Rice cultivators in the brackish water paddy tracts of the northern districts of the State, especially Kattampally here, can now cultivate a new saline-tolerant hybrid organic rice variety developed as part of the organic plant breeding programme of the Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS) at Pilikkode in Kasaragod. The new rice variety, named Ezhome-4, was released exclusively for cultivation in the brackish water (‘kaipad’ in local parlance) ecosystem which is being revived in different parts of the northern region, especially in the Kattampally region here.
This was one of the two new hybrid organic varieties commercially released by the RARS under the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) recently. According to RARS researchers, Ezhome-4 is the result of the series of hybridisation programmes conducted in 2002. “The new variety is equally suited for saline-prone naturally organic Kaipad paddy tracts and non-saline flooded tracts during first crop season and also for ordinary wetlands,” T. Vanaja, Principal Breeder and Investigator under the programme told The Hindu .
“It gives high yield in traditional kaipad tracts as well as in newly rejuvenated Kattampally tracts,” she added. It gives an average yield of 5.1 tonne/hectare in the medium saline organic kaipad ecosystem with an average straw yield of 10 tonne/ha, Dr. Vanaja said. The other new organic rice variety, ‘Jaiva’ is for ordinary non-saline wetland tracts.
Dr. Vanaja said that the organic rice variety was first put forward in an international conference on organic agriculture system when a paper on it was presented. She said that the paper was also published in the international Journal of Organic Farming in 2013. ‘Jaiva’ is also the result of the hybridisation programme conducted 13 years ago, she said adding that the variety was successful in experimental trials in farmers’ fields. Its average grain yield is 5.2 tonne/ha and straw yield is nine tonnes/ha under organic management. The research on the two new varieties spanning over a period of 13 years had been carried out at the RARS and in the Pepper Research Station at Panniyur here.
Ezhome-4 released for cultivation in the brackish water ecosystem.