Tribal areas are a priority zones for ZBNF implementation in Rythu Sadhikara Samstha. The tribal community is one of the most vulnerable and worst affected due to any shift in agricultural and climatic patterns. Through the RySS-ZBNF programme the intention is to ensure diversity in farming, ensure lesser cost of cultivation for the tribal farmers and nutritional security for their households. The tribal areas in East Godavari and Visakhapatnam have many clusters of cashew nuts farmers along with other NTFPs especially in Rampachodavarm mandal in East Godavari .
These cashew trees were being treated with pesticides and fertilisers, before every harvesting season in order to ensure a higher yield. Over the years it was been observed by the farmers that the cashew tree started losing it lustre and cashew yields per tree also reduced. The harmful effect of using chemicals on the trees started becoming more evident.
Due to the dedicated effort of the Community Resource Person and the ZBNF staff in the agriculture department the cashew farmers started applying ghanajeevamrutham along with spraying jeevamrutham. A periodic usage of these simple procedures itself has brought significant changes in the cashew trees and the yeilds thereafter.
The ZBNF cashew trees have started showing resistance to temperature fluctuations. The leaves of the trees are dark green in color as applying ghanajeevamrutha increases the availability of nitrogen to them. There is early flowering and more female flowers in inflorescence resulting into more number of fruits per inflorescence. The leaf width is more and they are more shiny. The tree has become more resistant to insects and pathogens and is more photo-tonic.
Last year the average cashew nut yield was 450 kgs/acre while this year the expected yield is around 650-800kgs/acre.
Such observations have brought the smile back on the faces of tribal farmers in the area. They are set to convert their entire mandal into ZBNF.