A cluster of banana fields in Andhanallur block, which had shifted to ‘samba’ paddy variety last season and applied the SRI technique, stands to benefit despite torrential rain and ‘Nisha’ cyclone in November last year.
“Despite the natural havoc in November, flood-hit farmers of the low-lying parts have registered a fair yield that ranged between 7.5 to 8.5 tonnes a hectare. On the other hand, the yield in the upper reaches of the block where the flood waters receded within a few days, the yield was 9 to 9.5 tonnes,” said the Joint Director of Agriculture, Tiruchi, N. Ponnusamy, addressing the media persons at Kuzhumani on Friday, on the sidelines of a seminar on the District Motivation Committee convened to explain the advantages of the SRI technique to non-SRI farmers in the region.
The official said that the Andhanallur block, a major banana cluster in the district, has dispelled the myth that the SRI technique was unsuitable for cultivating paddy in banana fields.
About 850 of the total 4,300 hectares in ‘samba’ crop had been brought under SRI technique in the block.
The chief varieties grown were BPT-5204 popularly known as ‘Andhra Ponni’ and ‘ASD-19.’
A crosssection of farmers, who participated in the seminar, said that the SRI technique has become a neighbour’s envy in Andhanallur block, as the non-SRI farmers could harvest only one-third of what the new technique had facilitated. A woman farmer, Amutha Sethupathy, said that the technique had multiplied the yield thrice over her conventional method.
Against 500 to 600 kg an acre last year, she harvested about 1,500 kg through SRI technique this year.
A member of the Tiruchi District Agriculture Productivity Council, A. Nagarajan, said that with the growing demand for the BPT-5204 rice in the market, the crop got an assured return from traders. “Each kg was sold for at least Rs.15,” he said.
Striking at the right chord, the Agriculture Department convened the seminar to motivate the non-SRI farmers to take up SRI technique so that a larger area could be brought under the new technique next season, said the Joint Director, while inaugurating the seminar.
A total of 20,450 hectares had been brought under the SRI technique during the just-concluded season. The district’s average per hectare harvest was expected to touch about 10.5 tonnes this year. More interestingly, the rise in storage level in Manapparai, Marungapuri and Vaiyampatti blocks would facilitate the raising of summer crop on an extent of 3,500 hectares of paddy, against their conventional cropping pattern of cotton and chillies. The Agriculture Department had supplied ADT-36 seeds to farmers so far.
An additional two tonnes of ADT-43 variety would be supplied shortly.
Earlier, the District Collector, T. Soundaiah, inaugurated the harvest of the paddy in the village.