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Indigenous Rice Based Cropping Systems

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1.    Ashra – Ahu mixed cropping The practice of mixed cropping of ashra and ahu rice is followed by the farmers  of Barak valley  and lower  Assam districts.  This  is done  to get both the  ahu and ashra rice  together. In low lying  shallow water  situations where rice is grown  water  starts  accumulating  due to pre-monsoon showers during March –April,  the field  water level reaches  50 cm to 75 cm during  the peak monsoon period (June–August), but subsides  with the decline in rain fall to almost dry in November – December. In such situations  specific group of rice varieties  locally  known as ashra are  traditionally grown  either  as mono culture or mixed with ahu rice. In mixed cropping  situations, equal quantity  of seeds of the  traditional  ahu  and ashra  varieties are  wet broadcasted  with sprouted seeds during  April. The ahu component  matures early by July –August, whereas, the ashra component is still in vegetative stage. The ahu component is harvested  in the usual time. The leaf pruning of ashra component during  the harvesting  of ahu is believed  to reduce  excessive  vegetative growth, increase  the tillering  and decrease  the chance of early lodging  of ashra rice plants. Harvesting of ashra is done  after the crop reaches its  maturity at the  end of November. The advantage of this  mixed cropping is  that it provides  insurance  against  flood damage  as compared  to existing  farming system. It has a great influence in getting  both ahu and ashra  crops  in a year  where  normal  sali crop is not possible. About 70% of farmers  have adopted  this practice  since 20 years with some modifications made from  time to time on variety and seed rate. Reported by   J.K. Choudhary(2003)
2.    In upland, direct seeding of rice is done through  broadcasting method, usually after  onset of monsoon (15th June). This practice  influences  the cropping  system of the land; and if  irrigation facility is  available,  farmer utilizes  this  for rabi  crops,  after harvesting  the rice (gora). This is age old  practice  followed by 70% farmers in the Khijuria village of Dumka district, Jharkhand. Reported by   Veeresh Kumar(2003)
3.    Intercropping  of  rainfed  rice and red gram . Sowing of rice (BPT-5204) and red gram  (LRG–30 in 11:1 ratio) during rainy season, acts as an insurance against failure of rain. During heavy rains even if red gram fail and    rice gives  good yield, and economic  returns  from both  crops   are obtained  during  normal years  in rainfed black and red soils. This practice is folled by the rice farmers  of Telengana region of Andhra Pradesh.  Reported by   Srikantha Reddy(2003)
4.    Rice based farming system of Apatani plateauThe Apatani tribe of Arunachal Pradesh has evolved  a farming system based on rice  with an objective to sustain crop, livestock and fish production.  The valley is called  the  rice bowl  of the Apatanis who practice  wet rice cultivation and have  a good knowledge  of land and water management. They cultivate rice integrated with fish culture in the terraces and ginger, millet on the ridges, ensuring efficient land management.  Terraces  are prepared  with strong bunds, and   made by trial and error  methods with  main emphasis on perfect  leveling and well managed irrigation-cum-drainage  system. Thick grasses are grown on both sides of the drain to check the erosion. Water for irrigation is tapped from the  surrounding  hills  and channelized  into the lower  edges of the field. The farmers emphasize on right water management  in lowland  rice field and also drain off the water from rice field  during  tillering  and flowering stages. The farmers also manage   the nutrient and fertility of the terraces  through recycling  of agricultural  wastes. For example, paddy straw is allowed  to be decomposed  in the wet terraces.  Pig and poultry dropping, rice husk, ash  and weeds are  removed  during  weeding  are also  recycled  in the  terraces  for improving  soil fertility. They also go for paddy-cum-fish culture practice. The farmers  also  preserve  their environment  by planting  trees, bamboos etc, so that  the surrounding of the valleys, upland and the village  are  reserved  as forest. The system has been widely  acclaimed  and has  been recognized  as one of the important farming system of the region. All the farmers of this region are following this practice in the past 70 years. Reported by   K. Khan(2003)


File Courtesy: 
Indigenous Technical Knowledge in Rice Cultivation. P. Muthuraman and Shaik. N. Meera
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