140 demonstration plots to be created
TIRUNELVELI: To motivate and encourage the farmers to take up System of Rice Intensification (SRI) practices in paddy cultivation, 140 demonstration plots of one hectare each are to be created at Kadayam block in the district under National Agricultural Development Programme at an outlay of Rs 4.20 lakh.
SRI practices in paddy cultivation, which was introduced a few years back in the district, has created awareness among the farmers and recorded an increased yield of 25–50 per cent. Besides, it helps in increasing the soil fertility as organic matter is added to the soil by way of burying the weeds in the soil which increases microbial activities. Irrigation water that has become a precious commodity these days can be saved up to 50 per cent.
Paddy crop grown with SRI techniques withstand adverse climatic conditions like flood, drought and storm better than the conventionally grown crop, experts here feel. “The crop develops resistance to pests and diseases. Rat damage is found to be minimum. Since more spacing is adopted between the saplings, competition among plants to take up nutrients is reduced,” says J. Edgar Gonsalves, Assistant Director of Agriculture, Kadayam.
As flash floods, droughts and storm are being experienced more frequently nowadays due to global warming, experts feel that practices of growing rice should also be modified to make the plants more resistant to such often changing climatic conditions.
“Development of roots in SRI technique is much more when compared to conventional method. Roots grow deeper and nutrient uptake from soil is more, resulting in healthy and productive plants,” Mr. Edgar says.
As part of the intensive campaign to popularise SRI technique critical inputs like seed, marker, cono weeder, bio- fertilizers and micro- nutrients worth Rs. 3,000 per hectare will be given to the farmers free.
“Moreover, a cluster approach is being attempted on an outlay of Rs. 2.25 lakh. Three such demonstrations of 10 Ha each in a cluster with an assistance of Rs. 75,000 per cluster is planned in three villages during this season,” Mr. Edgar said.