Archive for the ‘AFP’ Category


AFP zeba trial

March 21, 2010

Zeba cabbage trial is completed. For this ZEBA trial plot we have given around 16 lit of water to each plant by drip irrigation system with a interval of 7-8 days which is almost 50 to 60 %  less than normal watering rate of this crop. Even though the plots with zeba applied, have not shown any symptoms of shrinkage or yield reduction as com-pair to plots without ZEBA.After harvesting of cabbage, wt of fruit and volume is noted. Statistical calculations are going-on but by visual basis the trail of Zeba+organic component is seems to be most significant one.

Now we have also started the next trial with oilseed (Ground-nut/peanut) crop for summer season.

Zeba trial plot


AFP Update

December 29, 2009

Cabbage trials under way.

A Skype call was held with Paul Osterlund of the AFP on 18th December, 2009. Outcome: 30 pounds of Zeba to be shipped to Vigyan Ashram for further trials in the dry season. Shipment is expected around mid-January.


AFP: Open-field trial begins

December 2, 2009

Open-field trials for Zeba have begun at VA’s Pabal campus. Ranajeet Shanbag (Programme Officer – Agriculture) has selected Cabbage (type: Centra) for conducting this trial. Planting was done on the 25th of November, 2009.

Transplanting was done on flat bed by giving azotobacter treatment to all seedlings. Vemicompost is also added to all plots as a basal dose @ 100 Kg /plot . All plots will be watered with drip irrigation system as per crop requirement. Further organic doses for Zeba+ Organic plot will be given as per requirements.

Some details:

  1. Plot size: 132 sq ft (11 ft * 12 ft)
  2. Randomized Block Design, 4 replications
  3. Spacing: 45*45 cm
  4. Plant Population: 49 plants/ plot (132 sq ft)
  5. Recontaminated Fertilizer Dose: 80:80:80 (N:P:K


Abundance Farming Project at Vigyan Ashram

November 18, 2009

The Abundance Farming Project ( is a social venture based in Portland, Oregon, USA. In the words of founder Paul Osterlund, the AFP seeks to “Offset water scarcity and increase food crop yields and quality for rain-fed farmers in developing economies”.

To help marginal farmers achieve this, the AFP seeks to spread the use of Zeba, a unique starch-based, superabsorbent soil additive. Zeba superabsorbent granules mix with the soil and work by absorbing 500 times their mass in water, so when it rains they store water, then between rains, slowly release 95% of the water. Continuing for a year and more, each hydration cycle stores then releases water and soluble nutrients as the plant needs it.  The granules ultimately biodegrade, feeding micro-organisms in the soil.  With basic rain-fed farming, this unique starch-based product offers a way for food crops to survive intermittnet rain fall and increase crop yields, so subsistence farmers facing water scarcity grow their way out of poverty.

Vigyan Ashram is working with the AFP to evaluate Zeba in Indian conditions. We recieved a 15-pound shipment of Zeba from the AFP in July, and decided to launch a small trial on capsicum (bell pepper) for the duration of the monsoon season. Open Field trials on cereals and fodder crops were to be conducted after the monsoon season ended. Unfortunately, we have had to call off the capsicum trial after one of the greenhouses with the control plots suffered severe damage due to stormy weather.

Erratic weather has accompanied our association with AFP from the beginning, with a poor monsoon, and major unseasonal storms. Crops across the province (Maharashtra) have suffered as a result. Products like Zeba, therefore, show great promise in India’s vast, yet underserved agri-business market.

Our field trials are due to begin soon, and progress will be updated regularly.