Vijaykumar Naganala, project officer, Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP), said on Friday that SKDRDP was trying to popularise the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method of paddy cultivation among small farmers in Udupi district.

Mr. Naganala told presspersons here that only some big farmers adopted SRI method of cultivation. Now, efforts were being made by SKDRDP to popularise it among small farmers who owned even less than one acre of land.

The SRI method of cultivation required some equipment. Under the general method of paddy cultivation, the yield per acre was 20 quintals, but under SRI, it was 35. Loans ranging from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 60,000 at eight per cent interest rate were provided by SKDRDP to farmers who adopted SRI method. There had been 100 per cent loan recovery. Loans were repaid in six months, he said.

He said SKDRDP had successfully propagated SRI method of paddy cultivation in 10 districts of the State. Because of SKDRDP's efforts, 29,108 farmers in 10 districts were cultivating paddy through SRI method on 38,379 acres of land.

In Dakshina Kannada, 2,526 acres of land was under SRI cultivation, in Udupi 18,573, Uttara Kannada 2,755, Chikmagalur 1,033, Shimoga 6,198, Kodagu 526, Haveri 5,837, Dharwad 801, Tumkur 90, and Belgaum 40 acres, Mr. Naganala said. Director of the Udupi unit of SKDRDP Keshav Gowda was present.

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