Tamilnadu: Erode does well in paddy production

Increased yield attributed to System of Rice Intensification method

ERODE: In the backdrop of the disturbing news that the country will import rice for the first time in two decades, there’s some positive news as well.

Erode, an agrarian district, has been faring pretty well in paddy production and consistently at that.

In the current year, the Agriculture Department has so far brought 33,500 ha under paddy cultivation.

This is further expected go up, as the Department is yet to take in to account the cultivation in later part of the second season ‘Samba’.

On the rise: Erode district has been consistently good at paddy cultivation, though the country faces a shortage of rice. – Photo: M. Govarthan

An officer says farmers will cultivate paddy with seepage waters from Lower Bhavani Project canal and Kalingarayan Canal.

There will second cultivation in Thadapalli-Arakankottai area as well.

Once the figures are available the area under paddy is expected to be more than last year’s 48,912 ha. In 2007-08, the Department helped farmers bring 38,359 ha under the crop.

Of the 33,500 ha this year, the Department has brought 15,480 ha under the System of Rice Intensification method of cultivation.

This technique, which calls for increased spacing among paddy saplings, results in increased yield.

Figures available with the Department suggest that the increase will be as much as 1,500 kg a hectare.

The officer says the Department will be able to achieve the target of 16,400 ha for SRI for the current year once the figures for the second season are also available.

In the current year the Department projects 9,700 kg a hectare under SRI, as against an average yield of 6,540 kg from traditional cultivation practice. The officer says the Department has over the years promoted paddy cultivation by implementing a variety of Central and State governments’ schemes.

Under the Agriculture Technology Management Agency scheme, the officer says, the Department provides financial assistance to farmers to set up SRI demonstration plots.

The Department gives Rs. 4,000 a farmer for setting up the plots and it has achieved the target of setting up 138 plots across the district.

Further under the Union Government’s Integrated Cereal Development Programme the Department has set up SRI cluster.

The Government provides a subsidy for Rs. 3,000 an acre for setting up SRI clusters, with a cluster comprising 25 acres. In Erode 700 such clusters have been set up, the officer says.

These are in addition to the support the Department gives paddy farmers by supplying quality seeds at a subsidy. The initiatives the Department has taken have put Erode in a better position in the State, as in its average paddy production is higher than the State’s.

From THE HINDU

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