Farmers in Krishnagiri district have embraced the system of rice intensification method, rechristened as ‘Rajarajan 1000'.
K. Rajan, Joint Director, Agriculture hopes to bring over 50 per cent of the paddy cultivation under the Rajarajan 1000 system during the current season. The normal area covered under paddy in the district is 21,000 hectares. Of this, 9,570 hectares were brought under the Rajarajan 1000 method of cultivation (last year it was 9,200 hectares). Mr. Rajan said during the Navarai season it would go up to 11,000 hectares.
Paddy is cultivated in Samba and Navarai seasons and samba crops account for close to 95 per cent of the paddy cultivated in the district. Paddy farmers in the district were constrained by the costs incurred for seeds, agricultural inputs, pesticides, fertilizers and nutrients.
The new system of cultivation had received tremendous response from the farmers in Shoolagiri, Kaveripattinam, Krishnagiri, Hosur and part of Kelamangalam block in the district. But the technology was widespread in the district.
Most of the farmers were cultivating ADT 39 and Paiyur-1 varieties other than Ankur Sonam, Sonalika, Silky Dona, BPT 5204, Sona Masuri, KRH 2 and CO RH 3 under this method. It required only minimum quantity of fertilizers and water and less number of labourers.
The programme was being implemented under the World Bank-funded “Irrigated Agriculture Modernisation and Water Bodies Restoration and Management (IAMWARM) project.” The average number of seedling growth per seed was 50 to 60 in the conventional method, but under the new method, the seedling growth was 100 to 150. The number of grains in one seedling was also doubled under Rajarajan 1000 method of cultivation. A farmer who cultivated Paiyur 1 variety got 450 grains per seedling, Mr. Rajan added.
The Integrated Cereal Development Programme (ICDP) and the National Agricultural Development Programme (NADP) had been dovetailed to benefit farmers under the Rajarajan 1000 scheme. Cono weeders, markers and agricultural inputs were being distributed at a cost of Rs. 3,000 per hectare.
Agriculture officials had started field demonstrations to enable farmers understand the benefits of the method at various places in the district. The main objective of adopting this technology was to overcome water and labour shortage. “It is very easy to raise seedlings using mat, which was called Madagascar method of paddy cultivation in houses,” J. Edgar Gonsalves, Assistant Director (Agriculture), Agriculture Extension Centre in Shoolagiri, said.
Mr. Gonsalves said the demonstration conducted by the department had evoked tremendous response from the farmers in A. Kothur village.
Above all, farmers would get sizable profit owing to high yield. They would get at least 40 per cent higher than the yield gained through traditional method of cultivation.
Agriculture officers had been visiting farms that adopted the new method to offer technical expertise. Similar demonstrations were being carried out in different parts of the district to encourage more farmers.