Economic impact of front line demonstrations on wheat in the Semi-Arid tropics of western Maharashtra, India
Frontline demonstrations (FLDs,) on wheat were conducted by Agharkar Research Institute, Pune, during last five rabi seasons from 2012-13 to 2016-17 at farmer's fields of Pune and Satara district under wheat growing area of semi-arid tropics of western Maharashtra, India. Before conducting FLDs, a group meeting held every year in the selected village and specific skill training had imparted to the randomly selected farmers regarding adoption of different improved aspects of cultivation. FLDs comprised of improved wheat varieties viz., MACS 6222, MACS 6478, MACS 3125 (d) and MACS 2971(dic) for Peninsular Zone of India. About 50 ha of FLDs on improved wheat varieties were conducted with active participation of 50 farmers covered an average of 10 farmers and 10 ha per year. Two recent varieties, MACS 6222 and MACS 6478 had shown higher grain yield, ranging between 15 to 55 per cent more over local check and farmer practice than all other FLDs. Recommended packages and practices of wheat FLDs gave higher value of yield, net return and high benefit cost ratio as compared to local check over the years of study. The study has revealed that five years mean extension gap of 4.48 to 9.67 q/ha and technology gap ranging between 11.00 to 22.22 q/ha depending on the variety during the period of study. Net returns of Rs. 63042/ha was observed from improved practice than in the farmer's practice of Rs. 50108/ha and with benefit cost ratio of 3.07 and 2.79 respectively. On average basis, the incremental benefit cost ratio was found as 2.83. In frontline demonstrations, the yield potential of wheat has been enhanced largely due to the increase in the knowledge of farming community and adoption of improved production techniques by farmers.