Now farmers can protect their crops when rains fail them

The Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) and the Tamil Nadu Agricultural College have come up with a solution for farmers struggling to save their crops between rare spells of rain,

Developed by the Microbiology Department of the Tamil Nadu Agriculture Department, the Pink Pigmented Facultative Methylo (PPFM) bacterium is a spray that will keep the crops from dying owing to drought-like conditions. “The spray will strengthen the crop from succumbing to the effects of drought caused by water scarcity,” said M. Sundar, Professor of Agricultural Microbiology from the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.

“The PPFM bacterium spray must be used only once in 15 days as opposed to the commonly-used potassium chloride which protects the crop for not more than a week,” he added.

A demonstration on how the spray must be used was carried out in a few acres of paddy at Vinayagapuram near Melur on Friday. A.J.A. Jeyasingh Gnanadurai, Joint Director of Agriculture, Madurai district, and officials from the Agriculture Department and the university clarified queries raised by farmers on usage and availability of the spray.

Melur had over 12,500 hectares of land that face the threat of crop failure owing to inadequate rain, said officials and added that they recorded 50 per cent deficit in rainfall during the southwest monsoon. Muthu Kumar, a farmer from Narasingampatti, said that with no access to water, the spray was a probable solution to the drought-like situation.

“At Rs. 300 per litre plus added labour costs, using the spray twice a month on the paddy crop on my seven acres of land will not cost much. But only after we try it on our fields can we see how effective it will be given the harsh climatic conditions,” he said.

Nearly 30 farmers attended the demonstration. “For one acre of land, 200 ml of the PPFM spray has to be mixed with 200 litres of water and sprayed manually over the crop since the solution protects the crop from the leaves and not from the roots,” explained Dr. Sundar. Owing to the distinct smell of the spray, it doubled up as a natural pesticide to keep pests and insects away from the crop, he added.

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