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Australian model to be replicated in paddy fields

G. Nagaraja
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RCP to be tried out in West Godavari to shore up yields

John Lacy, consultant of the International Rice Research Institute, interacting with farmers at Achanta in West Godavari district on Wednesday.– Photo: AVG Prasad
John Lacy, consultant of the International Rice Research Institute, interacting with farmers at Achanta in West Godavari district on Wednesday.– Photo: AVG Prasad

The Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS) at Maruteru in West Godavari district, an arm of Acharya N.G. Ranga Agriculture University, is preparing ground to replicate the Australian model of rice cultivation named Rice Check Programme (RCP) in the Godavari delta on a pilot basis.

As an initial step, the RARS is currently engaged in a three-day brainstorming session on replication of the model in the local context with John Lacy, the brain behind the RCP and consultant of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), as the key resource person.

The session, which commenced on Tuesday at the RARS and lasts till Thursday, is being attended by scientists from research and extension wings and the Krishi Vignana Kendras (KVKs) from the Godavari zone comprising East and West Godavari districts.

The scientists interacted with a small group of 60 farmers at Achanta on Wednesday.

They are scheduled to take up a similar programme at Yeletipadu under Iragavaram mandal on Thursday as part of cross-checking a set of eight checks (tools or procedures) developed at the technical session with the farmers at the field level for adopting the RCP.

Initially, the model is proposed to be adopted in West Godavari district from the next rabi with a key objective to shore up yields in paddy, says M. Bharatalakshmi, Associate Director of the RARS. The RCP helps in an increase of rice yields by 30 per cent in Australia by achieving nine out of 10 checks or tools such as certified seeds, tillage management, pest and disease management.

Ms. Bharatalakshmi told The Hindu that the three-day technical session had made a humble beginning towards developing eight checks relevant to the local conditions for implementing the RCP. The paddy cultivation with cost-effectiveness and yield stabilisation, the twin challenges faced by the growers in the Godavari delta, formed part of the set of eight checks, she added.

In course of an interaction at Achanta, the farmers favoured selection of seed and variety, land preparation, nursery management, nutrient management and plant protection against pests and diseases to be incorporated in the list of checks. Majority of them felt the nutrient management held the key to the yield potential.

The Australian farmers have been getting 12 tons of yield per hectare over 7.5 tons being received by their counterparts in the Godavari delta. Although yield was not a major worrying factor, the soaring cost of cultivation remained a cause for concern for the local farmers, Ms. Bharatalakshmi said.

Rice Check Programme to be tried out in West Godavari to shore up yield


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