No takers for flood resistant alternative paddy varieties 

No takers for flood resistant alternative paddy varieties 
Highlights

Godavari western delta farmers are persisting with Swarna (MTU-7029) variety of paddy despite its vulnerability to cyclones and floods.  The Swarna variety loses its lodging, which consequently results in extensive damage to the crops during cyclones and floods.

Swarna is gold for Godavari west delta farmers

Godavari western delta farmers are persisting with Swarna (MTU-7029) variety of paddy despite its vulnerability to cyclones and floods. The Swarna variety loses its lodging, which consequently results in extensive damage to the crops during cyclones and floods. Agriculture Research Station (ARS) in West Godavari district has developed alternative varieties which could withstand such calamities and trials are being carried out on demo plots. But these varieties are yet to attract the farmers.

They continue to prefer Swarna (MTU-7029) for sowing because of its higher yield during Kharif season. The reason for the farmers not opting for alternatives can also be attributed to the fact that the blast-tolerant, high yielding Swarna has been fetching them good returns in terms of productivity and earnings during the last three decades since 1987. For them the output outweighed negative factors like quality of lodging under submergence.

During heavy rains at harvest time, Swarna crop lodged and germinated thus impacting both quality and yield and causing disappointment among farmers. Normally, around 2,79,361 hectares are under cultivation during Kharif season in Godavari Western delta in the district. Over the last three decades, the farmers in this region are cultivating the Swarna variety which is a 140-days duration crop. During the initial stages farmers reaped high output ranging from 35 to 40 bags per acre from the Swarna crop.

After the introduction of Swarna, ARS developed various varieties like MTU-1010, MTU-1112, MTU-1001, MTU-1061 and MTU 3626. However, most of the farmers in Godavari western delta preferred Swarna. Some farmers in the tail end area have taken up other varieties like 1010, 1001, 1061. Swarna is tolerant to Bacterial Leaf Blight (BLB) and other pests.

Agriculture scientists have been suggesting alternatives to Swarna but the farmers do not have awareness about the non-lodging varieties .Te research station had developed 120-day duration MTU-1121 for the rabi season as an alternative to MTU-1010 and 140-day duration MTU-1112 for Kharif season as an alternative to Swarna.

By Ramachandra Sharma Gundimeda

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