Ryots now getting 38 bags of paddy per acre

Paddy farmers in 32 villages of Madugula mandal in the district are trying a new cultivation technique using weeders to boost paddy yield. ‘Weeder' is being used to rotate periodically to destroy and pluck out weeds which spring up along with paddy and robs the fertility and richness of soil and decrease the paddy yield. The weeder has helped the farmers to grow tillers very strongly which blocked even strong winds.

National Agriculture Bank for Rural Development (NABARD) and Gramabhyudaya, an NGO, are engaged in promoting the cultivation of System of Rice Intensification (SRI) paddy concept in the Madugula mandal as a pilot project since 2010-11.

Ten kgs of zinc and green manure were mixed using an instrument called marker and weeders used for rotating the soil in depth. This boosts soil fertility and weeding out dead plant material which is used for preparation of organic manure at the compost yard. Azola is mixed in the organic manure for additional strength.

The paddy seeds at the age of nine to 12 days and the paddy transplants planted in a 25/25 cm diameter. Each farmer is given Rs.550 to take care of seed, labour, bio-fertilizers, and manures along with supply of 30 markers and 40 weeders for utilisation by 400 farmers who take turns to use it. Arrangements were made for using the implements on a rotation basis.

Gramabhyudaya secretary K. Trinadha Rao told The Hindu that farmers adopted the new technique in 150 acres of paddy crop and found it to be beneficial. The traditional paddy farmers, who get 22 bags of paddy per acre, are now getting 38 bags of paddy per acre after adopting the SRI paddy system using the weeder and marker implements which were contributing to high yields. The use of bio-fertilizers is also responsible for the fertility of soil. Investment was also comparatively less than the traditional paddy farming practices. For one acre, SRI paddy cultivation costs Rs. 4,000 whereas the traditional practice costs them Rs.8,000 per acre.

NABARD AGM C. Udayabhaskar says the new concept will be popularised after educating the farmers in the district in this regard. Farmers are voluntarily opting for expansion of their paddy acreage under the new concept.

Farmers are being encouraged to adopt the non-pesticide management systems and workshops are being conducted at the field level through audio-visual aids and other material.