A NABARD scheme has led to the revival of the nearly-extinct variety of paddy

A farmer of Marundhanthalai village near here has revived a paddy variety, garudan samba, which was on the verge of extinction. Adopting bio-cultivation practices and the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) technique, the farmer R. Ganesan raised the 160-day- crop under the Farm Innovation Promotion Fund scheme of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in September last year.

The crop was harvested at the ‘field day’ celebrations on Saturday when a whopping 3,150 kg of paddy an acre was realised.

“A special feature of this traditional variety, which was last raised about 15 years ago, is that it can withstand drought conditions and does not require much water. Further, the amount of hay yielded is also useful in the light of the non-availability of fodder. The hay realised today was 6.3 tonne an acre,” says S. Somasundaram, Assistant General Manager, NABARD.

NABARD had identified 30 such near-extinct varieties of paddy and was trying to revive it under the scheme in coordination with service organisations.

The garudan samba is the 24th variety to be restored and popularised.

The height of the ‘garudan samba’ also protects it from weeds and the farmers can save money on weedicides, he added.

Other varieties

The varieties which were earlier revived included ‘thooya malli’, ‘illuppai poo samba’, ‘manjal ponni’, ‘seeraga samba’, ‘kai virai samba’, ‘milagi’, ‘sembuli samba’, ‘maapillai samba’, ‘karunkuruvai’ ‘thanga samba’ ‘karuthukkar’, he added.

A. Adhappan, director of ROSE, a service organisation motivating farmers, said that paddy cultivators from neighbouring districts have undergone training and raised the conventional varieties.

The ‘garudan samba’ was raised about five decades ago across the district but had been given up altogether.

“The NABARD-funded project has brought about an overwhelming response from farmers who got free seeds and raised the crop. In return, they supplied twice the quantum of seeds,” he said.

G.S. Dhanapathy, a progressive farmer from Pudukottai, said that the crop has come as a boon to farmers who incurred huge loss due to poor irrigation facilities and failure of monsoon.

This article has been corrected for an editing error.

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