New way of CUltivating Rice with Less water and seeds smile

3 May 2009, Comments: | Views: 3412 | | Category: Water, India

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In  the early 1990s, India’s agricultural growth has been stagnant at less than 2 percent, well below the growth rates of other sectors. In 2006, while India’s agriculture sector contributed only 16 percent to national GDP, about 70 percent of India’s poor, who mostly live in rural areas, depended on agriculture for their livelihoods. 

India’s agriculture sector faces major constraints due to low investment and dilapidated irrigation infrastructure. Coupled with India’s recent high economic growth that is likely to increase demand for water from industry, less water will be available for agriculture.Any significant growth in agriculture depends on increasing the efficiency and productive use of water. India is a water stressed country, 45 percent of all available water is utilized for agriculture with ground water accounting for about 70 percent. A World Bank study estimates that by 2020, India’s demand for water will exceed all sources of supply. It is imperative that India strengthens its irrigation structure and improved agriculture practices.

The Green Revolution is 1970s had helped India in increasing food grain production and acquired self sufficiency in food grains. It also increased the labour requirement, thus providing employment to a major chunck of populations. But from 1990s the food grain production lost pace and is almost stagnated. This really calls for a need of Second Green Revoultion. The below image shows the rice production of India.

System of Rice Intensification

The System of Rice Intensification or SRI is an emerging alternative to the conventional way of flooded rice cultivation and is already addressing the problems of water scarcity, high energy usage, and environmental degradation.SRI was first developed in Madagaskar during 1980's. Not known outside Madagaskar Until 1997. Its potential is under testing in China, Indonesia, Combodia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India. In A.P., SRI is experimented in all the 22 districts during 2003 Kharif with encouraging results. Over 1,00,000 farmers are experimenting with this system world wide at present.

In SRI Paddy Cultivation Less Seed (2kg/ac) is required and fewer plants per unit area (25x25cm) whre as in general Paddy Cultivation 20kg seed is required per acre.

SRI requires less expenditure on fertilizers and plant protection chemicals.

This technique has been successfully implemennted in states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra pradesh , Chattisgarh etc.. In a water scarce state like Tamil Nadu (Average annual rainfall is just 950 mm) this method was quickly accepted. During 2006-07, the first year of introduction, only 4600 hectares were cultivated with this method. Now, almost 450,000 hectares or about 20 percent of Tamil Nadu rice cultivation area are under SRI. World Bank is supporting this techniqie by funding the Tamil Nadu Government .. Click here to see the details on the World Bank Website

As of 2007, the beneficial effects of SRI methods had been documented in 28 countries, most recently in Bhutan, Iraq, Iran and Zambia. Governments in the largest rice-producing countries (China, India and Indonesia) are now supporting SRI extension. In India, SRI concepts and practices have been extrapolated successfully to other crops such as sugar cane, finger millet and wheat.

As this technique is relatively new,  it is in vigorous testing phase. As a result there is no enight documentation and profound scientific research to support this. Now universities like  Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

Hope this technique becomes successful and may the dependence of agriculture on water resource reduce, paving way for better living conditions.


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