manuring, land preparation, nursery preparation( selection of seeds, seed treatment, raising seedlings in trays), transplanting, weeding, nutrients management, pest and disease management, harvesting.

SKDRDP supports the farmers by creating awareness, transfer of technology, supplying raised seedlings, providing implements and machineries, extending financial assistance etc.

Impact :

  • 30-35% reduction in cost of cultivation over conventional method.
  • Around 25% additional grain yield over conventional method.
  • 70-80% additional income over conventional method.

Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative

Eventhough Sugarcane is major cashcrop yielding higher income, most of farmer's are discouraged to cultivate sugarcane due to very less production, productivity and availability of ground water. India is second largest producer of sugarcane and sugar. Sugarcane is water intensive crop mainly grown in irrigated areas. Conventional practice consists of mostly direct planting of setts in the main field, with less regular spacing between clumps of plants. This leaves many fields fallow, causing poverty among farmers.

With an objective to increase the production and to save the water in the sugarcane growing belts, SKDRDP is implementing Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative. The piloting of it was done at Belgaum district. The farmers are encouraged to practice more spacing (5' x 2'), drip irrigation, intercrops to reach the objective.


Indian agriculture is undergoing a gradual shift from dependence on human and animal power to mechanical power because of increasing cost for upkeeping animals and growing scarcity of human labour. Further, use of machineries has a direct impact on the productivity of crops apart from reducing the drudgery and facilitating timely farming operations. Thus, there is a strong need for taking up farm mechanization. So, SKDRDP and Department of Agriculture, Govt. of Karnataka established 164 Yantradhara - Custom Hire Service Centers(CHSC) at Hobli level in 25 districts of Karnataka with an objective to assist small and marginal farmers and to provide agriculture  machineries and implements at their door step in fair rental price.

The special features of Yantradhara are:

  • Availability of modern agriculture implements and farm machineries.
  • Shelving implements and farm machineries of worth Rs. 85 lakh in each center.
  • Experienced drivers and operators for the machineries.
  • Availability of timely service.
  • Advance booking facility.

The objective of the program:

  • To provide machineries at the farm gate at fair rental prices.
  • To enhance production, productivity of crops and income, profit level of farmers.
  • To mitigate problem of labour.
  • To provide the services of High Tech Machineries to small and marginal farmers.
  • To carry out timely farming activities.

Kamadhenu Goshala

In association with the government of Karnataka, this unique programme has been initiated to conserve the indigenous cattle breeds, to develop genetic material for breeding and promoting the indigenous breeds. Apart from taking care of over 150 cattles, the activities such as plantation of fodder trees, watershed activities, cultivation of fodder crops, maize, installation of gobar gas plant, organic manure production unit have been undertaken here. This unit is used to train the farmers in dairying and organic farming. These centers have maintained rare breeds like malnad gidda bulls and cows, besides certain other breeds.

Harvester Bank 

In the context of shortage of labour and increase in cost of cultivation, harvesting has become a great challenge to the farmers now a days. As an answer, mechanization in harvesting justifies it. To cope up this SKDRDP found a solution to extend to the farmers by establishing two harvester banks, the centers where combined harvesters are shelved for farmers’ use in fair rental price. These centers focus at the requirement of the small and marginal farmers who neither afford of their own machineries nor hire these in time. Each center gives the service to the farmers with 20 combined harvesters. These harvesters can be engaged in almost all field crops, grams, oilseed crops.

Green Energy Program

SKDRDP has been engaged in popularizing the usage of alternative energy systems amongst the rural clients and providing easy financial access to acquire these systems through micro-credits. It had assisted the clients in accessing the quality supplier and contractors to install these systems so that finance borrowed is properly utilized. SKDRDP outsources the supply of the systems to the manufacturers/distributors, while personally handling the capacity building and offering the financial products. The customers are also supported with follow up service from the supplier. SKDRDP is promoting biogas plants, solar home lighting system, solar water heaters, solar livelihood units, eco-friendly stoves and hydro electrical units in the rural area.

SKDRDP encourages the use of renewable indigenously-available energy sources for lighting and fuel requirements in underserved remote villages. These include solar energy, cow dung, and mini-streams. This decreases the adverse impact of conventional power generation sources upon the environment while increasing the provision of electricity to the vast rural areas.

SKDRDP finances the installation of solar home lighting systems, etc. These programs are conducted in a sustainable manner by motivating the stakeholder to make the necessary investments for installation of the unit. The private sector provides both the technology and the material support. The stakeholders are also encouraged to apply for government subsidies wherever available. Besides, SKDRDP also gives motivational subsidy to meet a part of the cost of gobar gas plants.

Training is usually arranged to create awareness in villagers on the sources of renewable energy. Thereafter SKDRDP identifies interested beneficiaries and follows up for installation of the units.

Agriculture Extension

SKDRDP brings in science and technology to help farmers in improving productivity and yield. The organization works together with local government line departments and agriculture research institutes for transfer of technology to SHG members.

Each project office is provided with exclusive services of a agriculture expert to guide the farmers and channelise the new technologies and agro practices that expand their capabilities. For instance, field level workers are continuously trained in simple cropping techniques for regenerative and sustainable farming.

Experts are invited to create awareness to groups of 40 to 50 farmers on mechanization, advanced and farmer-frindly farm practices, government schemes etc. Such discussions focus on the existing local problems faced by farmers. Progressive farmers and other eminent think tanks are also invited for training programs and demonstrations to share their experience and motivate these farmer members.

SKDRDP also motivates farmers by taking them on study tours to showcase what other progressive farmers have achieved. This may also include visits to research stations within or outside the district. Study tours may be synchronized with Kissan Mela. Such tours expose farmers to the possibilities of technology adoption and replication in their own farms.

Other agriculture extension programs include introducing high yielding varieties of crops, encouraging organic farming, liaising between the farmers and research centers, encouraging native inventions and conserving the environment.

Barren Land Cultivation

As a result of loss of interest and migration of farming community, cultivable lands are left uncultivated or barren. In coordination with those land owners, SHG federations, local organizations, various line departments like agriculture, horticulture and forest, SKDRDP motivates and encourages the cultivation of these lands and assist these deserving farmers in getting seed materials and other facilities from the line departments.

In coastal area most of such lands are brought under paddy crop. Un-irrigable dry lands like hilly areas are cultivated with rubber and cashew crops. Special attention is given in these farms to adapt different methods of soil and water conservation practices such as terracing and bunding that could make the soil arable.


Farm Development

In line with the five year farm plan, SKDRDP advocates individual farm development planning annually, which sets targets that provide the direction for the development. Plans are drawn with the active involvement of the beneficiary, experts and the project staff. The implementation of the plan takes place in phases.

SKDRDP aims to promote cultivation in barren wastelands and to optimize the use of available lands through the adoption of advanced methods of farming, integrated farming system etc. As such, the five year plans focus on crop cultivation and take into account other factors that could effect the development of the land, for instance, suitability of the land, water and soil conservation structures, fencing, irrigation sources and methods. The plans also map out and allocate budget for the attainment of personal goals within individual families, such as off-farm livelihood activities, housing and other infrastructure facilities, electrification of the house, education, marriage and festivities. These plans are recorded into a book to be reviewed by the stakeholders and SKDRDP staff.

At every stage, the Sevaprathinidhis, Field Supervisors, Project Officers and technical staff inspect and ensure the proper implementation of the plan.

The sevaprathinidhis, the field level functionaries, are the first line of help who visit the members regularly, guide them and makes arrangements for their needs to implement the plan into action. The supervisors also inspects the rate of progress and motivate the members for proper implementation of the plan. The project officers and the technical staff monitor the activities through the supervisors and through field visits. They also check financial statements for accuracy of the expenses for a particular activity.

Watershed Development

SKDRDP initiated Watershed Development Programs in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi Districts owing to the growing importance of conservation of water. This program stresses the conservation and proper management of water resources, optimum usage of rainwater and education on watershed methodology.

Awareness programs are conducted to educate farmers on rain water harvesting and water management activities. Several models that are being implemented in the field include percolation pits, agri ponds and borewell recharge activities.

The major watershed activities conducted include the construction of soak pits, contour bounding, recharging of stone quarries, terracing, improvement of madagas (perennial), the building of vented dams, the avoidance of soil corrosion, afforestation, and the utilization of ground water.


SKDRDP promotes the development of source of irrigation like construction of wells, farm ponds as well as the installation of methods of irrigation such as pumpsets, drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation etc. And also,  SKDRDP assists financially for all these development activities. The Pragathi Bandhus share labor for digging and repairing the wells. This long-term investment helps to optimize the usage of scarce water resources.


Conservation of environment is a most important today’s need. SKDRDP has been taken up environment conservation initiatives, predominantly implemented in coordination with self-help groups Federations and local organisations. Under such initiatives, awareness programs, mass plantings of saplings at schools, forests, private and community lands are taken up. Farmers are motivated to plant the seedlings on farm borders, bunds etc. in order to produce vegetation and organic matter for their land and to avoid water and soil erosion.

Rain Water Harvesting

One of the earliest plans prepared by the pragathi bandhu is to dig open well and acquire water pumping systems and supply system. Normally the wells are dug by the group members. Pragathinidhi loans are availed to acquire the irrigation equipments. To meet the water requirements irrigation facilities are taken up by the stakeholders which includes the pump sets, sprinklers and aid to dig wells as this is the only water source in many places. Crops such as arecanut, coconut, banana and vegetables are cultivated in irrigated areas through organic methods.

Livelihood and Enterprise Development Programme (LEDP) :

SKDRDP has been giving need based skill development trainings to SHG members either of its own or in tie up with other organizations so that SHG members can take up/improve the income generating activities/enterprises and become self reliant. In a tie up with NABARD, SKDRDP has been implementing LEDP and trainings are conducted on activities in both farm sector and non-farm sector such as Cloth bag making, Fashion designing, Mechanization in  Paddy, Embroidry, Artificial jewellary, Areca plates making, Commercial garments, Readymade garments, Repairing farm machineries, Repairing Green energy units etc.

Objectives :

  • To arrange trainings on new skills for members in the livelihood activities.
  • To create opportunity to get continuous income.
  • To provide value addition and marketing facility.

Millets Project and Organic Certification Programme :

Since lots of awareness and demand have been created for organic products at consumer end now a days, SKDRDP thinks that this opportunity has to be transferred to the farmers. Therefore, organising small and marginal millet farmers, SKDRDP motivates and supports them to take up organic farming in millet crops.

In the scenario where millets are getting more importance, SKDRDP identified the farmers growing millets in conventional method and formed farmer groups in Koppal, Savadatti, Shiggaon, Davanagere, Chiknayakanahalli, K.R.Pet and Hosadurga taluks and are registered in District Co-operative Societies Registrar under Karnataka Societies Registration Act ( KSR Act ), 1960.

Started in 2017-18, SKDRDP has motivated the millet farmers organized under this project to form Organic Farmers Societies. SKDRDP provided technical and financial assistance to take up dairying and other animal husbandry activities and motivated the farmers to produce and to use compost, vermicompost, liquid organic fertilizers and plant protection materials etc. produced  in their own farm. In the process of creation of awareness about organic farming in farmers, to produce under organic method and to get Organic Group Certification, SKDRDP sought technical support from Aditi Organic Certifications Pvt. Ltd.  Bangalore. SKDRDP has also been providing onward processing and marketing facilities for the millets produced by them.

Objectives of the project :

  • Priority to dairying based farming.
  • Use of organic manures and plant protection materials.
  • Crop rotation and inter-cropping.
  • Conservation and use of natural resources such as soil and water.
  • Recycling and use of agriculture by-products.
  • Conservation of conventional varieties and conventional breeds.
  • Formation of Organic Farmers Societies.
  • Organic group certification.
  • Procurement, Processing and Marketing of organic products.

Millets Processing unit, Dharwad

As SKDRDP motivated and supported the farmers to switch on for millet crops in some of their land usually in the low rain falling plains across Karnataka, the production level has been increased. To ensure the market for their millets produced, SKDRDP has established a Millet processing unit in Dharwad in 2018 and started procuring and processing, of these millets. As a part of this activity SKDRDP has been engaged in value addition of millets by producing the wide range of products such as Processed grains, Cuts of millets, Soji of millets, Flours of Millets, Bakery products.

The processing unit has been engaged in processing of Sorghum(Jola), Pearl millet(Sajje), Finger millet(Ragi), Foxtail millet(Navane), Barnyard millet(Oodalu), Kodo millet(Haraka), Little millet(Saame), Proso millet(Baragu) and is marketing the processed millets by packing on customers requirement.

In this millets bakery unit, millets based products like bread, cookies, bun, rusk etc. are produced. Based on the demand, 1200-1600 units of different products have been produced on daily basis.

Marketing of processed grains and value added bakery products produced is taken care by Sri Dharmasthala Siri Gramodyoga Samsthe.

Mookambika Paddy Growers Federation :

Application of improved technology and practices, quality inputs in paddy can yield better crop. Good market followed by higher price for paddy produced also fetch higher income to the farmers and motivate them to continue.

Keeping all above factors in mind, SKDRDP promoted farmers growing  Paddy in SRI method in Kunadapura Taluk to form farmers clubs which inturn leads to form a farmers’ federation, namely,  Mookambika Paddy Growers Federation. Registered under Karnataka Society Act., it has membership of more than 1000 farmers. NABARD has extended its support to provide facilities such as technical assistance, financial assistance, storage, value addition and marketing. The federation provides quality inputs, procures paddy produced from its members, process it and finds market for both raw paddy as well as rice.

Siddavana Nursery

Quality saplings are very much needed to produce good crops. In order to supply the disease free superior quality sapling materials in time at lower prices and to give trainings to the farming community in nursery technology, the organization maintains a nursery in around 3.5 acre area. Based on the requirement and the geographical condition, saplings of the Commercial crops such as Arecanut, Coconut, Cashew, Pepper(local/grafted), Ornamental crops, Flower crops, Fruit crops, Forest plants, drumstick plants etc. are produced and are supplied mostly in the neighboring districts. Apart from that, Organic garden mix, Flower pots, Vegetable seeds, Agriculture implements  and mother plants with fresh fruits and vegetables intact are also sold in the outlet run in the nursery.