Friday, August 6, 2021

Farmers trained on direct-seeded rice technology to help tackle increasing water and labor shortage

More than 30 farmers from different villages in eastern Uttar Pradesh participated in an interactive training program on direct-seeded rice (DSR) to help them face the many challenges to sustainable rice production such as diminishing water resources and shortage of agriculture labor. 

Organized jointly by the Foundation for Advancement of Agriculture and Rural Development (FAARD) and the International Rice Research Institute-South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC) on 10 July 2021, an awareness program on Improved Production Practices in Dry-DSR was conducted under the Direct-Seeded Rice Consortium (DSRC) in Pashi Kalan Village in Sonbhadra District, Uttar Pradesh. 
DSR favors early crop establishment and early maturity, according to Pardeep Sagwal, an agronomist at ISARC who discussed mechanized DSR and its package of practices along with the opportunities and benefits from adopting them.  Dr. Sagwal added that DSR widens the possibilities for the timely sowing of succeeding rabi crops for rice-based cropping systems which lead to more profits, less methane gas emission, among other advantages.

Dr. Malay K. Bhowmick, also an agronomist at ISARC, emphasized the relevance of DSR in the current perspectives of global climate change and labor scarcity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the most serious threats to agriculture in the state is the increasing scarcity of water. In 2015, Uttar Pradesh was among the states that experienced severe water scarcity due to record-breaking summer temperatures and weakening monsoons, according to a 2020 report by The Council on Energy, Environment and Water. The water table in the eastern region of the state has also been declining. Another study predicted that the frequency of flash droughts will increase by 7-8 folds in India due to the simultaneous occurrence of extreme dry and hot periods during the monsoon season and greenhouse gas emissions.  

Meanwhile, stringent lockdown measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have seriously affected the agricultural workforce and jeopardized food security around the world.  In India, the pandemic has exacerbated the already declining number of people working in agriculture.

Prof. Panjab Singh, president of FAARD said that the adoption of DSR by farmers can help them to tackle the forthcoming challenges to sustainable rice production.  

The participating farmers expressed their interest in adopting innovative and profitable technologies for water- and labor-efficient rice production. They also greatly appreciated the joint endeavor of FAARD and ISARC but also expressed their interest in visiting the ISARC Field Laboratory for hands-on training in advanced DSR technologies.

DSRC is a public-private multi-stakeholder research for development platform convened by IRRI in 2017 to improve the environmental and socio-economic sustainability of rice production systems by developing and optimizing innovations, practices, and methodologies to facilitate wide-scale adoption of mechanized and precise DSR in Asia and Africa. The consortium also 
organizes farmers’ programs to facilitate wide-scale adoption of mechanized and precise DSR. 


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