Two crops save farmers from drought & starvation

- Nagaon
Guwahati, May 19 : Two new varieties of summer paddy, which have proved sturdy enough to withstand a near-drought climate, will fill the plates of starved farmers in Nagaon.
NBR II, also called Swarnabh, and NBR III, popularly known as Dinanath, are high-yielding, disease resistant, cold tolerant, short duration and high protein content crops in comparison to other recognised seeds.
Both varieties, developed by junior scientist (plant breeding), Pankaj Kumar Dev Chaudhury, of the Regional Agricultural Research Station, Shillong, were planted on more than 50 hectares during the ongoing season and harvest is likely to begin soon.
“The two varieties take less than 150 days to yield, while the crop duration is 170 to 180 days in case of other varieties. Dinanath is totally cold tolerant and it can easily withstand common diseases like blast and sheath blight,” Dev Chaudhury said.
The farmers are pleased and so is the agriculture department.
“The results are satisfactory. In the midst of a drought-like situation, our farmers will harvest 90 quintals of rice per hectare area this time,” said National Food Security Mission, Nagaon’s nodal officer Pradip Buragohain.
Number-9, Bihari, is the traditional summer crop in Nagaon.
Four other varieties recognised by Assam Agriculture University — Masuri, Jyoti Prasad, Bishnuprasad and Jaymoti — are also popular.
Nagaon has 373,451 hectares of agricultural area, of which more than 65,000 hectares are cultivated during summer.
According to department records, the district’s total summer rice production in 2007-08 was 172,125 metric tonnes. It was 73,018 in case of kharif and 314,134 in case of sali.
The National Food Security Mission recently carried out over 60 demonstrations of two other newly-developed crops, MTU 7029, also called Swarna and MTU 1010 Cottondora Sannalu, in Nagaon.
“Along with seeds, we provided fertilisers, pesticides, minerals and some technical assistance to the farmers free of cost. Since last year’s production crossed 90 quintals per hectare, we plan to continue with the two varieties provided for the forthcoming sali season,” Buragohain said.
Nagaon agriculture department will also launch training programmes for nine groups of farmers under the food security mission, which would cover all the seasonal crops.
“Use of fertilisers and pesticides, importance of irrigation and above all, systems of rice intensification, will be the main topics of the training,” Buragohain said.