Though normal paddy varieties grow up to a maximum height of one foot, K Mathappan’s farmland at Kettukottai village of Bikkanahalli panchayat presents a rare sight.
Mathappan, the AIADMK’s former MLA from Palacode, had employed Systematic Rice Intensification (semmai nell) method to cultivate ‘Kattuyanam’ variety of paddy on his 50 cent farmland. Not only has the crop attained a height of seven feet, Mathappan expects that the yield too would be phenomenal.
At a time when farmers are hard pressed to ensure their crop survives, Mathappan says he uses only organic manure to tend the crops. He adds that traditional varieties could ensure better yield at lower costs.
“Kattuyanam is good for heart and diabetes patients. Not only this, all traditional varieties, including Jeerakasamba, Mappilaisamba, Vellaisamba and Kuthiraival have medicinal properties. These traditional varieties lost favour after the advent of high-yielding varieties,” Mathappan says.
Mathappan says he took the decision to cultivate ‘Kattuyanam’ after his earlier attempt at a modern variety failed miserably. Stating that the Kattuyanam could be cultivated even in dry areas, he says the crop requires much less water and has high resistance power.
“I expect an yield of at least half a quintal. This variety has a good market value as merchants are ready to pay `80 per kg. I expect to reap a profit of at least `40,000 from this venture,” he says.
Mathappan also thanked Assistant Director of Agriculture Department Mathubalan and joint director Manoharan for their support.
Speaking to Express, Manoharan said, “Last year, we had taken around 50 farmers on a tour of Athirangam village in Tiruvarur district under the Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) scheme. The organiser had given a kg of traditional paddy seed to each farmer who was on the tour. These traditional varieties are highly-resistant to diseases and pests. They can also survive in droughts and flood. Mathappan’s model has shown that traditional varieties can stand farmers in good stead in difficult times and the department is ready to extend all possible help to those willing to pursue this.”