Daijiworld Media Network – Panaji (RS)
Panaji, Jul 13: Goan farmers are increasingly experimenting with the high-yield variety of rice for higher productivity in lesser space, experts feel.
Goa, a pre-dominantly paddy cultivating state, has begun to shed away its traditional variety of rice and is increasingly cultivating high-yield varieties compensating for the decrease in the area under agri-cultivation, noted Indian Centre for Agricultural Research (ICAR).
“Jyoti, a traditional red kernel rice variety had found alternate in the form of MO 6 (Monikambu) and MO 17 varieties,’’ stated Dr V S Korikanthimath, director of ICAR Goa.
The ICAR complex located at Old Goa, 10 kilometres away from the capital city of Panaji, spread across 53.37 hectares land, is busy in transferring the technology from various other sister concern institutes to this tourist state, which is increasingly losing its land to the construction activity.
“Goan farmers are sensitive towards rice cultivation. They evince keen interest in the new variety of seeds,’’ said Korikanthimath.
The state agriculture department figures reveal that total 55,000 hectares is under rice cultivation of which 16,441 hectares is under Rabi cultivation. It is a major crop followed by cashew nuts, which occupies 54,373 hectares and coconut 25,068 hectares.
“The area under food grains crop is static or slowly under decline, may be owing to change of cropping pattern, as the farmers from upland areas are slowly switching over from food grain crops to more profitable horticultural crops like cashew, mango and coconut,’’ feels the ICAR researchers.
“This year, we had 30 hectares of red kernel cultivation, which was brought under latest MO 17 and MO 6 variety. We have introduced this variety five years back and we are finding acceptability to it,’’ said Korikanthimath.
While Jyoti had productivity of 3.5 tonnes per hectares, the new varieties yield 6.8 tonnes per hectares, said ICAR scientists.
After many trials, the institute has also managed to replace the hybrid variety of rice in the state with new varieties like Pusa Sugandh, Korkanthimath said.
Goa has total 1, 71,356 hectares of cropped land of which 68,796 hectares is under food grain crops, revealed the statistics.
The agriculture researchers feel that the sector is confronted with various setbacks and limitations and is passing through the difficult phase. “The process of development initiated by the government to facilitate industrialization, housing and tourism has brought tremendous pressure on agricultural land. Tourism is viewed as main source of foreign exchange for the state which has urbanized our rural areas, particularly coastal taluks,’’ stated Korikanthimath.
The state with a tradition of salty land pieces, locally known as khazan land, has also managed to revolutionize its paddy cultivation in these salty lands. “Traditional Korgut variety seeds are replaced by central saline research institute’s CSR-4, CSR-10 and CSR-27 varieties which has a production capacity of 4.2 tonnes per hectares,’’ said the ICAR director.
The tourist state is also trying to contribute for hybrid and scented rice varieties in a major way. The scientists stated that Sahyadri and KRH variety of rice is being tested in the state with encouraging results. “Farmers are given all the benefits available under United Nations development programme (UNDP),’’ said the director of ICAR.
The state government figures reveal that agriculture, third largest economic activity in this tourism predominant state, contributes to six per cent of the state domestic product involving 16.6 per cent population.