Knowledge of sustainable practices of water-conservation was also low, which meant farmers knew no alternative cropping options. Mono-cropping came with a set of problems that got aggravated with sustained practice:
- Incidence of root diseases in crops
- Faster depletion of water reserves and soil-nutrients when solely depending on water-thirsty traditional crops.
With technical inputs from experts via RDT, farmers were made aware of mixed cropping, and its optimising effect on the water reserves, and they were introduced to the idea of trying out horticulture instead of traditional water-intensive cropping. In parallel, farmers were also sensitised about restoring the water table and a knowledge base was laid for practicing water conservation as well as optimal cropping.
For dry lands, crops like bajra, jowar, millets, horse gram, pulses, and maize were introduced. Whereas for wet land or irrigated lands, commercial crops like vegetables and flowers were grown.
One of the key challenges faced when mixed cropping was suggested in wet/irrigated lands via fruit plantation, was that most fruit plants would take approximately 5 years before there would be any yields. So in order to reassure and insulate people from lengthy harvest cycles, they were advised to plant three different crops – vegetables, fruits and traditional crops, all on the same piece of land.