Wednesday, January 15, 2014

IRRI work in South Asia showcased in agriculture fair

IRRI’s work in the Cauvery Delta and other parts of India, especially those conducted under the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) and the Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) projects, were the focus of an exhibit featured in an agriculture fair held in Aduthurai, Tamil Nadu.

The Cauvery Delta is Tamil Nadu’s rice bowl, but the area suffers from regular shortages of irrigation water and of farm labor. Recently, poorly drained areas of the delta that have heavy clay soil have also started to sustain damage from flash floods that follow heavy monsoon downpour.

Water- and labor-saving technologies such as laser land-leveling, dry-seeded rice, and mechanical transplanting into non-puddled fields, as well as flood-prone varieties Sahbhagi Dhan and Swarna-Sub1, were therefore the highlights of the IRRI exhibit. Information on these technologies was presented through posters, factsheets and videos.

A multi-crop seed and fertilizer drill, a piece of machinery that has already made inroads across Tamil Nadu through CSISA’s activities, was also featured in the exhibit so that farmers can examine it hands-on.

The Nutrient Manager for Rice for Tamil Nadu, now in an advanced evaluation stage for three districts in the Cauvery Delta, was also introduced to farmers, as was the IRRI postharvest kit, which was met with great enthusiasm especially among service providers.

During the fair, Arun Kumar, a farmer from Thiruvarur District who has been associated with CSISA since 2010, received the Best Farmer Award.

The fair was attended by about 3,000 farmers, agricultural scientists, extension officers, students, service providers, and others who are interested in rice cultivation and agriculture.

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