Swarna-Sub1, a flood-tolerant rice variety, and conservation agriculture-based technologies, such as mechanical rice transplanters, are helping farmers in Odisha solve problems caused by flooding and labor shortage. This is the gist of the feedback from farmers as they shared their experiences in adopting these improved technologies during the visit of IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler, scientists from the IRRI-India Office, and senior officials from Nepal to Puri District in Odisha, India on 20 November.
According to the farmers, Swarna-Sub1 allowed them to harvest more than 5 tons per hectare even under the adverse weather conditions of the current cropping season. They also emphasized the critical role of service providers of mechanical rice transplanters. These machines help farmers plant rice on time and reduce the cost of rice cultivation.
Many farmers using Swarna-Sub1 are keen on continuing the use of this variety. In fact, the demand for seeds of Swarna-Sub1 is high while the supply is limited. The farmers were so happy with the performance of the crop and the results of improved rice production technologies that they requested IRRI to expand its intervention to other districts in India.
These technologies reached the farmers in Odisha through the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) project and the Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) project.
The projects made strategic efforts to demonstrate stress-tolerant rice varieties and associated technology options in Puri District so the farmers could observe the results themselves.
The mechanical rice transplanter is one of the conservation agriculture-based technologies under CSISA. Other technologies include direct-seeded rice (DSR) and laser land leveling. On the other hand, STRASA also develops and distributes drought- and salinity-tolerant rice varieties in addition to flood-tolerant rice.
During the visit, Zeigler and the farmers discussed labor displacement because of mechanization as well as alternative arrangements. Crop sharing, weed management, nutrient management, irrigation facilities, subsidies, business modules, and marketing of quality produce were among other topics raised by the farmers.
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