Monday, September 28, 2015

Dry seeded rice makes arid areas in Tamil Nadu more productive

Dry direct seeding of rice requires less labor, saves water, and the crop tends to mature faster than transplanted crops. The technology has helped transform 250 hectares of uncultivable land in the Sivagangai district of Tamil Nadu into productive rice areas.

The Rural Transformation Program of the Reliance Foundation and the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) have brought about this change. Sivagangai and its adjoining Ramanathapuram district are two of the most arid areas in Tamil Nadu. With almost 73% of the population depending on agriculture, paddy is a staple crop grown only during the dry season (rabi), mainly under rainfed conditions, with the seeds broadcasted before the rains. The Reliance Foundation has been working in Sivagangai on transforming uncultivable lands (geographically about 50% of the area) to productive agricultural areas.

Dry seeding of rice, a resource conserving technology, was introduced in Tamil Nadu through the CSISA project. As the project extended its activities into Sivagangai, CSISA linked with the Reliance Foundation to convert dry tracts of lands from broadcasted rice to dry direct seeded using seed drill. As a result, farmers’ groups have purchased 11 seed drills and are successfully renting out the equipment to other farmers.  

CSISA works for the sustainable change among rural landscapes in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. It is led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center with the International Food Policy Research Institute, the International Livestock Research Institute, and IRRI. CSISA is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and the United States Agency for International Development.

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