NAGAPATTINAM: Four farmers have reaped success with System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method of cultivation, even as majority of farmers chose direct sowing and some opted for the conventional transplantation method.
G Jeevanatham, R Rajkumar, S Raju and P Elancezian from Kilvelur, Keezhaiyur, Kollidam and Thirumarugal, respectively - received ‘Best Farmer’ awards from their respective blocks on Republic Day for their success.
Jeevanantham (53) cultivated 30 acres using SRI. He said, “I was prepared to endure drought. I have farm ponds to water the nurseries. When I have a shortage of water, I can always turn to the water I had saved in the ponds when there is a delay. Thus, I managed to continue with SRI. Now, I am reaping 50 sacks of paddy per acre.”
Rajkumar (43) is an entrepreneur who manages a software company in Chennai. He employed SRI on 24 acres in Palakurichi in Keezhaiyur block. He said, “I have been farming only for the last seven years. I am thankful to my late father from whom I inherited the passion for agriculture and techniques like SRI for a good yield. I judged the time of requirement of water and I directly made use of rainwater to start the nurseries and was able to stay on track for a successful SRI.”
Raju (45) from Paluranpadugai in Kollidam block, said, “I cultivated seven acres with SRI. I cultivated medium duration crops such as CO 51, BPT (135 days instead of 155 day) to make it up for the lost amount of time due to delay in the arrival of water. Now, I am getting 45 to 50 sacks of paddy per acre.”
P Elancezhian (43) from Edaiyathankudi in Thirumarugal block, said, “I have been farming for just five years. I cultivated five acres with SRI. I applied a mixed method of direct sowing and SRI on three more acres. I did not wait till the arrival of Cauvery water and used bore well irrigation to good effect. It proved to be a success.”
A key concern for farmers is SRI is water intensive and there is the challenge of weeds if there is a break in irrigation.
This is the main reason Nagapattinam farmers opted for direct sowing.
Dr M Raju, assistant professor of Agronomy, Tamil Nadu Rice Research Institute, said, “There are a lot of drought-resistant varieties such as Anna-4 and Cr
1009 Sub which are suitable for SRI. The method was introduced only to conserve water and not consume heavily. SRI can also be done by intermittent irrigation these days.”