K.S. Sudhi

Approval for seven rice, two cowpea varieties

Ginger, chilli, cashew variants too get nod

KOCHI: Seven rice varieties capable of surmounting agro climatic stress factors have been cleared for farming. A meeting of the State Seed Sub Committee on Crop Standards, Notification and Release of Varieties held last week cleared two cowpea and ginger varieties and one each of chilli, cashew, drumstick and cardamom varieties.

The new rice varieties are tailor-made for farming in seven agro climatic and geographical locations across the State. The two salinity-resistant varieties, ‘Ezhome 1 and 2,’ were developed for Kaippad area of Kannur. ‘Samyuktha’ will be used for farming as first crop variety in Koottumundakan cultivation in Palakkad, Malappuram and Alappuzha districts. In this farming method, a mixture of two varieties is sown. The system is practised in areas where sowing or planting of ‘mundakan’ crop (winter crop) is not possible due to excess water in the field.

The upland rice farmers will try ‘Vaishak’ in their fields where the crop is raised exclusively with rainwater. It took 12 years for the researchers of the Rice Research Station of the Kerala Agricultural University, Vyttila, to develop ‘Vyttila 8,’ a saline-resistant variety. This could yield about 4,000 kg grain per hectare in Pokkali fields without the use of fertilizers and pesticides. It is also tolerant to acidity and submergence and suitable for the coastal areas of Kerala, said K.S. Shylaraj, Professor and Principal Investigator of the research team.

‘Pratheeksha,’ a short duration (105-110 days) variety, is expected to benefit farmers of Kuttanad. The cultivators of the Cherady tract in Kollam and Pathanamthitta will try the new variety ‘Thulam,’ a season-bound variety, next season.

Cowpea varieties, Hridya and Sreya, the Kanthari chilli, Vellayani Samridhi, the drumstick variety Anupama, Cashew S9 and Ginger varieties Athira and Karthika, will be available for farming. The cardamom variety was developed by the Indian Cardamom Research Institute of the Spices Board, Myladumpara, Idukki. All other varieties were developed by the Kerala Agricultural University.