The on-farm testing of the new Pokkali paddy variety, ‘Vyttila 8' has stood up to the expectations of scientists and farmers.
The test farming of Vyttila 8, developed by the Rice Research Station, Vyttila, of the Kerala Agricultural University, was carried out on Kadamakkudy island, which has for long been a key centre of the Pokkali rice in the Kochi area.
Pokkali, a variety of paddy grown organically, is unique to Kerala. It is cultivated in the backwater-nourished coastal areas of central Kerala and is resistant to water salinity. Pokkali is traditionally cultivated in saline water fields where prawns are grown for the first half of the farming year and rice is grown in the latter half.
Vyttila 8 has proved to be more productive than other Pokkali varieties with a yield of 3.7n tonnes per hectare. The crop duration is 110 days and the rice plant grows to a height of 120 cm, which is shorter than other varieties. (Pokkali, since it grows in water, is taller than other rice varieties).
The main advantage of Pokkali is that it does not require application of fertilizers or pesticides.
The on-farm testing was conducted by the Krishi Vignan Kendra, Njarackal, of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute.