PUDUKKOTTAI: Drought, unseasonal rains, wilting crops, soaked harvest, suicides and clamour for compensation. These are the words that one associates with farming these days. However, amidst the gloom, a woman farmer, who refused to give in to the vagaries of nature, is a beacon of hope for the distressed. While paddy crops in various districts were damaged, A Gandhi, from Sundarappatti, who cultivated traditional paddy on her one acre field, has bagged a decent harvest of 2,650 kg, and that too, without using fertilizers.
She has also got five tonnes of straw, post harvest, which could earn her some extra income.
The Rural Organisation for Social Education (ROSE), an NGO, has been working towards promoting traditional paddy varieties since 2011. As part of the ROSE initiative, 15 traditional paddy varieties were cultivated in about 250 acres across 15 villages of the district.
The traditional varieties promoted among farmers include Milagi, Iluppaipoo Samba, Kaivara Samba, Thanga Samba, Sembuli Samba, Kudavalai, Manjal Ponni, Karuppu Kavuni, Sivappu Kavuni, Mappilai Samba, Karudan Samba and Thuyamalli. Gandhi cultivated Thulasi, a kind of traditional paddy, in her one acre land and she harvested the crops recently in the presence of Somasundaram, development officer, NABARD, and organic farmers Appavu, Velayudham, Jeevanantham, and Adhappan, managing director, ROSE. Despite drought conditions, Gandhi got a yield of 2,650 kg of paddy and five tonnes of rice straw.
Speaking to Express, Adhappan said that all these traditional paddy varieties have medicinal values and will not absorb more ground water. “This proves that good yield is possible even with minimal water, no fertilizers, and low quantity of seeds,” he added. As many as 150 farmers who had adopted cultivation of traditional paddy varieties have started reaping good yield, despite low rainfall.