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“Paddy crop on over 19,700 acres withering”

With the closure of all the 17 irrigation channels in Cumbum Valley, paddy crop on 14,707 acres in the valley and 5,000 acres irrigated by Thanthai Periyar Channel has started withering.

“Farmers harvested 10.14 tonnes per hectare, the highest in the State, during the last season. But, we may harvest only half the quantity now. The production loss is estimated at 80,000 tonnes,” say members of Cumbum Farmers Association.
YEARNING For water:A paddy field in Cumbum Valley in Theni district.— PHOTO: G. KARTHIKEYAN
The worst-affected are farmers in Gudalur and Cumbum blocks, where the crop is 80 days old. One wetting with the release of 25 cusecs of water for five days will suffice to protect the crop on 2,000 acres, they say.


In other areas, the crop is 35 to 60 days old. It requires water for 45 to 60 days. The farmers will lose Rs.25,000 to Rs.35,000 per acre, they add.

They say PWD officials refuse to release Periyar dam water for irrigation.

The level in the dam stood at 111 feet, and water can be released till it reaches 104 feet.

The officials want water to meet the drinking water needs of 65 lakh people living in Madurai, seven municipalities, 736 town panchayats and over 2,000 panchayats in five southern districts till June.

Poor planning, lethargic attitude of the government, violation of government orders, excessive political intervention in releasing water and illegal tapping in the Periyar river are the reasons for the present situation, the valley farmers say.

The PWD had drawn water from Periyar dam to improve Vaigai dam storage level, expecting rain in October and November, but there was no rain.

They released water from Vaigai to irrigate the first crop in Madurai district in June, instead of September as done normally, says progressive farmer A. Abbas.

Illegal tapping is also rampant in Periyar river. Kerala is drawing a lot of water from leading supply channel of Periyar river. But Tamil Nadu did not prevent it. Over 25,000 oil pumps are used to draw water illegally from the Periyar river between Gudalur and PC Patti to save perennial and cash crops, allege farmers.

“We are tired of staging protests demanding water, as the government has failed to understand the situation,” says H. Sowber Ai, secretary, Periyar Irrigation Farmers Association, Uthamapalayam.

“Now the paddy crop is at milking stage in Uthamapalayam,” he noted.



An innovation that offers double bonanza for paddy farmers

Good news for paddy farmers! They can now doubly benefit by growing an additional crop without incurring extra cost, apart from contributing to the nation’s fuel needs.

A student of Ph.D at the Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc), Bangalore, has devised a technique to grow paddy along with an oil-producing algae, which helps farmers earn additional income.

Termed ‘Algiculture’, it is a sustainable method of algae cultivation in paddy fields. The interesting part is that it requires no additional land, water or nutrients. “Algiculture has the potential to benefit farming, especially in semi-arid regions, by offering an opportunity to farmers to attempt multiple-cropping and simultaneous generation of algal bio-fuel,” says Abitha, the student.

While paddy grows to be harvested, the new method allows farmers to raise an additional 100 kg algae in a hectare. In two months, it produces nearly six tonnes of algae that can be used as bio-fuel, as algae is looked upon as a source of renewable bio-fuel.

Abitha’s path-breaking project was the second runner-up at the innovation competition, ‘Power of Shunya : Challenge for Zero’, organised by DuPont. She teamed up with Vikas Gujral from Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad, to win the Rs. 2.5 lakh prize money.

In the new technique, algae rise as floating ‘flocs’ that are harvested every afternoon and sent for drying, oil extraction and cattle feed supplement. The dung is finally deposited in the paddy field for higher sustainability.

Abitha has successfully completed a pilot project at Tumkur in Karnataka. “Following its success, all farmers in the area are now keen to follow it, as it is not only financially beneficial but also enriches their land with nutrients.”

According to her, paddy is cultivated in 44 million hectares in the country, and even if 17 per cent of it is used for ‘algiculture’, India’s fuel needs can be met with no additional energy input.

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धान की खेती में सर्वश्रेष्ठ प्रदर्शन के लिए मिला राष्ट्रीय कृषि कर्मण पुरस्कार

रायपुर :राष्ट्रपति प्रणब मुखर्जी ने छत्तीसगढ़ को वर्ष 2012-13 में देश में धान उत्पादन में सर्वश्रेष्ठ प्रदर्शन के लिए कृषि कर्मण पुरस्कार से नवाजा है। यह पुरस्कार आज नई दिल्ली के विज्ञान भवन में आयोजित गरिमामय कार्यक्रम में राष्ट्रीपति प्रणब मुखर्जी की ओर से प्रदान किया गया।

मुख्यमंत्री के प्रतिनिधि के रूप में प्रदेश के कृषि मंत्री बृजमोहन अग्रवाल ने राष्ट्रपति के हाथों यह पुरस्कार ग्रहण किया। मुख्यमंत्री डा. रमन सिंह ने राज्य को लगातार दूसरी बार राष्ट्रीय कृषि कर्मण पुरस्कार मिलने पर प्रदेश के किसानों को बधाई और शुभकामनाएं दी है। मुख्यमंत्री ने कहा है कि हमारे किसानों की कड़ी मेहनत से ही प्रदेश को यह गौरव प्राप्त हुआ है। इसके पहले 16 जुलाई 2011 को भी छत्तीसगढ़ को केन्द्र सरकार की ओर से कृषि कर्मण पुरस्कार से नवाजा जा चुका है। उस वक्त मुख्यमंत्री डा. रमन सिंह ने प्रधानमंत्री डा. मनमोहन सिंह के हाथों यह पुरस्कार ग्रहण किया था। राष्ट्रपति मुखर्जी ने नई दिल्ली के विज्ञान भवन में आयोजित कृषि-वानिकी सम्मेलन में प्रदेश के कृषि मंत्री बृजमोहन अग्रवाल को प्रदेश के किसानों के लिए यह पुरस्कार सौंपा। राष्ट्रपति ने इस उपलब्धि के लिए छत्तीसगढ़ सरकार और राज्य के किसानों को बधाई दी। इस अवसर पर छत्तीसगढ़ के दो किसानों- जांजगीर-चांपा जिले के ग्राम जाजंग निवासी सुशीला गबेल और धमतरी जिले के ग्राम जुगदेही निवासी भोलाराम साहू को धान की खेती में सर्वश्रेष्ठ प्रदर्शन और सर्वाधिक उत्पादन के लिए पुरस्कृत किया। समारोह में केन्द्रीय कृषि मंत्री शरद पवार, केन्द्रीय पर्यावरण एवं पेट्रोलियम मंत्री वीरप्पा मोईली, मध्यप्रदेश, बिहार, मेघालय, उड़ीसा और मणिपुर के मुख्यमंत्रियों सहित देश के विभिन्न राज्यों के कृषि वैज्ञानिक, छत्तीसगढ़ सरकार के अपर मुख्य सचिव एवं कृषि उत्पादन आयुक्त अजय सिंह, संचालक कृषि पीआर कृदत्ता और प्रदेश के पूर्व कृषि मंत्री चन्द्रशेखर साहू भी मौजूद थे।

छत्तीसगढ़ के कृषि मंत्री बृजमोहन अग्रवाल ने इस मौके पर बताया कि राज्य को सर्वाधिक चावल उत्पादन के लिए दूसरी बार कृषि कर्मण पुरस्कार प्रदान किया है। राज्य में धान के उत्पादन में 71 फीसदी की बढ़ोतरी दर्ज की गई है, जो कि विकास का सूचक है। वर्ष 2011 में राज्य में धान का उत्पादन 1751 किलोग्राम प्रति हेक्टेयर था, जो 2012-13 में बढ़कर किलोग्राम प्रति हेक्टेयर हो गया। कृषि मंत्री बृजमोहन अग्रवाल ने यह पुरस्कार राज्य के मेहनतकश किसानों को समर्पित किया है। उन्होंने कहा कि मुख्यमंत्री डा. रमन सिंह के नेतृत्व में राज्य सरकार ने किसानों की बेहतरी के लिए कई पहल की हैं। जिनमें धान के एक-एक दाने की खरीद, संपूर्ण खाद्य आपूर्ति श्रृंखला का सर्वश्रेष्ठ प्रबंधन पिछले दस सालों में धान की खरीद के लिए किसानों को 43000 करोड़ का भुगतान किया है। उल्लेखनीय है कि मुख्यमंत्री डा. रमन सिंह के नेतृत्व में राज्य शासन की ओर से नए वित्तीय वर्ष 2014-15 के बजट में खेती और उससे जुडे़ विभिन्न क्षेत्रों के लिए आठ हजार 459 करोड़ का प्रावधान किया है। इसमें से 4 हजार 102 करोड़ कृषि और उद्यानिकी में खर्च किए जाएंगे। प्राथमिक सहकारी समितियों से राज्य शासन की ओर से किसानों को अब तक एक प्रतिषत ब्याज पर अल्पकालीन कृषि ऋणों की सुविधा दी जा रही थी, अब किसानों को इन समितियों से ब्याज मुक्त ऋण मिलेगा। धान पर 300 रुपये प्रति क्विंटल की दर से बोनस देने का प्रावधान भी नये बजट में किया गया है।

विगत दस वर्षों में कृषि ऋणों की ब्याज दरों मे निरंतर कमी, सिंचाई के लिए पांच हार्स पावर तक सिंचाई पम्पों को सालाना साढ़े सात हजार यूनिट निःशुल्क बिजली, सहकारी समितियों में धान खरीदी की सर्वोत्तम व्यवस्था, कृषि उपकरणों पर आकर्षण अनुदान जैसी योजनाओं से राज्य के किसानों में खेती के लिए नये उत्साह के साथ आत्मविश्वास जागृत हुआ है। और वे अधिक से अधिक मेहनत करके राष्ट्र के कृषि उत्पादन में अपना महत्वपूर्ण योगदान दे रहे हैं।

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Farmers badly in need of water to save crop

Farmers are desperately in need of the Tamirabharani water to save standing paddy crop.

To safeguard the livelihoods of paddy farmers, water is required to irrigate paddy fields, according to K.P. Perumal, district secretary, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam.

At this critical stage, the farmers were looking forward to get water for irrigation at least in two spells. The standing paddy crop had attained ear head emergence and milky stage and hence water is the need of the hour. The northeast monsoon failure had already dashed the hopes of farmers this year also, who were now largely dependent on irrigated farming.
Question of Survival:A view of the paddy field at Korampallam in Tuticorin on Tuesday.— Photo: N. Rajesh
On the wetland ayacut, paddy cultivation was normally taken up on 18,000 to 20,000 acres. “The entire district has 46, 000 acres of ayacut covered under irrigation system. Apart from paddy, the farmers are also pinning their hopes on banana cultivation,” he said here on Tuesday. Fifteen to thirty quintals of paddy yield could be got if sufficient water was released to irrigate the paddy fields, he added.

Farmers in the tail-end regions in Korampallam were bearing the brunt of inaccessibility to water.

N.K. Dhakshinamoorthy, Joint Director of Agriculture, Tuticorin, told ‘The Hindu’ that to avoid moisture stress and ensure better yield of paddy, water resources were essentially required especially at the tail-end regions at this stage. About 1, 500 acres to 1, 800 acres of paddy crop were in flowering and milky stages in the tail-end regions in Korampallam, Mr. Dhakshinamoorthy said.

Four blocks including Alwarthirunagari, Karungulam, Tiruchendur, Srivaikuntam and some parts of Pudukottai had been identified as potential irrigation pockets in the district.

Cultivation of paddy, millets and rice fallow pulses would be taken up under State-sponsored summer programme after ‘pisanam’ season. Under the summer package of food grain mission, paddy cultivation is expected to cover 2, 500 ha, millets on 4, 500 ha and rice fallow pulses on 12, 500 ha. Soil with residual moisture would be conducive to raise these crops.

The officials from Department of Agriculture had been streamlining activities to achieve the objective of good yield of produce, hopefully. The farmers in these identified blocks would be trained on suitable methods of cultivation and better management practices to achieve the desired results, the Joint Director said.

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Paddy procurement at societies up to Feb 15

Under the support price policy of Chhattisgarh, cash and linking purchase of paddy from farmers at procurement centres of all Primary Agriculture Credit Cooperative Societies during the Kharif marketing year 2013-14 will be completed by February 15. On the last date of paddy purchase, any kind of slip regarding paddy purchase will not be issued.

According to an official press statement issued here on Monday, whatever paddy reaches for sale in the procurement centres till 5 pm in the evening of the last day of purchase, would be weighed and purchased up to 7 pm. At 7 pm, Samiti’s software will automatically be locked. The Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection department has issued necessary guidance in this respect to all collectors of the State.

Secretary, Food department, Vikassheel, said in the circular that cash and linking purchase of paddy under the support price policy of the state has been scheduled up to February 15. The National Informatics Centre (NIC) will issue separate version 14.7 on February 11 for paddy purchase on the last day. All the procurement centres were asked to download the version from the departmental website and install up to February 13.

It has been said in the circular to issue clear instructions to the nodal officers appointed for the procurement centres to be present at the centres from February 13 to 15 and to ensure weighing of paddy under their observation. The nodal officer, after the locking of software in the procurement centre on February 15 at 7 pm, will take the stock report of paddy and gunny bags and after physical verification will make its entry in the software of the society. Only after the stock entry, paddy will be lifted from the society.

It has been said in the circular that a ban has been imposed on issue of new DO for the supply of paddy to rice millers from the societies of all districts. Only after physical verification of stock and its entry by the nodal officers, new DO should be issued to supply paddy from the society to rice millers.

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India Exports 7 Million Tons of Rice in April – November 2013; Up 10% from Previous Year

India’s total rice (basmati and non-basmati) exports in April - November of the fiscal year 2013-14 (April 2013 - March 2014) have increased to around 7 million tons, up about 10% from around 6.39 million tons exported during the corresponding period in the FY 2012-13, according to provisional data by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). At the current pace, India’s total rice exports are expected to reach around 10.5 million tons in FY 2013-14, up about 3% compared to around 10.15 million tons exported in FY 2012-13.

In value terms, India’s total rice exports have increased sharply to around Rs. 291,243 crore (around $4.884 billion) during April – November 2013, up about 44% from around Rs. 202,846 crore (around $3.716 billion) in the same period in FY 2012-13. In USD terms, value of rice exports grew by 31% during April – November 2013.

India's basmati rice exports have increased to around 2.37 million tons in April - November 2013, up about 11% from about 2.13 million tons exported in the same period in FY 2012-13. In value terms, basmati rice exports surged to about Rs.17,529 crore (around $2.962 billion) during the first eight months of FY 2013-14, up about 56% from around Rs.11,219 crore (around $2.055 billion) earned in the same period in FY 2012-13. In USD terms, India’s basmati rice exports grew by 44% in April – November FY 2013-14.

India’s non-basmati rice exports in April - November 2013 increased to around 4.65 million tons, up about 9% from around 4.26 million tons recorded in the same period in FY 2012-13. In value terms, non-basmati rice exports earned about Rs.11,595 crore (around $1.921 billion), up about 28% from around Rs.9,066 crore (around $1.661 billion) in the same period in FY 2012-13. In dollar terms, non-basmati rice exports grew by 16% during the period.

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Record foodgrains output of 207 lakh tonnes likely

Hyderabad, February 10:  The foodgrain output in the State is set to touch a record high of 207.29 lakh tonnes in spite of three cyclones — Phailin, Helen and Lehar impacting the State.

This is against 204.21 lakh tonnes in 2008-09. In 2012-13, the output was 187.37 lakh tonnes, according to Finance Minister Anam Ramanarayana Reddy. As per the latest estimates, the area under paddy crop is all set to showcase a new record. From 36.28 lakh hectares in 2012-13, it has increased to 43.95 lakh hectares during 2013-14, an increase of 21.14 per cent. During 2013-14, crop loans of ₹28,820 crore and agricultural loans of ₹9671 core were disbursed up to September 2013.

It is proposed to extend ₹62,224 crore of credit to the agriculture sector during 2013-14. Referring to the micro-irrigation system, the Finance Minister said about 9.75 lakh hectares have been brought under micro irrigation benefitting about 9 lakh farmers. The State had earmarked ₹572 crore for micro-irrigation during 2013-14.

During 2014, the State is expecting to add additional power generation capacity of 3910 MW. This includes two units of 800 MW each at APGenco Krishnapatnam, 1040 MW of Hinduja National Power Corporation, and 600 MW at Bhupalapally of APGenco, 120 MW of hydel power at lower Jurala and 50 MW at Nagarjunasagar tailpond.

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Rice market to witness hand-to-mouth buying

 Karnal, February 10:  The rice market witnessed a steady trend with prices of aromatic and non-basmati rice ruling flat on Monday on restricted trading.

With not much buying taking place in the market, rice prices were unchanged, said Amit Kumar, proprietor of Ginni Rice. Following steady domestic demand and easy availability of stocks, retail and bulk buyers are placing orders based on their requirement, he added.

According to the trade experts, the market may see only hand-to-mouth buying and prices may rule with marginal fluctuation for the next few days.

In the physical market, Pusa-1121 (steam) sold at ₹9,200-50, while Pusa-1121 (sela) quoted at ₹8,150. Pure Basmati (Raw) quoted at ₹12,500. Duplicate basmati (steam) sold at ₹7,000. Pusa-1121 (second wand) was at ₹7,050, Tibar at ₹6,100 while Dubar at ₹5,000.

In the non-basmati section, Sharbati (Steam) sold at ₹5,000 while Sharbati (Sela) was quoted at ₹4,800. Permal (raw) sold at ₹2,300, Permal (sela) at ₹2,350 a quintal, PR-11 (sela) sold at ₹2,900 while PR-11 (Raw) was at ₹2,800. PR14 (steam) sold at ₹3,200 a quintal.
Paddy Arrivals

About 6,000 bags of different paddy varieties arrived at the Karnal Grain Market Terminal. About 5,000 bags of Pusa-1121 arrived and went for ₹4,200 while 1,000 bags of Sharbati went for ₹2,230 a quintal.



Paddy production in West Bengal hit by floods

Paddy production in West Bengal is likely to be lower by 10-15% this year due to crop damage on account of extended rainfall and floods. Consequently, paddy prices are at a record high level this year,  higher than the minimum support price.

In 2012-13, the state produced 15.3 million tonnes (MT) ofrice, an increase of 5.5% over the previous year.
Overall paddy production in the state is likely to be about 5-10% lower than last year’s production on account of crop damage, according to  Pranab Chatterjee, professor at Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya.
“Last year the rainfall persisted till the flowering period, which has dragged down the average productivity,” said Rajoshri Kundu pf Mali Agrotech.
Against the normal productivity of nearly five to six tonne per hectare, this year paddy productivity has been no more than 4.6 tonne per hectare.
Paddy prices of the commonly sold paddy are ruling at nearly Rs 1400 per quintal, against the MSP of Rs 1310 per quintal. Prices of fine variety is ruling between Rs 1500-1900 per quintal, against the average price of Rs 1500 per quintal.
This year, the districts which were affected by floods included high rice-productivity districts of Bardhaman, Hooghly, Birbhum and Nadia. Burdwan, Birbhum, Nadia and Hooghly have the highest productivity and account for about 27% rice acreage and 32% production.
Rice production in West Bengal is spread across three seasons---aus, aman and boro. Of these, thekharif rise aus and aman) account for about 70%  of the state’s production.  
Boro Cultivation

While Aman or summer crop was damaged on account rainfall, Boro or winter cultivation could be higher on account of high ground level water retention and ample supply of water from Damodar Vally Corporation.

“This year Boro rice could be grown over 15 lakh hectare, which against 9 lakh hectare due to good prices and weather condition,’” said Chatterjee.

While districts like Bankura, Bardhman and Birbhum are likely to benefit from water supply from Kangsabati and Mayurakshi, areas where lift irrigation is in vogue (Nadia), higher ground level would be beneficial for paddy cultivation, said Kundu.

However, high input prices have prompted many small growers to shift to alternative crops.

“While acreage for winter crop could be higher than last year, unprecedented rise in cost of electricity, fertilizer, labour and diesel, have prompted many small farmers to go for jute cultivation instead of paddy, said Ramprasad Biswas, Gotra Krishi Samavayi Samiti, Burdwan.

“Per unit price of electricity has gone up from 50 paise to Rs 5 per unit in the last four to five years. Similarly, fertilizer and diesel prices have gone up more than three times. On the other hand, rise in paddy prices have not risen proportionately, which paddy cultivation unviable,” said Biswas.

However, paddy production during the Boro season is about 4.5 million tonnes--minuscule compared to the peak production months.

West Bengal accounts for 14-16% of India’s rice production.



IRRI Developing ‘3-in-1’ Climate-Resilient Rice Variety

The Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is developing a new variety of rice, "3-in-1"climate tolerant rice, which can tolerate flooding, a prolonged dry season, and saltiness near coastal areas, according to local sources.

According to the IRRI, the new variety will be a climate-resilient variety and help mitigate climate change and sustain agricultural productivity in rice-producing countries. The IRRI first developed the “2-in-1” variety, which could tolerate flooding and drought situations.

Flood resistant variety "IR 64 Sub1" was derived from an Indian rice variety. Scientists isolated the SUB 1A gene and identified the genetic code that controls submergence tolerance. The SUB 1A gene activates when the plant is submerged, making it dormant and conserving energy until the floodwater recedes. The "IR 64 Sub1" can tolerate flooding for 14 days and still can produce an average yield of 6.4 tons per hectare.

The drought-tolerant variety "Sahod ulan" was derived from the Indian variety "Sahbhagi Dhan" and the Nepal variety "Sookha Dhan". The IRRI scientists identified quantitative trait loci (QTLs) genes which give the drought-tolerance and improve yield. These are activated in popular varieties like IR64 to produce better yields even in drought conditions.

Now the IRRI is in its last stage of developing the "3-in-1" variety. It is developing seeds that have genes that can sustain climatic changes and yet provide good yields. IRRI's Deputy Director General says IRRI is working closely with the Philippines Department of Agriculture and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (Philrice) to help the government attain its rice self-sufficiency target. The IRRI promises technology support to the Philippines to accelerate high-yielding varieties, he adds.

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