| More the merrier
Jorhat, June 27: The Assam Agricultural University has chalked out a plan to show how the state can be self-sufficient in paddy by doubling production.
The plan has taken into consideration different varieties of rice to be grown, including the aromatic one.
The vice-chancellor of the university, K.M. Bujarbaruah said Assam had the capacity to produce 120 lakh metric tonnes of paddy from the present level of 52 lakh metric tonnes from 24.5 lakh hectares of land under paddy cultivation if a systematic approach was adopted.
Outlining how this could be done, the vice-chancellor said of the 17-lakh hectares under sali rice (February-March to August-September) in the state, 10 lakh hectares should be earmarked for high-yielding varieties like ranjit with an average yield potential of 5.5 tonnes per hectare. That would be a gain of 3.2 tonnes per hectare from the present 2.3 tonnes. The total average production would be 55 lakh tonnes from this area.
Likewise, the four lakh hectares of flood-prone area should be specifically use to grow rice varieties suited to grow in that particular situation. “For example, submergence tolerant rice varieties like jalashree, jalkuwari and others like Luit and dishang could be used,” he said.
To enhance yield in the flood-prone hectares, the vice-chancellor recommended staggered planting of gitesh and prafulla with two-month-old seedlings with an average yield of four tonne per hectare. This would mean an increase of 8.80 lakh tonnes. This will add to the present production of 7.20 lakh tonnes and the total production would be 16 lakh tonnes.
Of the remaining three lakh hectares, two lakh hectares should be put under aromatic rice varieties and other special rice varieties under organic mode of production and one lakh hectare devoted to hybrid variety, the last should be increased to six lakh hectares.
The aroma or sticky rice varieties like keteki, bokul joha, aguni bora (glutinous) should be promoted with an average yield of 3.5 tonnes per hectare against the present average of 2.3 tonnes per hectare.
Thus, a total production of seven lakh tonnes from two lakh hectares of land can be obtained and with an average productivity of 6.5 tonnes per hectare from the hybrid rice.
Sali crop production on 17 lakh hectares of land area will total 84.5 lakh tonnes.
Similarly, for the summer/autumn crop production on seven lakh hectares of land, another detailed crop-growing plan was mooted in which the paddy production would be 37 lakh tonnes for this period.
“If the government implements this plan, it shall be in position to increase paddy production in the state to 121.5 lakh tonnes, making up the shortfall of 35 lakh tonnes and producing an excess of 45.5 lakh tonnes, which can be sold in the national and international markets,” Bujarbaruah said.
The government will have to provide quality seed, organic and inorganic fertilizers, plant protection measures and farm machineries and tools.
The vice-chancellor said the .5 lakh hectares should be earmarked for indigenous farmers.