Two scientists of Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University Research Station (ARS) here have developed two paddy seed varieties, MCM 100 and MCM 101, which can grow in saline soil. The 12-year research of the experts in developing these seed varieties has revived the hopes of farmers having saline soils.

In 2011, the Directorate of Rice Research, Hyderabad, tagged MCM-101, a rabi season seed, as the second best variety among the 33 paddy seed varieties developed by the other scientists in India, ARS Principal Scientist T. Anuradha told The Hindu. As a part of testing for the second consecutive year, the seed with 125-day duration (MCM-101 variety) was sown in five locations in Andhra Pradesh in saline fields.

“We noticed that the fine quality variety withstood the ‘blast’ disease and reported better quality yield than MTU-1010, a leading rabi seed variety in Andhra Pradesh”, said Ms. Anuradha. The kharif seed MCM-100 was tested in ten locations including West Godavari, Krishna and East Godavari, in 2012 kharif. When compared with the leading MTU kharif variety seed, the MCM-100 yield was five per cent higher.

“About 6,075 kg yield per hectare was recorded from this variety as against 5,850 kg for MTU variety. The average yield of our seed in all the ten locations was 5,539 kg as against 5,269 kg of MTU,” said Ms. Anuradha. The crop duration was 140-145 days.

“The response from the farmers, who are growing and have tested the mini kits of the seed, is the real certification for our work and a Himalayan achievement,” said scientist K. Nagendra Rao, another scientist in the research on ‘Development of Saline-Tolerant Rice Varieties for Coastal Andhra Pradesh.’

The MCM-100 and 101 seed varieties are exclusive seeds that were developed for saline soil, which is plentiful in the State and is not suitable for existing paddy varieties.

“The scientists aimed at developing seeds meant for saline soils, but these two varieties will also give yield much higher than present leading varieties – MTU 1061 and BPT 5201 – if farmers grow in normal soils,” claims the scientist duo.

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