It was good to see the fruits of labor related to the cooperation of NEICORD with a dozen communities in the Partharkhmah area just south of Guhawati. With NEICORD involvement, since 2009, dozens of farmers have been experimenting with the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and Sloping Agriculture Technology (SALT) in addition to another couple of hundred persons who have begun making small kitchen gardens. Practically all of the persons interviewed expressed satisfaction with their endeavors with intentions to continue as well as promote such approaches among their families and neighbors.
I was also intrigued/impressed with a number of their own farming approaches. One included stripping grains by hand from the stalks of rice in their hill fields (see video clip). I understand this is done mainly on extremely steep land, eliminating the need to cut, bundle, stack and thresh the crop in such precarious locations.
Another interesting rice system technique encountered there is the use of cattle to tread upon harvested rice to thresh crop (see video).
Similar to the West African zai holes, some of the Garo make similar holes filled with a mixture of soil and manure. Prijilla, the gardener, observes that vegetable crops planted on raised beds seem to grow a bit faster. However, if water is short, the raised beds dry out much more quickly. Therefore, the zai holes help extend soil moisture for dry season gardens.