National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) will popularise traditional paddy varieties among farmers by reintroducing age-old cultivation practices.

So far, NABARD has identified 18 traditional paddy varieties, including karuthakkar, karunkuruvai, maapillai samba, garudan samba, poongar, sivapapukarani, kuruvai kalanjiyam, illupai poo samba, kaivirai samba, neela samba, and sembuli samba.

The bank has imparted training to 150 farmers in raising some of these varieties in various parts of the district in the last three years.

Working in coordination with non-governmental organisation, NABARD has been motivating farmers to choose one variety from among the 18 species based on soil and irrigational facilities available in their fields.

Inaugurating the transplanting of garudan samba at Marudanthalai village near here on Thursday, Somasundaram, district development manager, NABARD, said that it has been planned to motivate about 500 farmers to take up traditional paddy cultivation in the next three years. Evangelist for eco-friendly farming practices G.Nammazhwar, who gave away the nurseries of the variety to farmers, underlined the need for developing agriculture through good practices. Bio-manures and bio-agents can enrich soil and prevent pest attacks, he said.

A demonstration on utilising panchakavya, a bio manure, and herbal insecticides was conducted. Several farmers interacted with Mr.Nammazhwar and got their doubts clarified.

Later, a number of agricultural labourers sowed garudan samba in the fields of Ganesan, a farmer.

A.Athappan, director of Rose, a non-governmental organisation which coordinated the programme, said that a number of farmers in and around Marudanthalai evinced interest in raising traditional varieties.

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