It is essential to conserve the quality and fertility of soil than increasing the productivity. Only such a resolve could ensure sustainable livelihood based on agriculture, experts said at the 10th national level traditional paddy festival held at Adirangam near here on Sunday.
Speaking at the workshop, Agriculture Officer from Kovilpatti Poochi N. Selvam said that there were 22,292 traditional native paddy strains in the country till some decades back. Almost all of them have been lost due to deplorable chemical farming practices. In our quest for feeding the burgeoning population through increasing productivity, we have lost the wonderful native paddy strains forever. Instead of enriching the soil, it would be better if farmers save the soil fertility than trying to increase productivity.
Natural farming expert Dr. Uma Maheswari of Karaikal said that more diseases were caused by food due to excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides during the cultivation stage.
Use of organically produced rice and vegetables could play a vital role in ensuring a stress-free life.
Nutrition and dietetics expert M. Menaka of Ethiraj College, Chennai, urged the participants to consume red rice, minor millets, pulses and organically grown vegetables. She noted that maappillai samba rice variety must be consumed before marriage, kavuni variety after marriage, poongaroo rice during pregnancy and child birth while lactating mothers must consume paalkuda vaarai rice.
When the infant grows to be six months old, waaran samba rice variety could be fed while kaattu yaam variety rice greatly helped in joint related disorders, Prof. Menaka said adding people must generally avoid taking wheat and maida products such as parotta.
PWD Superintending Engineer R. Elangovan rued that the society has not concentrated on conserving water bodies. In 67 places across Tamil Nadu, bus stands have been constructed on water bodies. In fact, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court itself was constructed after levelling a huge tank. If the trend continued then water scarcity might become acute in future. Farmers must come forward to preserve water bodies in their interest.
Coordinator Nel Jayaraman, CREATE trust chairman Ponnambalam, project coordinator K. Suresh Kanna made elaborate arrangements for the festival.
All participants took a pledge to preserve organic and natural farming practices besides conserving environment.