To encourage direct sowing of paddy to tide over adverse climatic conditions

The Norwegian Centre for Agriculture & Environment has selected Guntur district for yet another project related to direct sowing of paddy to tide over water scarcity problems.

The new project called, ‘CLIMAADAPT,’ is the second project after the district has successfully implemented ‘CLIMARICE,’ a project assisted by the Norwegian Centre. The Regional Agricultural Research Station, Lam has provided the technical assistance to the farmers.

The projects promote direct sowing of paddy to tide over the adverse weather conditions, including deficit rainfall, scarce water releases and also the shortage of manual labour.

A preparatory meeting for farmers and agricultural scientists is being held at RARS, Lam on July 11.

Joint Director of Agriculture, A. Sridhar said direct sowing of paddy has been gaining acceptance in the district and claimed that over 1 lakh acres had been brought under cultivation during last year.

The process involves, sowing of paddy in the field through seed-cum-fertiliser drill fitted to a tractor.

In contrast, conventional transplantation farming practices begin with setting up a nursery bed and after a 45-day period, the plants are transplanted in the field.

The direct sowing operation starts with the onset of monsoon. Farmers usually prepare the land during summer season. Green manure is used to improve the soil carbon content. The land is ploughed and levelling is carried just before the onset of monsoon.

Once the field is ready, farmers collect seeds and fill up the boxes in the seed-cum-fertiliser drill fitted to a tractor. The seeds are funneled to the soil through ductile pipes fitted to the drill. Even as the tractor ploughs the field, the sowing is done simultaneously. The operation is quick and it just takes about 90 minutes to sow seeds in an acre.

The Department of Agriculture and RARS, Lam have chosen Jonnalagadda village for the project.

Scientists say that the direct sowing of paddy is a boon to lands where water is delivered late to the tail end areas of canals. The technology is also helping in reduction of 20-40 per cent of water usage when compared to transplantation technology.