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Ample stocks hold rice steady

Karnal, March 27:  The rice market is likely to rule without much change on account of steady demand and ample stocks for the next few days, said trade experts.

With not much trading taking place in the market, prices of almost all the varieties remained unchanged on Thursday.

Amit Chandna, proprietor of Hanuman Rice Trading Company, told Business Line that following steady domestic demand and easy availability of stocks, retail and bulk buyers are placing orders based on their requirement. Traders expect the market to continue to rule around current levels for the next few days and may witness some alteration in the first week of April, he added.

In the physical market, after witnessing an uptrend earlier this week, aromatic and non-basmati varieties remained unaltered.

Pusa-1121 (steam) sold at ₹8,900-9,000 , while Pusa-1121 (sela) quoted at ₹7,900 . Pure Basmati (raw) quoted at ₹12,200. Duplicate basmati (steam) sold at ₹7,000. Pusa-1121 (second wand) was at ₹7,100, Tibar at ₹6,150 while Dubar at ₹5,000 a quintal.

In the non-basmati section, Sharbati (steam) sold at ₹4,850 while Sharbati (ela) quoted at ₹4,300 . Permal (raw) sold at ₹2,330, Permal (sela) at ₹2,350, PR-11 (sela) sold at ₹2,700 while PR-11 (raw) at ₹2,600 . PR14 (steam) sold at ₹2,950 a quintal.

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MSP fixed for rabi paddy

Nalgonda:  Joint Collector M.Hari Jawaharlal has declared Minimum Support Price (MSP) for rabi paddy here on Friday, fixing Rs 1,345 for a quintal of ‘A’ grade rice and Rs 1,310 for ordinary quality. Releasing the posters of paddy MSP, the Joint Collector asked officials to put them up in villages to spread awareness among farmers to help them sell their produce at procurement centres of government organisations.



Charmo takes a toll on paddy in Bicholim, Sattari

KERI: Rice blast fungus locally known as charmo has damaged paddy crop in many areas of Bicholim and Sattari talukas.

Though the zonal agriculture officers at Bicholim, Sattari and Sakhali have taken needful steps, information about the disease was not provided in time.

Magnaporthe grisea, also known as rice blast fungus, rice rotten neck or rice seedling blight is a plant-pathogenic fungus that seriously affects rice.

Initial symptoms are white to gray-green lesions or spots with darker borders produced on all parts of the shoot, while older lesions are elliptical or spindle-shaped and whitish to gray with necrotic borders. It also affects reproduction by causing the host to produce fewer seeds.

Navalo Zore from Vantichemol of Ghoteli in Sattari told TOI, "Our crops are affected badly by charmo. My family and I have worked hard but rice blast fungus would drastically reduce the yield and cause heavy losses. We are landless and our investment this year has proved futile."

Kishor Bhave, the zonal agricultural officer of Sattari, said, "As soon as our officials received information, we made sincere efforts to providing tricyclozole chemical free of cost to the affected farmers. In some cases, tricyclozole has helped farmers to get rid of the affects of charmo."

Shashikant Malik from Kudne said, "This year farmers with more than 5ha are worried that our hardwork will not yield much fruit as the paddy is affected by blast fungus."

Dasharath Morajkar, social activist from Pelavade-Ravan in Sattari, said, "Since the losses will not be compensated under the Shetkari Aadhaar Nidhi Scheme initiated by the government of Goa, farmers are under further stress."



Controlling blast infestation in rice

Blast infestation in rice has been reported from many places of Andhra Pradesh State. In Telangana, Andhra and Rayalaseema zones, the disease has been reported to an extent of 10-20 per cent during this season.

There are broadly three types of blast. The first is called as leaf blast. Infested crop leaves exhibit spindle shaped spots with brown margin and grey dots.

This type has been prevalent in Warangal, Karimnagar, Khammam, Krishna, East Godavari, West Godavari, Nellore, Srikakulum and other districts of Andhra Pradesh for the last few weeks.

Node blast

The second type is node blast. Caused by a fungus, the symptoms are crop turning black in colour and panicles breaking easily.

The third type is called neck blast. This starts during panicle emergence initiation of the crop period. The neck region is blackened and shrivelled. Grain set in ears is completely or partially inhibited.

Out of the three, neck blast is more severe and results in yield losses to a great extent.

Favourable environmental factors such as prolonged dry periods, cool nights, low night temperature, high relative humidity, cloudy, drizzling weather and high nitrogen supply increase all the three disease incidences.


Healthy disease free seeds alone should be used for sowing.

Use disease resistant or tolerant rice cultivars

Seed treatment with tricyclozole 75 WP at 2.0 g or carbendazim at 1.0g per kg seed as wet seed treatment or carbendazim at 3.0 g per kg as dry seed treatment.

Seeds should not be collected from infested fields.

Remove weeds and collateral hosts from field and bunds. Balanced fertillizer application is a must.

At the time of harvesting, infested plants should be removed and destroyed.

Field bunds and irrigation channels should be kept clean. Avoid excess application of nitrogenous fertilizers.

Spraying of fungicides like tricyclozole 75 WP at 0.6 g or isoprothiolane 40EC at 1.5 ml or kasugamycin 3 L at 2.5 ml will be more effective.

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Market gasping with heavy paddy arrivals

Several tractors carrying paddy bags were seen lined up on both sides of the road in front of the regulated market in Ammoor near Ranipet on Tuesday.

The main gate of the market was closed due to the piling up of bags in the open space inside the market, due to lack of storage space.

The Ammoor regulated market which normally handles about 3500 bags daily has been facing excessively heavy arrivals in the last four days owing to surplus paddy production in the Sholinghur, Arakkonam, Ponnai, Katpadi and Kaveripakkam areas of Vellore district as well as Tiruttani in the neighbouring Tiruvallur district.

About 15,000 paddy bags have piled up inside the market in the last one week. Owing to lack of storage space, the authorities of the regulated market have been closing the main gate for the last four days, forcing the tractors carrying the paddy bags to be parked on both sides of the road.


When asked about the problem, B. Kumaran, superintendent of the regulated market said that for the last one week, a board had been displayed outside the market, appealing to the farmers not to bring their produce till April 2 in view of the excessive stocks piling up inside the market.

C. Gopinathan, Secretary, Vellore District Market Committee said that the farmers were also being informed orally during the reading of the prices and disbursement of cash daily about the piling of the stocks and advised to bring stocks after April 2 when the situation would ease.

Besides lack of space, another problem was the difficulty in traders obtaining funds from banks to pay the farmers on account of the financial year end restrictions on outflow of funds. On Mondays and Fridays, the market could take an additional 50 bags, and the situation would return to normality within 10 days, he said.

Storage capacity

The Secretary said that while the regulated market in Ammoor has five sheds each of 500 metric tonnes (MT) capacity for storage, at any given time, only 350 MT could be stored in each shed in order to provide space for movement.

The government has issued an order even before the announcement of the Lok Sabha election schedule for the construction of four additional sheds in the Ammoor market, each of 500 MT capacity. Tenders would be floated for construction of the same after elections , he said.



Rice seen ruling at current levels

Karnal, March 24:  After witnessing a downtrend last week, prices of Pusa-1121 and Sharbati varieties improved by ₹50-150 a quintal while all the other aromatic and non-basmati rice varieties ruled flat on lukewarm trading.

Amit Chandna, proprietor of Hanuman Rice Trading Company, told Business Line that fresh trade enquiries mainly pushed Pusa-1121 and Sharbati varieties marginally up.

Market has been ruling in a tight range since the beginning of March and prices may continue to rule around current levels with marginal fluctuation even in the next few days.

In the physical market, Pusa-1121 (steam) improved by ₹150 and sold at ₹8,900-9,000, while Pusa-1121 (sela) went up by ₹100 and quoted at ₹7,900. Pure Basmati (Raw) quoted at ₹12,200. Duplicate basmati (steam) sold at ₹7,000. Pusa-1121 (second wand) was at ₹7,100, Tibar at ₹6,150 while Dubar at ₹5,000 a quintal.

In the non-basmati section, prices of Sharbati (Steam) increased by ₹50 and sold at ₹4,850 while Sharbati (sela) quoted at ₹4,300. Permal (raw) sold at ₹2,330, Permal (sela) at ₹2,350, PR-11 (sela) sold at ₹2,700 while PR-11 (Raw) at ₹2,600. PR14 (steam) sold at ₹2,950 a quintal.

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Water scarcity affects paddy cultivation

When they set out to revitalise a fallow piece of land, hardly did they expect the problem of water scarcity to put a spanner in their works. A group of students, part of the National Service Scheme (NSS) unit at the Sree Chitra Thirunal College of Engineering, Pappanamcode, who have taken up cultivation in 30 cents of land near their college, are now facing a water crisis owing to a blocked canal, part of the Neyyar irrigation project.

The students started cultivation on a part of the Koliyakkode paddy fields, stretching to 7 hectares, last December. They took up the entire work of preparing the field, which has been lying uncultivated for the past two years, and sowing. But since February, they have been facing a severe shortage of water. They have been depending on a garbage-filled waterbody and wells in nearby houses for watering the crop. But now with water level in the wells reducing rapidly, the students are doubtful whether they can harvest the crop as expected in April.
Students of the NSS unit of Sree Chithra Thirunal Engineering College, Pappanamcode, watering the paddy fields which they cultivate.
They say that the main reason for the stoppage of paddy cultivation here was the clogging of the Neyyar irrigation project canal a few years ago with garbage. At present the water reaches only till Nemom and due to two major blocks at the Vellayani studio and the Vidhyadhiraja Homoeo College, the water does not reach till Pappanamcode.

In what is seen as an after effect of the clogging of the canal, as many as 11 ponds in the Nemom area have almost dried up in the past few years. Though an amount of Rs.14 lakh was allocated to clean up the clogged canal, the contractor who took up the work left it half way through. Re-tendering processes has also not happened.

The students fear that the continuing water scarcity will result in the entire paddy field going back to the fallow state, which might pave the way for real estate lobbies to fill it up.

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Spike in yields unlikely to leave Kerala paddy farmers richer

It’s a surprisingly big paddy harvest for Kerala farmers this season. But with the procurement price stymied by the state government's price ceiling, it doesn’t necessarily mean good news for the farmers.

With Kerala itself needing 7,500 tonne of rice per day and production in the state sub-optimal, the government, through its grocery arm Supplyco, procures the crop at R19 per kg. At open prices, the farmer gets only R15 per kg. In the current season, Supplyco has procured as much as 70,000 tonne. The R19/kg procurement price for paddy is reportedly the highest in the country.

The catch, however, is that Supplyco's ceiling for procurement at R19 per kg is 5.5 tonne per hectare. In Palakkad, which has 83,000 hectares under paddy cultivation, many farmers have reported yields as high as 9.1 tonne per hectare.

“This means the farmer may not be able to get the best price offered only for part of his harvest,” a senior official at the state agriculture ministry told FE.

The state has about 300,000 rice growers, mostly small and marginal farmers with average land holding below 0.4 hectare. "Theoretically, the state government could amend the norms, but the ongoing general elections would be the perfect excuse. Even otherwise, the farmer has to run from pillar to post to get the procurement dues,” says M Suresh Kumar, a farmer.

Although the average paddy yield in Kerala is only 2.7 tonne per hectare, Palakkad, with 12 dams exclusively for irrigating rice fields, logs as much as 5 tonne per hectare. But the current harvest yield, expected to average 9 tonne per hectare, has been unheard of.

“What was almost miraculous is that the yield surged when the mercury climbed in November, December and January," says Leelakumari, a senior farm official.

Kuttanad, the other paddy granary of Kerala, is also reporting above-normal yields this season, with some farmers reporting 7.5 tonne per hectare.

"A new variety of paddy, Uma, developed by Kerala Agricultural University (KAU), was used extensively both in Palakkad and Kuttanad. In Palakkad, the shift to machine planting could also have improved the harvest," say the officials.

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IRRI to provide technological support to Assam farmers

Guwahati, Mar 18:  The Manila-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has agreed to provide technological support to Assam farmers for popularising water-resistant paddy varieties.

A delegation from IRRI recently visited the state’s flood-prone crop land and observed that Assam could easily become a rice-surplus state by reducing flood-induced crop damage and also contribute significantly to the nation’s food security, an official release said here today.

IRRI’s Director General, Robert Zeigler and other members of the delegation had a discussion with the state’s Agriculture Minister Nilamani Sen Deka and emphasised on local trials in agro-climatic zones for introducing and ensuring variety adaptability.

Zeigler stressed the need for “phase-wise strategic improvement of capacity building” so that stakeholders, especially the farming community, could have their own decision making power.

The IRRI developed Swarna SUB-1 variety of paddy has already been cultivated after the state procured two tonnes of seeds.

Submergence-tolerant paddy varieties assume importance here in view of the recurring damages caused to crops by floods.

Of the state’s net crop area of 28.11 lakh hectares, 4.93 lakh hectares happen to be chronically flood-prone.

Rice production in the state, spread over an area of 24.88 lakh hectares, during 2012-13 stood at 52.33 MT.

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India Northeastern State Assam Rice Farmers Achieve Higher Yields with Flood Tolerant Varieties

Rice farmers in the northeast Indian state of Assam have achieved yields of up to 3 - 4 tons per hectare using the Swarna Submergence-1 (SS-1) submergence-resistant paddy Seeds, which are an updated version of India's popular flood tolerant hybrid rice variety 'Swarna'.

The average rice yield in Assam stands at around 1.93 tons per hectare, while the national average during is around 3.5 tons per hectare. However, floods often destroy the entire rice crop in flood-prone regions of Assam.

The Assam Agriculture Department (AAD) began experimenting with the SS-1 seeds by distributing around 17,000 kilograms of seeds to farmers in the state's flood-prone districts during the June - July cultivation season in 2012. The state managed to produce 5.2 million tons of rice during FY 2012-13 (April – March) and farmers were impressed with this flood-tolerant variety. With increased output, the AAD has expanded the SS-1 variety usage to 40,000 hectares of land mostly in flood-affected areas. With the SS-1 seeds, the AAD expects to produce about 6.1 million tons in the FY 2013-14.

SS-1 seeds were developed by the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in collaboration with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in 2009. Scientists modified the 'Swarna' variety by introducing gene Sub1 (for submergence) that helps plants survive under water up to two weeks, yet give higher yields. The seeds have been tried in coastal districts of India's southern states Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, which are mainly rained lands and are prone to floods.

Scientists say the yield advantage of SS-1 variety increases as flood severity worsens and can increase the yield up to 66% even after 13 days of flooding. The SS-1 seeds can yield up to 3 - 3.5 tons per hectare when submerged for 13-15 days and up to 6 tons per hectare in normal conditions.

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