Akhilesh Kumar from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, did a three month pilot project on “Azolla as cattle feed” at Patna district of Bihar from 5th March to 5th June 2011.The project aims to study the technology transfer of this new agriculture technology at the ground level in order to support sustainable agriculture development in rural Bihar. He obtained the technology from Dr. Kamalasannan Pillai of Vivekananda Kendra. After a lot of initial technical hurdles Akhilesh succeeded in transplanting the technology to rural Bihar. In his own words "When I reached home from Kanyakumar and opened this bucket containing Azolla, it was a shock to me. The condition of azolla culture was very bad. More than 70 % of Azolla mother culture was damaged. I felt very unhappy but with patience I prepared one Azolla pond and inoculated it with mother culture. After three days there was some positive growth and I started having confidence. After 7-10 days again there was some fungal attack. One good thing is that I also inoculated some healthy Azolla cultures in a cement tub. In this tub condition was a little bit comparatively good. I never gave up hope."
Next desiring to get some healthy Azolla for further propagation, he went to the block veterinary officer and discussed about Azolla. He was directed to meet Patna veterinary collage for Azolla culture. Here he met Dr.Shahu, associate professor in livestock production management. He discovered that awareness about Azolla was very less. Then he got the contact of Dr.A.K.Jha a Research scientist at Sabaur Agriculture college who is also doing some research on Azolla. But he was busy with elections. Then again I got a lead. This time he had to go to Ranchi to get it. Then came the good news from my house. The Azolla beds he innoculated were flourishing.
Now he gained confidence and started looking for institutional support to propagate Azolla However there were government bureaucratic hurdles. Fortunately at that time former President APJ Abdul Kalam was visiting that area for a farmers' club programme. Though he could not meet Dr. Kalam, Akhilesh placed two buckets of Azolla on the way Kalam comes to the venue. Dr. Kalam stopped and said "Azolla! Great Work!".
That did the magic. Farmers started getting interested, Organizations started showing interest and even Hindustan newspaper (Hindi) reported it. Soon with organizations like BAIF offering support, Akhilesh suceesfully propagated the technology to farmers.