Ganesh Kale, from the Yesgaon village in Aurangabad, is one of the first smallholder key farmers to get involved in the knowledge transfer activities in India. He has 4.5 acres of land with seasonal irrigation from an open well, which his family are fully dependent on for their income. He previously grew field crops such as cotton, ginger, wheat, arhar (pigeon pea), groundnut and mung bean.

With technical support from East-West Seed, Ganesh diversified to grow bitter gourd and sponge gourd crops on half an acre of his land. Our technical team have been on hand to provide regular support throughout the crop cycle. He learned how to place his crops on raised beds, as well as how to use plastic mulch, drip irrigation, and trellis netting on his farm. Ganesh also used integrated pest management practices including pheromone traps, sticky papers, and other cultural control measures. None of these innovations were familiar to him before.

The results were quickly demonstrated by the healthy condition of the crops. Ganesh was surprised to witness fewer diseases blighting his crops even though he used less pesticide than he normally would. Mostly, he is proud that these new techniques have resulted in healthy crops that will boost his income. Although just starting out, he hopes to learn even more about improved farming techniques and to further increase his quality of life.