Swarna-Sub1, a flood-tolerant rice variety, and conservation agriculture-based technologies, such as mechanical rice transplanters, are helping farmers in Odisha solve problems caused by flooding and labor shortage. This is the gist of the feedback from farmers as they shared their experiences in adopting these improved technologies during the visit of IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler, scientists from the IRRI-India Office, and senior officials from Nepal to Puri District in Odisha, India on 20 November.
According to the farmers, Swarna-Sub1 allowed them to harvest more than 5 tons per hectare even under the adverse weather conditions of the current cropping season. They also emphasized the critical role of service providers of mechanical rice transplanters. These machines help farmers plant rice on time and reduce the cost of rice cultivation.
These technologies reached the farmers in Odisha through the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) project and the Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) project.
The projects made strategic efforts to demonstrate stress-tolerant rice varieties and associated technology options in Puri District so the farmers could observe the results themselves.
The mechanical rice transplanter is one of the conservation agriculture-based technologies under CSISA. Other technologies include direct-seeded rice (DSR) and laser land leveling. On the other hand, STRASA also develops and distributes drought- and salinity-tolerant rice varieties in addition to flood-tolerant rice.
During the visit, Zeigler and the farmers discussed labor displacement because of mechanization as well as alternative arrangements. Crop sharing, weed management, nutrient management, irrigation facilities, subsidies, business modules, and marketing of quality produce were among other topics raised by the farmers.