action research



Meghalaya is one of the major producers of oranges (Citrus reticulate or Khasi Mandarin) in the country. However, over the past decade, there has been a drastic decline in the productivity of oranges throughout the State which have negatively impacted the orange growers in the state particularly those who earn their livelihood from orange plantation. This has become a major problem in the State. In order to address this crisis encountered by the farmers, the Centre has initiated Action Research adopting Energy Pillars Technology (EPT) for Citrus rejuvenation in which hands on demonstrations and trainings were conducted in different District covering 21 villages from 12 Blocks. About 315 farmers have been capacitated on the technology.


Azolla is a tiny fresh water fern commonly found in ponds, ditches and rice fields. It has been used as a biofertilizer for rice in all major rice growing countries including India, Thailand, Korea, Brazil and West Africa. The nitrogen fixing activity is accomplished by the symbiotic relationship between fern and BGA, Anabaena azollae. It can fix 30-40 Kg N/ha/yr and increase crop yield up to 10-15%. In addition to N, the decomposed Azolla also provides K, P, Zn and Fe to the crops. It is also used as feed for poultry and fishes. Azolla is not well known to the rice growers in Meghalaya although it was found in many paddy fields across the State.
To many farmers, Azolla is considered as destructive weeds due to overcrowded condition which suppresses the growth of rice crop when grown as dual cropping. A proper awareness on application and utilisation method is required to promote the use of Azolla as a replacement for conventional fertilization in order to promote organic farming in the State.

On farm production of Azolla: Samples of Azolla were collected from paddy fields located at Nongjrong, EKH District and Liarkhla, Ri Bhoi District. They were multiplied and maintained at BRDC Experimental Farm, Laitmynsaw for generation of mother cultures. About 500 Kg of Azolla has been produced and distributed to different farmers across the State for trials. The final result is expected after harvest which will take place during October and November.

Effect of Azolla on yield of rice in Nongjrong



Without Azolla

Azolla + PSB + Trichoderma


Name of farmer

Shri. B. Marboh



Plot size

0.055 ha

0.07 ha

0.05 ha


Seed treatment



Treated with 5% PSB and Trichoderma



Azolla were applied as soil incorporation.
2 months before transplanting, the azolla were allowed to multiply in the field and incorporated with the soil during ploughing. 


Azolla were applied as soil incorporation.

PSB and Trichoderma were used as seed treatment



2.9 tonnes/ha

1.6 tonnes/ha

3.2 tonnes/ha



Mawlyngbna under Mawsynram Block, East Khasi Hills District, is a village in which about 95% of the population derived their livelihood from farming activities which includes both agriculture and livestock. The community still practice organic farming in which the people have continued to practise this old age traditions. Intercropping system is very common in the village in which different crops are growing together in the same plot leaving no space vacant. The village experienced a subtropical warm climate with heavy rainfall stretching from April to September. Because of the heavy showers of rain, the ideal season for growing vegetables in the village is autumn to winter.  As the climatic condition of Mawlyngbna is similar to that of Laitkynsew village which is the main producer of indigenous organic tomato, the trials on the cultivation of this tomato was undertaken at Mawlyngbna. To control powdery mildew, biopesticides such as Trichoderma viridi was used as seed treatment and foliar spray.


The use of bio-inoculants (bio-fertilizers & bio-pesticides) and bio-control agents are gaining importance as supplementary source of pest management tools in agriculture, forestry, horticulture and in public health programmes. Increased emphasis is being given by the Government Agencies, Non-government agencies to promote the use of bio-inoculants and bio-pesticides. In organic farming use of bio-control agent and bio-pesticides are emerging as most viable pest management strategy. Excessive use of chemical pesticide also exposes farmers to serious health risks and has negative consequences for the environment, and sometimes for crop yields. Often less than one percent of chemical pesticides applied actually reaches a target pest organism; the rest contaminates the air, soil and water.

On-Lab Production of Bio-Inoculants

The Centre has taken up on-Lab production of Bio control agents, Bio-pesticide and Bio-fertilisers since 2014 as part of the sustainable green technologies programme to promote and adopt Green Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to the Farming communities. The following Bio-pesticides, Bio-fertilisers and Bio control agents are being produced and carried out in the Laboratory.

  • Bio-Pesticides
  • Trichoderma viride: Trichoderma
  • The Centre has produced 80 kg of Trichoderma viride On-Lab, out of which 70 kg has been used for various field trials in different districts of Meghalaya
  • Culturing and inoculation of Trichoderma is carried on in the laboratory for further multiplication



Biofertilizers are low cost, renewable sources of plant nutrients which supplement chemical fertilizers. These are selected strains of beneficial soil microorganisms cultured in the laboratory and packed in a suitable carrier. They can be used either for seed treatment or soil application. The following types of biofertilizers are being produced in the laboratory:

  • Phosphate solubilising biofertilizers (PSB) eg. Bacillus and Pseudomonas
  • Plant growth promoting biofertilizers eg. Pseudomonas fluorescens
  • Nitrogen fixing biofertilizers eg. Rhizobium, Azospirillum
  • Phosphate mobilizing biofertilizer eg. Mycorrhiza
  • Phosphate Solubilizing Bacteria (PSB) are a group of beneficial bacteria capable of hydrolysing organic and inorganic phosphorus from insoluble compounds. There are various types of soil microbes which can solubilize the fixed form of P and make it available to plants. Such organisms are called Phosphate solubilizing bacteria (PSB). PSB strains could grow well at the temperature ranged from 28ºC to 35ºC. This bacteria in which Pseudomonas and Bacillus are the paramount species, can convert insoluble phosphate into soluble forms and usable by the plant. The use of phosphate solubilizing bacteria as inoculants simultaneously increases P uptake by the plant and crop yield.
  • Pseudomonas and Bacillus are two important genera of soil bacteria with promising activity of phosphate solubilisation. Their role in increasing the soil nutrient value is of utmost importance. Their application to crop fields has resulted in an increased yield of several crops.

Production of PSB                       

  • The Centre has produced 50 kg of PSB  (a consortium of Pseudomonas and Bacillus) on lab., out of which 45 kg has been used for various field trials in different districts of Meghalaya
  • Culturing and production of PSB is carried on in the laboratory for further multiplication and field application


iii. Nitrogen Fixing Biofertilizers:
iii (a). Azospirillum:  Azospirillum is a Gram-negative motile bacteria belonging to the order Rhodospirillales, associated with roots of monocots, including important crops, such as wheat, corn and rice. It is the associate symbiotic nitrogen fixer, aerobic free living making the atmospheric nitrogen available to various crops. This nitrogen-fixing bacterium when applied to the soil undergoes multiplication in billions and fixes atmospheric nitrogen in the soil.  
Actually, Azospirillum is the primary commercial phytostimulator inoculant for cereals worldwide. In the context of sustainable agriculture, plant inoculation with Azospirillum is a good alternative to reduce chemical inputs. Azospirillum can establish an associative symbiosis with cereals but unlike mutualistic symbiosis (such as rhizobia with leguminous plants), the association is not accompanied by the formation of new organs. 

  • The Centre has produced 6.5 kg of Azospirillum on lab., and field trials in different districts of Meghalaya are yet to be carried out
  • Culturing and inoculation of Azospirillum is carried on in the laboratory for further multiplication

iii (b) Rhizobium is a nitrogen fixing biofertilizer. Rhizobium sp. is the symbiotic nitrogen fixer which assimilates atmospheric nitrogen and fixes in the root nodule, formed in the roots of leguminous plants. These bacteria infect the roots of leguminous plants, leading to the formation of “lumps” or “nodules” where the nitrogen fixation takes place. The bacterium also produces enzymes (nitrogenase) that supply a constant source of reduced nitrogen to the host plant.

  • The Centre has produced 7.5 kg of Rhizobium on lab., and field trials in different districts of Meghalaya are yet to be carried out
  • Culturing and inoculation of Azospirillum is carried on in the laboratory for further multiplication
  • Mycorrhizal fungi as biofertilizer
  • Production of mycorrhiza was carried out and result will be obtained during the last week of October, 2016.


Bio-Control Agents

Biological control is the use of natural enemies (called biological control agents) to reduce populations of pests such as insects and weeds. Biological control can also be defined as the use of living organisms to depress the population of pest.

  • To control pests through the use of natural predators instead of using chemical pesticides.
  • To establish the economics and risk reduction potential of a bio-control/IPM (Integrated Pest Management).

The following are the two bio-control agents taken up for production by the centre:

  • Corcyra cephalonica

Corcyra cephalonica commonly called as rice meal moth or rice moth is a pest of stored foods, viz., cereals, pulses, dried fruits and spices.  Many of the natural enemies mass-bred in the laboratory for use in field against crop pests are dependent on either egg or larval stages of Corcyra due to the simple reason that it is easier and cheaper to produce natural enemies on different stages of Corcyra than on their original hosts. It has been proved to be one of the most efficient surrogate host for rearing a wide range of biological control agents. The important among them are egg parasitoids – Trichogramma spp.

Production of Corcyra cephalonica
At present, there are 60 basins use for Corcyra charging for further multiplication at BRDC. A total of 100 cc of eggs has been collected. 30 cc has been used for making Trichogramma cards.

  • Trichogramma

Trichogramma is one of 80 genera in the family Trichogrammatidae. Trichogramma are primary parasitoids eggs of Lepidoptera. It is important for plant protection because of its wide spread natural occurrence and its success as biological control agent by mass releasing. Since this parasitoid kills the pest in the egg stage itself before the pest could cause any damage to the crop and also that it is quite amenable to mass production in the laboratories, it has the distinction of being the highest produced and most utilized biological control agent in the world Trichogrammatidae includes the smallest of insects, ranging in size from 0.2 to 1.5 mm. Trichogramma chilonis and Trichogramma japonicum are the two species produced at our centre through Tricho cards to control pest (stem and fruit borer) found in paddy, maize, tomato, sugarcane and cotton. One Tricho card can target pests in an area of one hectare.
Tricho cards

  • The parasitisation of Trichogramma spp., in laboratory condition on one cc (16000 – 18000 eggs).
  • eggs of Corcyra cephalonica, which are uniformly spread and pasted on a card measuring 15 cm x 10 cm is called as Tricho card. The card has 12 demarcations (stamps). 0.5 cc of eggs is known to contain approximately About 12,000 Trichogramma adults emerge out from this card in 7-8 days after parasitisation.
  • To delay the emergence of Trichogramma, these cards can be stored in refrigerator at 5-10°C for 10-15 days.
  • On removing the cards to room temperature, the parasitoids emerge normally. Tricho cards have a shelf life of 2-3 days. However, these can be stored in a refrigerator for a period of 1 month without any spoilage.


On-field production of Trichoderma

 A one day training programme was conducted at Nonglwai village, Nongstoin Block, WKH district on 19th October, 2016.  A total of 15 farmers attended the training programme.




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