Thursday, December 8, 2016

Odisha farmers switching to stress-tolerant rice varieties and mechanization

By N.C. Banik, P. Anand, and A. Kumar

ODISHA, India, 22 November—In the coastal region of this state, BINA dhan-11, a short duration and flood-tolerant rice variety, could be a good option for farmers resowing or transplanting late in the season in areas where floods have damaged crops planted earlier. This was a recommendation of Dr. Narayan Chandra Banik, an agronomist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)-India.

Banik and other crop specialists and agriculture officials were interacting with around 65 farmers, village agriculture workers, NGO partners, and service providers in Puri District (photo). In the field demonstrations, the participants were able to observe the benefits of growing stress-tolerant rice varieties (STRVs) and using sustainable intensification technologies. 

In addition to BINA dhan-11, other varieties showcased were flood-tolerant CR 1009-Sub1 and Swarna-Sub1 and the drought-tolerant DRR-42 planted in farmers’ fields in Danogahir, Achhuasahi, and Srikanthapur during the 2016 kharif season using direct-seeding drills and mechanical transplanters. Also highlighted were best practices such as optimal seed rate and planting time, fertilizer scheduling, and integrated weed management.  

Across different sites, farmers were impressed with the STRVs because of the vigorous crop stands, resistance to lodging, and higher yields compared with the region's traditional varieties. Some farmers were initially apprehensive about using STRVs and direct seeding—these being totally new interventions in the area. However, they were eventually convinced to adopt the technologies for next year’s cropping season as they realized the added assurance of higher yields even with heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding. 

The participating farmers were also impressed with the direct-seeding drill and mechanical transplanters. The immediate benefits of these machines include significant savings in labor, energy, cost of cultivation, and reduced drudgery. 

New service providers created by the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) and farmers who opted to use mechanical transplanting said they could transplant rice seedlings in time at a reduced cost. They also obtained higher yields than from manual transplanting. 

The main concern of stakeholders about direct seeding is weed management and limited knowledge on the proper use of herbicides. “Integrated weed management with newly recommended pre- and post-emergence herbicides and manual and mechanical weeding could be an effective option for controlling weed in direct seeded rice,” explained Dr. Ashok Kumar, IRRI coordinator of the  CSISA Odisha hub. “Training of product dealers and service providers on herbicides could also be helpful.”

While the majority of participants opined that the large-scale adoption of the technology was limited by lack of awareness and availability of the equipment, agriculture officials emphasized nursery enterprise development could enable a wider dissemination of mechanical transplanters.  Service providers can avail of the government’s subsidy scheme for purchasing trays for rice mat nurseries and provide services for using nursery and paddy transplanting machines. Current trained service providers can also target selected villages to increase awareness of mechanical transplanters, which in turn will increase their enterprise.

The traveling seminars and interactive meetings were organized by CSISA in collaboration with the Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) project coordinated by IRRI and the state’s Department of Agriculture.  Similar efforts to demonstrate and out-scale these technologies are being conducted in Khurda, Cuttack, and Jagatsinghapur in Puri District.

Learn more about IRRI ( or follow us on social media and networks (all links down the right column).

No comments:

Post a Comment